GRACE BIBLE CHURCH

PASTOR ROBERT R. MCLAUGHLIN

09/18/2022

 PDF: EPHESIANS0290-007NOTES

EPHESIANS - 0290-007

DIVINE DECREES, PART 4. LAPSARIANISM;

EPH 1:1; HEB 2:5-10; 2CO 5:14-19.

 

 

The Doctrine of Divine Decrees.

Point 1. Definition and Description.

 

And we noted that;

 

The decree of God refers to;

His eternal (He is always existed),

He is Holy = (perfect integrity),

Wise = the application of omniscience to creation)

 

Then the last half says;

 

and sovereign purpose, comprehending simultaneously all things that ever were or will be in their causes, conditions (status), successions (interaction with others), relations, and determining the certainty of their future.

 

Point 2.  There are Five Characteristics of the Divine Decrees.

 

Point 3 is where we are now.

 

Point 3. The logical order of the divine decrees known as lapsarianism.

 

Now, bear with me, I told you that this doctrine would sound technical at times but it is also really simple to understand if you listen carefully.

 

Let me give you a basic definition.

 

Lapsarianism refers to the doctrine that mankind is a fallen being and it also refers to the 5 elective decrees of eternity past.

 

It deals with the logical order of these 5 decrees, which were all simultaneous in the mind of God in eternity past.

 

Lapsarianism is a technical theological term that deals with logical order of the decrees in eternity past but doesn’t deal with any chronological order in time.

 

It refers to the doctrine that mankind is a fallen being.

 

Lapsarianism deals with the logical order of these 5 decrees, which were all simultaneous in the mind of God in eternity past.

 

Lapsarianism is a technical theological term that deals with logical order of the decrees in eternity past.

Remember do not let Satan blind you from the simplicity found in Christ.

 

2CO 11:3 But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

 

The Bible presents to us the principle of a pre-creation reality or what happened before creation, including before the angels were created.

 

Inasmuch as the decrees were simultaneously known by the omniscience of God, they were also simultaneously decreed by God.

 

And from this comes the concept of;

 

Lapsarianism is a theological subject dealing with the logical order of the divine decrees.

This is the subject of the doctrine of lapsarianism which is a practical as well as a phenomenal doctrine.

 

Lapsarianism provides the logical environment as well as the logical order for the divine decrees or God ordaining every one before the foundation of the world.

 

Remember that all decrees occurred simultaneously in the mind of God.

 

The decrees are the logical order of advents to happen, but although the entire decree is one thought in the mind of God, the principle of cause and effect is involved in human perception and in human understanding.

 

So, let's note the correct order of the elective decrees as it relates to the human race and the angelic race.

 

First of all;

  1. God decreed the creation of all mankind with free will in the status of perfection for two reasons: to resolve the prehistoric angelic conflict, and to bring many sons into glory. 

 

As a part of the decrees dealing with bring many sons to glory, we read;

 

HEB 2:5   For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking.

 

HEB 2:6 But one has testified somewhere, saying, "What is man, that Thou rememberest him? Or the son of man, that Thou art concerned about him?

 

HEB 2:7 "Thou hast made him for a little while lower than the angels;  Thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, And hast appointed him over the works of Thy hands;

 

HEB 2:8  Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. "For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.

 

HEB 2:9 But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.

 

HEB 2:10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.

 

 being brought into glory," means there is a Christian way of life, a way to glorify God after salvation that God has placed within man.

 

So,

The first order of the events was the creation of man.

 

  1. God decreed to permit the fall of mankind through the function of his own determination, his own volition as the extension of the angelic conflict into human history. 

 

The “sovereignty of God” and the “free will of both angels and man” co-exist by the divine decrees.

 

Angels had a fall; therefore, man must have a fall to resolve the conflict.

 

In fact, do you know that the angels had two major falls.

 

In eternity past, where we read;

 

ISA 14:12 "How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!

 

ISA 14:13 "But you said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north.

