Monday, March 10, 2014

Destroyed Foundations!

Destroyed Foundations!

          Faith is a choice, but biblical faith is not a blind leap into the darkness. God does not define faith in that way. Biblical faith finds its foundations in the inspired Words of God. In other words, biblical faith begins with believing that the Bible is the very Word of God. Faith apart from the knowledge of God that comes through the knowledge of God's inspired Bible is really not faith at all in that it has no foundations.

"1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? 2 For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart. 3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? 4 The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. 5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. 6 Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. 7 For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright" (Psalm 11:1-7).

          Every new generation of Christianity morphs itself into some abstract of reality. This generation of professing Christians at the beginning of the twenty-first century are four or five generations away from ever having to really "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 1:3). In most part, we are a generation whose only knowledge of Liberalism is some abstract sense of outcomes and dictionary definitions. There are few alive today who actually wielded the Sword of the Lord in the middle of the onslaught of the attack of theological Liberalism as it sought to undermine and destroy the very foundations of the faith. Most professing Christians have very little comprehension even of what theological Liberalism is. They certainly do not understand the birth children of theological Liberalism known as New Evangelism, Ecumenicism, Theonomic Reconstructionism, or even such things as the New Age Movement.  

We are a generation of Christianity that has grown into some abstract sense of spiritual immaturity when in fact we do not even know what spiritual maturity looks like, let alone what is involved in being spiritually mature. We have bathed ourselves in the socially engineered propaganda provided by Liberalism inviting it into our homes in the forms of public Humanistic education, television, worldly music, and Hollywood films. The foundations have been destroyed while we stood on the sidelines and watched it happen. We have allowed true biblical Christianity to be marginalized by the world by allowing Bible doctrine to be minimized in our churches.  

We have this lofty idea about ourselves as we see ourselves standing above the problem when in fact we are very much a part of the problem. This was exactly the condition of the nation of Israel when God raised up the prophet Isaiah. The vision of the Lord that Isaiah received is a vision every Christian living when the foundations have been destroyed MUST see. We must understand Isaiah's vision of God because this vision reveals to us the basic meaning of destroyed foundations.  

Every new generation must have a renewed vision of God and our purpose in His plan because every new generation of Christians are an extension of the foundation upon which the next generation must build. Each new generation of Christians are the foundations that are being destroyed by compromise and corrupted, liberalized doctrine. A foundation of Christianity is destroyed when that generation is weakened in its resolve to fight the fight of faith and to battle against the world's efforts to incorporate us into something that distorts the image of God.

"1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. 4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. 6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me" (Isaiah 6:1-8).

        We often read this text and miss its instructional intent. Although the focus is upon Isaiah's vision of God in all His glory and holiness, the emphasis of the text is upon how that understanding of God changed Isaiah's view of his own spirituality. In turn, Isaiah's understanding of the Person of God changed Isaiah's view of even the most spiritual in the nation of Israel. The statement of Isaiah 6:5 is profound in ways we cannot even comprehend. "
Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." The Hebrew word translated "I am undone" means Isaiah was brought to silence as he viewed in awesome terror the holiness of God. Yet, even that does not give us the total meaning of Isaiah's transformational understanding of humanity compared to the character and nature of God. Isaiah saw his own character and nature compared to God's.  

          Most of us are like Isaiah. We are saved and no longer live like the rest of the world. However, we confuse having a knowledge of righteousness with being righteous. We see ourselves as part of the solution to the world's problem when in fact we are, in most part, still partners with the world and part of the problem. This is what Isaiah saw when he saw himself and the rest of the best of Israel compared to God. The foundations are beginning to crumble under our feet because we do not see that our feet are part of the crumbling.  

Generation after generation of Christians degenerate and morph into abstracts of the real thing because we lose the historical context through which previous generations fought. Liberalism was birthed out of German Rationalism, Higher Criticism, and Lower Criticism. These were professing Christians that questioned everything. The verbal plenary inspiration of the Scriptures was questioned, critiqued, and morphed into every abstract of reality possible. The outcome was that very few professing Christians any longer trusted their Bibles as the foundation for absolute truth. The Liberals considered this outcome progress. Once the foundation of verbal, plenary inspiration was destroyed, the Liberals began to attack the cardinal doctrines of the faith. The foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was destroyed for many by destroying faith in the virgin birth, and the deity of Jesus. The foundation of the doctrine of redemption was destroyed by destroying the doctrine of substitionary atonement and the elimination of any teaching on the Blood of Christ. Liberalism left Christianity emaciated and powerless to engage the world because Christianity now held in common the world's values. The problem was that in the transition this new Christianity ceased to be true Christianity.  

