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Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 09/23/07
The Doctrine of the Divine Decrees. Part 5.
Point 6 in our study of the Divine decrees: The manifestations of the will of God found in the Divine decrees. First, the preventative will of God (GEN 20:6; PSA 19:13). God uses parents, governments, laws, customs, public opinion, His Word, His Spirit, and conscience as a means to prevent sin and evil. The Spirit, the Word, and prayer avail much for the Christian. In GEN 20:1-6, Now Abraham journeyed from there toward the land of the Negev, and settled between Kadesh and Shur; then he sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” So Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married.” Now Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, “Lord, wilt Thou slay a nation, even though blameless? Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.” Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her.” Sometimes the Lord brings in situations which stop us from going in the wrong direction (PSA 119:67; PSA 119:71; PSA 119:75). Secondly, there is the permissive will, which embraces that which God does not restrain. In 2CH 32:31 God left Hezekiah on his own to see what he would do with Babylonian emissaries because He wanted to test his heart. ROM 1:20-24, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. God giving them over is the permissive will of God. Thirdly, as a part of the Divine decrees, there is the directive will, by which action God guides the ways of men, often outside their consciousness of that guidance (GEN 50:20; PSA 76:10;ISA 10:5; JOH 13:27; ACT 4:28). We saw that it is written that God hardened Pharaoh's heart to the end that a demonstration of His divine power might be fully displayed. PRO 16:4 tells us, “The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil.” The Lord will even use the wickedness of people and angels to bring his plan and purpose to pass. Fourth, there is the determinative will of God, by which action He decides and executes all things after the counsel of His own will (ISA 46:10-11). Fifth, the main principle behind the Divine decrees is the grace of God. Though many objectives are disclosed, the supreme purpose of God in creation seems to be the demonstration of His grace. His Grace will be displayed by the redeemed in glory. EPH 2:4-7, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Grace is a major feature of the decree. We are here, not to glorify ourselves, not to impress God, but to line up with His pleasure and glory.
Point 7. The Glory of God and the Divine Decrees.
The glorification of God is by means of the Church (EPH 3:21), and it ultimately occurs when the believer moves all the way to spiritual maturity. EPH 3:20-21, “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, to Him [God the Father] be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” God is to be glorified in the Church, just like He was glorified by means of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is when the believer is said to be filled with all the fullness of God (EPH 3:19). At spiritual self-esteem the believer has knowledge and self-confidence. At spiritual autonomy the believer has the strong independence, not from God, but from depending on man. At spiritual maturity the believer has cognitive invincibility and can become an invisible hero. This happens when the believer glorifies God as he parlays the life beyond gnosis (EPH 3:19), into the life beyond dreams (EPH 3:20). To do this, you must understand the mystery doctrine of the Church-age found in the New Testament epistles, 1CO 2:9But just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” The only Christian service and production that counts is the production that results from perception of doctrine.The pattern for glorifying God in the Church-age is the PMA of Bible doctrine. Reception of Bible doctrine is the #1 priority. Retention refers to the metabolization of Bible doctrine, so that epignosis doctrine in the right lobe is the basis of momentum in the PPOG. Recall is comparable to the concept of wisdom; it refers to the application of doctrine. This results in understanding the ten unique characteristics of the Church-age: 1) The Baptism of the Holy Spirit. 2) This is the dispensation of the unique PPOG. 3) Unique Equality in the PPOG. 4) The Unique Portfolio of Invisible Assets. 5) Two Unique Royal Commissions for every Church-age Believer. 6) The doctrine of the Church-age is the unique mystery doctrine. 7) The body of the Church-age believer is indwelt by each person of the Trinity. 8) The Unique Availability of Divine Power. 9) The Age of No Prophecy. 10) The Church-age is the dispensation of invisible heroes. Those ten characteristics are the basis for your standard operating procedure. This also results in the understanding of the ten problem solving devices for the Christian way of life. Glorification of God is the execution of the PPOG through the advance to spiritual maturity. This includes suffering for blessing, not Divine discipline or self-induced misery under the law of volitional responsibility. When you pass these different tests you are qualified for blessing and therefore glorification.