 

ISA 14:14 'I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.'

 

Here is when Satan was as the “anointed Messiah’s angel,” whose role was to guard God the throne of God, failed to do so.

 

By the way,

 

Who was He to guard the throne from since the human race had not been created as a species as of yet?

Perhaps he was guarding the throne from the angels angel under his authority, but I believe he was guarding the throne from angels who lived outside of the thorn at the time.

 

His second major fall was when He led one-third of the angels in heaven to rebel against God; REV 12:4.

 

REV12:4 And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven, and threw them to the earth.

 

This duplicates Satan's first fall and the subsequent existence of fallen angels.

 

In the correct order of the elective decrees as it relates to the human race and the angelic race is that;

 

  1. God decreed to provide eternal salvation for all mankind under the doctrine of unlimited atonement. 

 

God is fair and provides for all.

 

God doesn't arbitrarily assign creatures to Hell.

 

That’s blasphemous to even think that way.

 

By unlimited atonement is meant that all sins in human history were imputed to Jesus Christ on the cross and judged, so that Christ is the issue and not sins, 2Co 5:14-19; 1Ti 2:6, 4:10; Tit 2:11; Heb 2:9; 2Pe 2:1; 1Jo 2:2.

 

Now, by now, you know I’m going to make you read the passages, so here they are.

 

2CO 5:14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;

 

2CO 5:15 and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

2CO 5:16 Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know   Him thus no longer.

 

2CO 5:17 Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

 

2CO 5:18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,

 

2CO 5:19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

 

Go forward to 1TI 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

1TI 2:6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time.

 

Look at 1TI 4:10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

 

TIT 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,

 

HEB 2:9b that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.

 

2PE 2:1 they will deny the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.

 

1JO 2:2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

 

The fourth order of lapsarianism is;

 

  1. God decreed to leave the reprobate (those who reject Christ as Savior) to their just condemnation.

 

God decreed simultaneously in eternity past both election and predestination for believers only.

 

Under this point we have the decree for historical election includes the election of true Israel--Rom 9:6

 

ROM 9:6   But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all (spiritual) Israel who are descended from Israel;

 

God chose the Jews to be a race but only those who believe in the Christ as their Messiah are the chosen ones because all Israel is not Israel.

 

There is a tremendous difference between spiritual Israel and natural Israel.

 

One speaks of the race the other speaks of the spiritual   Israel which Paul writes.

 

GAL 6:15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

 

GAL 6:16 And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

 

Who is he talking about?

 

He is talking about “the Israel of God” which refers to “spiritual Israel” because when the Jews become saved, they are spiritual Israel, just like this passage states.

 

So,

The election of the humanity of Christ in the dispensation of the Hypostatic union, and the election of the Church-age believer as Royal Family of God was known to God in eternity past when the divine decrees were given.

Remember that election is not a violation of your free-will but that election is the expression of the sovereignty of God Who wills the highest and best for every believer in Jesus Christ; 2PE 1-2:12.

 

Beginning in 2PE 1:2, the apostle Peter gives us some insight into this particular principle, when he writes;

 

2PE 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;

 

Now, grace is the policy of God toward man.

 

Grace is God’s right to deal with us on the basis of the cross which satisfied the Justice and righteousness of God which freed Him to operate in love through grace.

 

God is free to express his love to you and me through grace because of what his son accomplished on the cross, namely propitiation!

 

Therefore, grace is an expression of God’s love to us and for us.

 

Grace always depends on the character and nature of God.

 

It depends on who and what God is, not you!

 

Grace is what God can do for you!

 

2PE 1:2, says, “grace and peace be multiplied to you”

For the believer who resides in the PPOG, grace must be multiplied.

 

And this is because;

 

The believer cannot execute or fulfill the divine plan from his own ability, human energy, or talent.

 

The believer cannot execute or fulfill the divine plan through good works.

 

Or a pleasing, sweet, holy, personality.

 

Or any other system of self-righteousness, morality, or sacrifice.