True Christianity was demonized and radicalized by Liberalism and then marginalized into cultural irrelevancy. From that position of irrelevancy many began asking the same question David asked. "
If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do" (Psalm 11:3)? Their answer to the question was to try to make God relevant to the world once again. From this, the already compromising New Evangelicalism morphed into the Emerging Church and even more corrupt, inclusive forms of Ecumenicism. The corruption of separatism and militant Fundamentalism morphed into soft separatism using Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) and became a new kind of New Evangelical converging itself with all forms of theological corruption in the pursuit of something called cultural relevancy.  

Like Isaiah, this generation of Christianity does not even comprehend the problem, let alone understand it, and therefore becomes part of the problem. They do not understand the problem because the problem is not that God is irrelevant to the world. The problem is that God has been made irrelevant to world because the God of the Bible is no longer the god the world knows. God has not changed. The world has created a false, liberal idol that has replaced the God of the Bible.  

The world is always changing by becoming more ungodly and antichrist with every generation. The problem is that the liberal world has changed Christianity when they recreated God in their image. Although most Christians may not be as unbelieving and as corrupt as the unbelieving world, in most cases we are just a few steps behind them.  

Thinking themselves to be somewhat righteous by comparing their lives to the way the world lives, they fail to look back over our shoulders to see just how far short of the glory of God they really are. We have raised a generation of children who think it is more important to be cool and sexy than it is to be holy and righteous. We are now a generation that has been so corrupted that somehow we have even convinced ourselves we can be both cool and sexy as well as holy and righteous. The foundations have been destroyed!  

Because we have lost the historical context of the struggle between righteousness and truth with unrighteousness and deception, we cannot even understand what David is asking in Psalm 11:3. Historical context is more than just important. Historical context is CRITICAL! In Psalm eleven, Saul is the king of Israel. Saul has surrounded himself with counselors who were feeding his paranoia regarding David usurping the throne of Israel. There was no danger of David doing that, but this is what Saul had allowed his mind to be filled with. In I Samuel 26:20, David states his belief regarding Saul's pursuit of David's life - "
for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains."  

David has also surrounded himself with friends who were bad counselors. In Psalm 11:1-3, David is actually questioning the counsel he is receiving from his friends, "1b how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? 2 For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright" (Psalm 11:1b-2). David's friends were telling him to take himself out of harm's way and go hide in obscurity in the mountains. Yes, Saul wanted to kill David. Yes, Saul was corrupting justice and promoting unrighteousness in Israel. Is the solution to these kinds of problems running away and hiding thereby silencing the voice of justice and righteousness by securing your own safety? When righteousness is threatened by unrighteousness, should the righteous flee in fear?  

What should the righteous do? The point of the discussion is that the best thing the righteous can do is BE RIGHTEOUS in the midst of unrighteousness! When the foundations of righteousness have been destroyed, true believers should become part of a new foundation of righteousness!  

This is why it is important to understand human nature and the subtlety of our propensity for Centrism. Because of our corrupted nature and our hatred for rejection, when confronted with a choice between radical unrighteousness and radical righteousness, our natural propensities for acceptance leads us to put ourselves somewhere in the center of these two radicals. Most people will do that because that is where the vast majority of people involved in making the same choice will put themselves. There is an innate tendency for the doctrinally shallow and spiritually weak to follow the majority.  

Do you think Satan understands that aspect of our corrupted character? Of course he does and he uses it against us. This is what defines progressive Liberalism. This is why and how every new generation of Christianity progressively digresses away from biblical normalcy morphing themselves into some abstract of the real thing.  

The second thing Satan depends upon is biblical ignorance. There are three progressive essentials necessary in order to avoid personally becoming part of destroying the foundations of righteousness. These three progressive essentials keep us from becoming progressive Liberals.

1. Knowledge of God's Word (II Timothy 2:15)
2. Understanding what you know ("Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way." Psalm 119:104)
3. Wisdom is knowing how to apply and live what you understand

"1 Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. 2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. 3 For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. 4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. 6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. 7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. 8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. 9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. 10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many. 11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. 12 When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. 13 Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life" (Proverbs 4:1).

