The TREE OF LIFE weekly teaching summary from THE WEEK ENDING:
December 19, 1999

The Doctrine of A Personal Sense of Destiny

Point 5.

The A FORTIORI

We are now noting point 5 in the doctrine of a personal sense of destiny which relates our personal sense of destiny to the Latin phrase A Fortiori. Actually, a Latin prepositional phrase meaning “with stronger reason”, used as a system of ancient logic in which a greater is compared with a lesser and by comparison an obvious conclusion is formed. It is usually translated “much more” in the Bible.

MAT 6:26 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and {yet} your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”

MAT 6:30 “But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is {alive} today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, {will He} not much more {do so for} you, O men of little faith?”

A fortiori was used as a system of debate, which takes an accepted fact as a premise and by comparison produces an inescapable fact. The apostle Paul used this in teaching many passages of the word of God. There are many a fortiori passages but the a fortiori of a personal sense of destiny is introduced in Rom 8:31-32. “Therefore, with reference to these things to what conclusion are we forced? If God is for us, who shall be against us? He [God the Father] who did not even spare His own Son, but delivered Him over to judgment as a substitute for all of us, how shall He not with Him also graciously give to us the all things?”

In this passage, the greater difficulty is Christ being judged on the Cross for our sins. The accepted fact is that God the Father imputed our sins to Christ on the Cross and judged every one of them. The inescapable conclusion is that God graciously gives to the believer the all things, which begins at the moment of salvation with forty things, continues at the point of spiritual adulthood with escrow blessings for time, and concludes at the judgment seat of Christ with escrow blessings for eternity. This results in an inescapable conclusion; if God accomplished the greater at the Cross, it is obvious that He can accomplish the lesser in divine provision of the most fantastic spiritual life for after our salvation. God has given us everything that we need and we begin to recognize and really experience these things when we understand our personal sense of destiny.

This same principle is taught in 2CO 12:9. Here Paul came up with an a fortiori conclusion in a different way.

2CO 12:9 And He had assured me for my benefit, “My grace has been and still is sufficient for you. For My power is made operational in a state of weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ [operational spiritual life] may dwell in me.”

In verse 9, the phrase “Most gladly therefore rather”, is made up of two adverbs, a superlative adverb and a comparative adverb. According to A.T. Robertson, this is what is known as an elative superlative. Elative is a grammatical term from the fifth century B.C. Athens Greek, which is a combination of a superlative adverb used with a comparative adverb to indicate superiority through comparing one adverb with the other. The superlative adverb is the adverb that indicates superiority. It is the adverb of the highest order in the sentence, surpassing or superior to all others. It is the extreme degree of comparison of between an adjective or adverb. Paul is going to teach us that there is something that he discovered to solve his problems with that is even greater than prayer and he is very happy or “Most gladly” willing to use what he discovered. The superlative adverb in this sentence is Hedista translated “Most gladly, the comparative adverb in this sentence is mallon which is translated rather. The comparative adverb indicates the choice for what is the superior factor or the absolute factor or the greatest thing in the sentence.

This means that the Attic Greek superlative is used in an absolute sense. In effect, Paul is going to say, “Look I am facing insults or slandering (people testing), distresses or pressure (thought testing), persecutions (system testing or injustice), difficulties or troubles (disaster testing), and Most gladly I rejoice because of the power of God. There’s your system of logic. This is why the elative superlative is related to a fortiori. Paul is saying there’s something greater than my weaknesses and problems with the lesser adverb mallon translated rather, and that something is found in the greater adverb “Most gladly”. He is saying that the power that God has provided us with those two power options, the filling of the Holy Spirit and the metabolization of Bible doctrine, the three spiritual skills and the ten problem solving devices are God’s answers to our problems and the absolute and the only solution to our problems. Here Paul is asying there is something even greater to solve my thorn in the flesh problem and I am going to rely on that and be very happy about it, “Most gladly”.

He discovered that there was something greater behind his personal sufferings and his problems and that something greater was his personal sense of destiny and using the two power options and the three spiritual skills and the ten problem solving devices that God had provided for him. We live in an age of the greatest power that has ever been given to the ordinary believer. The power at your disposal is phenomenal, but you will never touch it without straightening out your values and functioning on a consistent basis with the spiritual skills. The reason why we include the two power options in the three spiritual skills is because we need the power options to learn and then we need to use those power options to execute the Chrittian way of life. We will study these principles in a more deatiled way this upcoming week.

A complete study of this weeks teaching are available from our series in the book of Philippians, series 0190-714.

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