So,

 

Grace and then the next phrase in the original is “to you and peace.”

Peace – eirene in the Greek which means many things; peace, blessing, and prosperity.

 

But the basic meaning of the word is prosperity.

 

So, verse 2 should read;

 

2PE 1:2  Grace to you and prosperity be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;

 

This prosperity is spiritual prosperity, social prosperity, mental prosperity, economic prosperity.

 

So, we have, grace to you and prosperity be multiplied

Now;

”be multiplied” = the aor-pass-optative of the verb plethuno which means to multiply, to increase,

 

The aorist tense refers to a specific point of time when the believer increases in grace and prosperity because of residence and momentum in the PPOG.

 

It refers to the imputation of fantastic blessings to the believer who is properly motivated and who has momentum.

 

When a believer spends the majority of his time in the PPOG, he becomes very teachable and therefore, grace and prosperity are increased.

 

Once a believer is teachable, he can metabolize doctrine.

 

This plan was put into effect in the divine decrees.

 

And with that metabolize doctrine momentum occurs in the Christian life.

 

 

I told you when we began our studies in Ephesians that

 

There would be many doctrines within the book that we would study like the one we are studying right now, the Doctrine of Divine Decrees.

 

However along with these doctrines there are also passages that we must study in detail like the one in 2Pe.

 

He begins to have proper momentum directed toward God.

 

And;

 

The spiritual believer has momentum NOT from "wanting to be envied" but from "loving God.”

 

And once you are motivated by personal love for God, your desire for doctrine will increase,

 

Only metabolized doctrine will give you personal problem-solving ability.

 

It is very important that you learn to solve your own problems and that you do not go outside of your own soul for counsel.

 

When you go outside of your own soul for counsel you usually get bad advice.

 

And The only way you can take responsibility for your own actions in a sensible way is to come to a place where you have metabolized doctrine to solve your own problems.

 

The "passive voice" of plethuno means the mature believer receives the action of the verb, ei. multiplication of grace and prosperity increasing.

 

And then we have a rather rare mood in the Greek which is the optative mood.

 

The optative mood presents the action as conceivable but not definite, still contingent and it also expresses the mood of strong desire by God for the believer but not being fulfilled at the time it was written.

 

So 2PE 1:1 Grace to you and prosperity be multiplied to you

 

Now, next we have a prepositional phrase which describes how God reveals to us his perfect power and perfect plan.

 

“en plus the instrumental of epignosis” = through the instrument of metabolized doctrine.

 

Epignosis translated knowledge is metabolized doctrine.

 

So, it should read,

2PE 1:2 grace to you and peace be multiplied by means of the epignosis knowledge of the God and of Jesus our Lord.

 

Prin - Multiplication of grace and prosperity comes through residence, function and momentum in the PPOG and the momentum comes from metabolized doctrine.

 

Note that grace and prosperity are multiplied by means of the knowledge of God the Father and of Jesus our Lord Lord, not by means of knowledge of ourselves and our weaknesses.

 

The entire verse should say

 

2PE 1:2 Grace to you and prosperity be multiplied to you in the epignosis knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;

 

Epignosis knowledge is wisdom from metabolized doctrine.

Next in 2PE 1:3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

 

This is a recognition of the power God the Father has provided for the believer to become a winner.

 

Granted – per-mid-part of the verb doreomai which means to give, to bestow graciously.

 

The perfect tense recognizes the completion of the action of the verb which means he has already given us everything that we need from his divine power.

 

And when did He grant us all these things, everything pertaining to life and godliness?

 

He did it in eternity past in the divine decrees.

 

And that is why when we get to the final verses in this section, we will read concerning the divine decrees;

 

2PE 1:10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you (Election); for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;

 

2PE 1:11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

 

Which is why when Peter finishes this section, he will talk about two major doctrines His calling and His election.

 

The point is:

 

Every believer has been graciously given the power and the ability to receive fantastic things from God.