The Glorification of God is also related to the distribution of your escrow blessings for time. Eph 1 teaches that the first thing God ever did for us is the means of glorifying Him, by receiving the blessings He has provided for us. Billions of years ago, God the Father deposited into escrow, the greatest blessings, tailored perfectly for each of us. Under the doctrine of election, God wills the highest and the best for you as a believer, only when you receive that do you glorify God. Every believer has a tremendous escrow account in heaven. People often ask what is God's will for my life? The answer is very simple: God decreed for you to glorify Him. How? By withdrawing from your escrow account as much as you can. The fact that you do not have phenomenal blessings in time and eternity simply means that you choose to be a loser. It is the choices we make that makes us winners or losers. God not only wills the highest and best for each believer but, at the same time, He provides equal privilege and equal opportunity to attain these blessings, so there is no excuse for any believer in the history of the Church-age for not receiving phenomenal blessings. The reason is negative volition toward doctrine. You can't be positive if you submit to negative feelings and depressions.
            So why are we here? Only the believer who stays with doctrine can really answer that question! You are here to glorify God! REV 4:11 “Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created.” ISA 43:21 “The people whom I formed for Myself, Will declare My glory.” Glorifying God demands understanding. You will be kept alive by God long enough to have the opportunity to understand. As a part of the Divine decrees, God's will for your life as a member of the Royal Family of God is to bless you, to give you prosperity in the midst of all adverse situations. EPH 1:3-6 says, “Worthy of praise and glorification be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He (God the Father) elected us in Him before the foundation of the world, In love, He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, resulting in the praise the glory of His grace.” It is for His glory! God had a reason for all He has done for you and this gives purpose to your life. Remember that anything God does results in His glorification. God does not depend on us for His pleasure or His glory. He enjoyed these things in eternity past when no one else existed. God expresses His pleasure and glory toward us. Therefore, because God is to be glorified we are the beneficiaries of His blessings and Divine provisions. God is not glorified by our system of human works, but by meeting our every need. ISA 26:15 Thou hast increased the nation, O Lord, Thou hast increased the nation, Thou art glorified; (See also ISA 60:21).
            The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit had infinite glory in eternity past and will have it in eternity future. Whatever they do in the interim - from the creation of the universe to the conclusion of history - will bring them infinite glory. So, when history terminates, God's glory will be as perfect as it was before time began. Our failures do not stain the glory of God (PSA 79:9; ISA 43:25; ISA 48:11). His glory does not depend on us; we depend on His glory! Whether in time or eternity, Divine blessing is all grace. The only things related to us that can glorify God are what God Himself accomplishes, such as imputing His righteousness or providing doctrine. That is why He despises our self-righteousness, hypocrisy, legalism and human good. When we begin to glorify ourselves, we are setting ourselves up for Divine discipline. God will inevitably be glorified by every thought, every decision, every action in human history. The good and the bad are included; sin, evil, everything will all add up to the glorification of God. His glory is never held up; it never stops; it moves on with you or without you, no matter what you do. If you remain an unbeliever, you will go to hell; and God's glory will remain uncompromised and untarnished. If you believe in Christ, you will go to heaven, again consistent with the glory of God. Both in time and in eternity God's character is vindicated in everything that occurs (PSA 76:10).
            Only response to doctrine can fulfill the maximum blessing desired by God for the believer. The extent to which a believer advances is the extent to which the decrees of eternity past were declared for that individual. However, in too many cases the potential far exceeds the reality. Both sin and the Cross were fed into the computer of the Divine decrees. Sin is the permissive will of God; the Cross, the directive will. Sin is neutralized by the Cross; this is an example of how God permits man's free will to oppose Him yet maintains His own integrity and wins in the end.
God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit knew that the two greatest systems of human law - Jewish and Roman - would meet at the Cross and that both would break down and fail. (The law did not fail; those administering it failed.) The Members of the Trinity knew that hearsay would be accepted as evidence, that the facts would be omitted, and that the whole succession of Christ's seven trials would be a railroading of the law. Nevertheless, the precise manner in which Christ was convicted and crucified was decreed in eternity past because God knew the freewill decisions of very individual involved. He knew the mob mentality and the decisions of every member of the crowd that shouted, "Crucify Him!" He knew the conspiracy of the religious Pharisees. Our Lord's execution was the sum total of human evil and reversionism. It was the quintessence of sinfulness - sinfulness related to religion. Yet God's purpose was carried out by the free choice of man. It was religion that put Christ on the Cross, but it was the justice of God the Father who used the crucifixion for His own purpose. Now there is a neat little twist! God used religion, the devil's ace trump, to provide our salvation! Religion reached its peak only to inadvertently provide the grace way of salvation as the justice of God imputed the personal sins of mankind to Christ and judged them on the Cross. This once again shows that no matter how great the creature may be - and Satan is the smartest of all creatures - God is always greater. God not only uses the wrath of man to praise Him but He uses the wrath of angels as well!