 

Now,

 

The middle voice emphasizes the subject of the sentence, which is the divine power of God, doing all the work, but we must give it our consent and allow the Lord to do it in our lives.

 

His divine power does all the work while man receives all the benefits.

 

The participle denotes that there is a purpose for receiving divine power and that is to glorify God.

 

So, it says seeing that his divine power has given to us.

 

Please notice what His divine power has given to us, everything pertaining to life and godliness.

 

The word life is “zoe” and it refers to one's s of existence in the natural realm.

It refers to possessing the “zoe life.

 

Zoe comes from zoology and it means the function of life and here it refers to the super-grace life which is the objective of all doctrine.

 

Here’s where we go back to the principle of I.C.E. and note the exegesis or the original language;

 

There are three Greek words for life: bios, psuche, and zoe.

 

These words have different meanings.

 

Bios refers to the existence of life

Psuche refers to thinking of life as a normal function

Zoe refers to the supernatural way of life.

 

The word living here is the word “zoe” which is the type of “life” our Lord revealed to us when He handled the temptations that He faced.

 

The zoe life!

 

What is it?

 

The objective of doctrine is to take the believer to the super-grace life.

 

The “zoe life” is God's fantastic grace provision which is far beyond even your most fervent prayers.

 

You have never prayed for anything that even comes close to the "zoe life” or the life that God has designed for you.

 

 

The “zoe life” came from the doctrine of the Hypostatic union when our Lord as a man operated in the Doctrine of Kenosis which says that our Lord denied himself of the proper function of His deity.

 

Kenosis was when our Lord revealed the uniqueness of His Hypostatic Union by living in the “zoe life.”

 

The "zoe life” is God's fantastic grace provision which is far beyond things for which you have asked from others.

 

You ask parents, people, friends, spouses, and children for things throughout your lifetime.

 

However;

 

The "zoe life” or the "life that God has designed for you" is far beyond anything for which you have ever asked from anyone.

 

EPH 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,

 

TLJC said;

 

JOH 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have [zoe] life, and might have {it} abundantly.

 

The "zoe life” is also God's fantastic grace provisions which are far beyond your fondest dreams.

 

No matter how wild and seemingly impossible your dreams may be;

 

God has provided something far greater than any thinking or imagination in any dream you have ever had.

 

And what God has provided for the mature believer in the "zoe life” staggers the imagination.

 

The "zoe life” is the direct result of fulfilling the life beyond gnosis or knowledge into epignosis.

 

It's one thing to know something, it's another to experience it.

 

The life beyond gnosis of Eph 3:19 is the means of entering the “zoe life” of Eph 3:20.

 

In EPH 3:18, Paul says that we:

 

EPH 3:18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

 

EPH 3:19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.

The life beyond gnosis or knowledge is the means of executing the PPOG, and the "zoe life” is the result of executing the PPOG.

 

In the "zoe life,” God does infinitely more than two things stated in Eph 3:20.

 

  1. He does infinitely more than all we ask, whether the asking is toward God in prayer, or toward man by request.

 

Secondly:

 

  1. He does infinitely more than all we think or imagine, which is our personal desires, expectations, and our thoughts associated with happiness symbols.

 

Dreams can represent:

 

What we want to be!

What we want to have!

 

With whom we desire to associate!

 

To what we want to be promoted to.

 

And where applicable, with whom we desire to marry.

 

Dreams carry us to the farthest extent of our imagination.

 

Therefore,

 

For every member of the Royal Family of God, there is a "zoe life” which goes beyond anything for which we can ask of anyone, whether God or man.

 

For every Church-age believer, as a member of the body of Christ, there is a life beyond our dreams and our imaginations.

It is a fantastic life.

 

A life that is in view in;

 

COL 3:3 For you have died and your life [zoe-life] has been hidden together with Christ by means of God.

 

This is the ultimate life, and it is what God expects for every believer to have.

 

And for this life, God has made complete and total provision.

 

The provisions come in three spiritual mechanics and the four spiritual skills.

 

The three spiritual skills:

 

 

  1. The filling of the Holy Spirit,
  2. The ten problem-solving devices,
  3. The execution of the PPOG.

 

The four spiritual mechanics are:

 

  1. The utilization of divine power
  2. The three spiritual skills
  3. The deployment of the 10 PSD.
  4. The execution of the three stages of spiritual adulthood; S.S.E.; S.A.; S.M.

 

Now, Dreams are often an escape from reality, but there is nothing but reality and indescribable blessing in the "zoe life”.

 

In other words, the “zoe life” doesn't escape from reality, but it is fantastic, indescribable reality.

We do not even have the imagination to dream or the power to ask for the things which God has prepared for us in the “zoe life”.

 

1Co 2:9 "However, as it stands written, `no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.”

 

"Those who love Him" here refers to mature believers.

 

ISA 55:8 "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are My ways your ways,' says the Lord."

 

This means God has done some thinking way beyond our thinking.

 

And His thinking becomes a reality for us once we enter the “zoe life.”

 

And the ways of God are way beyond our understanding.

But;

 

Once we reach the “zoe-life”, we begin to comprehend God's ways in a way which gives worship and gratitude and appreciation for God an entirely new meaning.

 

ISA 55:9 "`For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.'"

 

But those ways of God, though higher, are not beyond our grasp.

 

Because….

 

In the “zoe-life”, we learn about those ways and experience some of those ways that are higher than our ways.

 

The point is that you cannot even begin to think, imagine, or dream of the fantastic things that God has provided for you in the “zoe life”.

 

This is all because our Lord chose to live in the Doctrine of Kenosis and gave us the power and the ability to do so.

 

In the life (zoe life) beyond gnosis which is epignosis or possessing the wisdom of God, the Church glorifies God through the attainment of spiritual maturity.

 

Think about it;

 

All of these fantastic principles of doctrine have been decreed by God in eternity past in the Divine Decrees.

 

In the “zoe life”, the church glorifies God through receiving their escrow blessings for time and in the eternal state.

 

And;

 

The poor attempt of the pastor to teach about your escrow blessings doesn't even begin to describe what God has for you personally in the “zoe life,” 1CO 2:9.

 

Your blessings for time are infinitely more than all we can ask or imagine.

 

They are life beyond our dreams.

 

Now, if you are normal, you want things in life.

 

People dream about what they want or desire in life.

 

These dreams are associated with happiness symbols.

 

And there is nothing wrong with having dreams providing that:

These dreams do not inhibit your relationship with God or and come between Him and your assigned personal sense of destiny.

 

People dream about what they want or desire in life.

 

And these dreams are associated with happiness symbols.

 

For example, people dream of:

 

  1. Greatness or success.

 

People dream of:

 

  1. Commendation from people.

 

They also dream about;

 

  1. Being respected and receiving approval.

By the way;

 

I am not talking about dreaming as a noun but as a verb, which refers to what we hope and think while we are awake.

 

Of course, most people dream of:

 

  1. Money and security.
  2. Social life and romance.

 

People dream of:

 

  1. The possession of materialistic things which are coveted for pleasure or which are desired as a status symbol.

 

  1. Achievement in some field in which they are interested.

They dream of;

 

  1. Possessing beauty, strength, attractiveness, and-or health.

 

And where applicable;

 

  1. Some people dream of being married to the ideal person.

 

These dreams express what we want, what we desire, what we think, and what we imagine.

 

But;

 

God has provided for the mature believer a zoe-life, beyond imagination, and beyond our greatest solicitation to self-interest.

 

For dreams, imaginations, prayers, and asking favors of others all add up to solicitation to self-interest.

 

Yet God provides for the mature believer the "zoe life" which is beyond all of that.

 

So, there is nothing like the Zoe-life or the life of God.

 

And that’s where we will pick it up next time we meet.

 

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