Point 8. The Practical Application of the Divine Decrees.
Since the decree is the sum total of God's plan and purpose in eternity past, it centers around the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ (EPH 1:4-6; 1JO 3:23). 1JO 3:23And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.” The free will of man must face the issue of Christ and His work on the Cross. Faith in Christ is man's entrance into the plan of grace. God's plan in eternity past was designed to include all events and actions, related to their causes and conditions, as part of one indivisible system, every link being a part of the integrity of the whole. Each link is as important as the whole. The whole is the integrity of God making all the links properly relate through grace. This is how He makes all things work together for good. Without violating human volition, God has designed a plan so perfect that it includes directive, provision, preservation, function, cause and effect for all believers. Under this plan, God has decreed to do some things directly (such as creation or salvation), some through secondary agencies (as through Israel or the Church), and some through individuals (as through the Apostle Paul - or through us). These are the various functions within the Plan of God. It does not matter into which of these categories any action falls; all constitute one great, comprehensive plan - perfect, eternal, unchangeable, with no loss of integrity. We are part of a magnificently perfect plan designed to give us everything that is wonderful in time and eternity. This PPOG is consistent with human freedom. He does not limit or coerce our freedom, but graciously provides guidance as to how we should use our volition. The only revelation of the Divine decrees is found in the Bible; therefore, the highest priority in the Christian life is the reception of Bible doctrine. Some things God permits; other things He causes. Some things please Him; some things do not, but God always recognizes reality. There is no wishful thinking in God. He never rationalizes anything. He never blesses us out of sentimentality, or because of our character, plans, ideas, schemes, or self-righteousness. He blesses us only on the basis of His character. God created man with free will. The fact that man can go contrary to the will of God proves the existence of truly free volition. We can conclude that the present plan, as ordained and as it is being achieved, is and in the end will prove to be, the best plan that could have been devised by infinite wisdom, consummated by infinite power, and will be the supreme satisfaction to infinite love. ACT 15:18 tells us “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” The term “Divine decree” is an attempt to gather up into one designation that to which the Scriptures refer by various designations - the Divine purpose (EPH 1:11), determinate counsel (ACT 2:23), foreknowledge (1PE 1:2 cf. 1PE 1:20), election (1TH 1:4), predestination (ROM 8:30), the Divine will (EPH 1:11), and the Divine good pleasure (EPH 1:9).
When we live in this magnificent plan, Satan will attack us from all sides. First to attack us personally, then to cause division in the body of Christ. That usually results in weak believers believing lies and trying to cause trouble; all this does is what Satan wants [to stop the progress in the church of doctrine]. When that all stops and you start going forward again he starts to work on your friends and family. That's when the trouble starts; human emotions happen, bitterness steps in, anger comes forward; wisdom is working only part time. The loved ones don't even know they are being used because Satan is planting the seed to do this. As time goes on these situations blow out of proportion, and then no one can remember how everything even started! We all must know our enemy, and how God's grace will see us through.
God has a plan for your life. In any war there must be a plan and method designed to defeat the enemy. God's strategy is found in the Divine power and assets which He has prepared for us in eternity past. This includes His plan, which we call the predesigned plan of God, and His method which is to use His power which we call Divine omnipotence. Paul told the Corinthians in 2CO 6:7that one of the signs that he was a servant of God was the fact that he operated in Divine power. 2CO 6:7 “In the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left,” The strategy of God for our spiritual warfare is found in the PPOG and His method is operating in Divine power. Our Lord Jesus Christ won the strategic victory over Satan in the angelic conflict during His first advent and His saving work on the cross. The tactical victory for this conflict is now assigned to each Church-age believer. As Royal Family of God, you are to put into operation the method and the plan that the Lord Jesus Christ has made available to you for victory in spiritual warfare. 2CO 10:3-5, “For though we walk in the flesh, [in human bodies in the natural realm in this world], We do not war according to the flesh, [we do not fight our battles in human strength], For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations [false doctrines and theories] and every arrogant thought raised up against the knowledge or the doctrine of God, and we are taking every thought captive or make every thought surrender to obedience to Christ.” Remember, never has so much been given to so many as in the Church-age. This of course is a part of the uniqueness of the Church-age. All warfare is based on deception. That's why the Bible prepares us for deception in many passages. In fact, the opposite of deception is actually loyalty, something that is very hard to find.
Another principle is that the supreme art of spiritual warfare is to subdue the enemy without fighting. This has a perfect analogy with the principles found in the word of God such as EPH 6:11; EPH 6:13; JAM 4:7; 1PE 5:9. If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have been chosen and assigned by God; you are a member of a designated force. JOH 15:16 "You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and {that} your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you.” Our main objective in the spiritual war which we are called to fight in is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. In spiritual warfare, the objective depends upon the neutralization and destruction of the power of the opposing spiritual forces in battle. We do this in the spiritual life through rebound and recovery to neutralize or destroy the power of the opposing forces in the spiritual life through 1JO 1:9"If we acknowledge [name and cite] our sins, He is faithful and righteous, with the result that He forgives us our sins [known sins] and purifies us from all unrighteousness [unknown sins]." This is why there always has been and will be an attack on rebound and recovery and the principle of 1JO 1:9 until the eternal state. Sin takes us out of the PPOG and away from the delegated power of God, but rebound puts us right back in, and Satan doesn't like that fact nor do legalistic people. So when we sin and enter cosmic one or two, the devil's world system to take us away from the plan of God, we function under human power and human energy of the flesh which is totally unacceptable to God's plan for our life.
Point 9: The Divine decrees and Divine imputations.
All imputations are a part of the divine decrees and the organization for the PPOG. This was a part of the Divine decrees that really baffled Satan. There are seven imputations in the PPOG. First, human life is imputed to the soul, and it remains in the soul forever. This means children and those who do not reach or cannot reach the age of accountability receive automatic salvation. When David and Bathsheba's illegitimate child died as part of his discipline from murdering Uriah, we read in 2SA 12:22-23,And he said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the Lord may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’ “But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, [to Paradise] but he will not return to me.”
The principle behind the divine decrees is that since condemnation precedes salvation, they must be condemned before they can be saved; therefore they are condemned at birth. Soul life is provided by God at birth (JOB 33:4; ECC 12:7). GEN 2:7 tells us when this life began, Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (see also ISA 43:7; ISA 45:12; ISA 57:16). Biological life originates with our parents; soul life originates from God at birth. Only Adam and the woman were given biological and soul life simultaneously at original creation. This is because neither Adam nor the woman were ever inside the womb. Soul life begins at the point of physical birth as one of two real imputations from God. God imputes human life to the format soul at birth; therefore, God gives human life. The second imputation is Adam's original sin imputed to the old sin nature, automatically condemning each member of the human race at birth. PSA 51:5 “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” Since God knew in eternity past that you were going to be a member of the human race, and He knew simultaneously in His omniscience that you would believe in Jesus Christ, God selected you before He elected you. Selection must precede election. God is the inventor of human life, just as He is the creator. At the moment of physical birth, God imputes human life to the format soul, at which point the individual becomes alive. God did not have to impute life to you or anyone else but He did. For example, the Bible teaches that if you died in the womb you would not be a person. If the fetus died in the womb then God would not impute soul-life to that fetus (JOB 10:18-19). Human life exists out from the womb (birth) to the tomb. The limits of human life are from birth to death. This is the sphere in which the angelic conflict is being resolved. There is no resolution to the angelic conflict inside the womb or inside the tomb. God gives human life at birth, and takes it away at death. The womb is not a part of the angelic conflict, nor does it contain human life. At birth, God creates soul life and imputes it to biological life. At death, God removes soul life from biological life, and for the believer, takes that soul life to heaven. If God does not give soul life at birth, there is no soul life, there is no existence. Biological life is only temporary. Soul life is permanent. The third imputation as a part of the divine decrees takes place at the point of faith in Christ; eternal life is imputed to the human spirit, created by God the Holy Spirit (called regeneration). This provides eternal security, since once given, God can never take away eternal life (TIT 3:5). The fourth imputation in the divine decrees is the perfect righteousness is imputed as a judicial imputation to the believer at salvation. This creates a grace pipeline for the imputation of all blessing to the believer (2CO 5:21). PHI 3:9 “And that I may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,” The fifth imputation in the divine decrees took place on the cross when the sins of the world were imputed to Jesus Christ in His spiritual death. The sixth imputation is vital when you consider that the divine decrees are designed to bring glory to God; blessing in time is imputed to perfect righteousness previously imputed to the believer when the believer grows spiritually and cracks the maturity barrier. The seventh imputation is blessing for eternity, imputed to the believer's perfect righteousness at the judgment seat of Christ.
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