Herein lies the problem that defines why the foundations are so easily destroyed. Every new generation begins with NONE of these three essentials to the continuation of righteousness. We begin with complete ignorance of God's Word and no comprehension of its value to our lives and existence. Therefore, we have not real motivation to learn the Word of God or invest the thousands of hours necessary to understanding the Word of God. We are naturally untrusting of people and our ignorance keeps us from being able to choose the right people to help us know what God's Word says. Human nature normally rationalizes that the majority is correct and therefore chooses what the majority chooses. Human nature avoids what the majority considers radical. The majority way is what Jesus calls the "broad way."

"13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:13-14).

Our natural propensity for Centrism leads us to constantly morph ourselves into some manufactured abstract of the real thing until there are hundreds and thousands of levels of corruption. Most people have little comprehension of grammar and syntax and so they do not even have the most basic tools necessary to understand God's communication through words and language. They certainly cannot understand the use of the anthropomorphisms, similes, metaphors, or colloquialisms used so often by God in His Word. Such ignorance cripples them in the basics of understanding and applying the Word of God. Because learning all of that is hard work, most people never even make the effort. Hence darkness engulfs the light and evil commands the high ground through cultural apathy and indifference to God.  

Theological Liberalism has created political Liberalism. Political Liberalism has morphed out from theological Humanism into secular Humanism. The transition takes place from a Humanistic view of God to removing God altogether from the view. When God is taken out of theological Humanism all that is left is secular Humanism. Removing the very notion of God from the discussion is the goal of political Liberalism and secular Humanism. This is the purest and heinous form of Antichristism. Secular Humanism seeks to completely remove moral absolutes based upon the Bible with their own moral absolutes based upon political correctness.  

Removing all moral absolutes based upon the Bible and replacing those moral absolutes with politically correct absolutes are the hidden philosophies within the Common Core Curriculum being promoted by our national government. This is certainly evident in the curriculum's sex education where experimentation regarding gender oriented sexually is encouraged. Liberalism hides its real agenda behind the clouds of noble causes where the ignorant and careless are easily duped as dopes.  

"If the foundations be destroyed, what shall the righteous do?" The answer is found in Psalm 11:4-7. The answer is that there is a message for which the righteous are responsible to proclaim when confronted by the destroyed foundations of unrighteousness in any generation. The solution against the unbelief of scientific Empiricism is not a debate that offers the axiomatic defenses of apologetics. The solution against the unbelief of scientific Empiricism is the declaration of God's existence and God's sovereignty over His creation regardless of their rejection of His existence. The answer to unbelief is a message. The answer to the unbelief of Liberalism is a proclamation that there is a holy God upon His throne and unbelievers will be judged by Him in the near future. "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). The message is Psalm 11:4-7.

"4 The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. 5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. 6 Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. 7 For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright" (Psalm 11:4-7).

The point of these verses is that even if the foundations of righteousness in this world have been destroyed, the foundations of righteousness in Heaven have not been destroyed. Even though the "born again" Christian seems powerless in the midst of the onslaught of unrighteousness, he is not. We can say with Job, "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth" (Job 19:25). Psalm 11:4-7 tells us that we can know that God alone creates a majority in His sovereignty. Therefore, join that majority and proclaim that majority!  

It would appear that Liberalism, as in the days of old, has once again risen to a position of dominance. A nation founded upon the governance of God's Laws of righteousness has been corrupted by the very courts of Law designed to protect the Rule of Law. Moral absolutes defined and established by belief in the inspired Words of God have been replaced by the Humanistic moral absolutes of political correctness. Constitutional Law and justice have been corrupted and replaced by case history Law through the undermining of Fluid Constructionism. Churches, that once proclaimed belief in sola scriptura, have abandoned the Word of God for cultural relativism. It would seem by all appearances that righteousness is dead and its foundations have been destroyed. What does this tell the true believer living in the days of destroyed foundations? This apparent defeat tells us we are close to the revelation of the righteous One.

"3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men" (II Peter 3:3-7).

The point of II Peter 3:3-7 is similar to Psalm 11:4-7. God is still upon His throne! Unbelief, the advances of Liberalism, and the world's attack against everything that is holy and righteous is just a façade of victory. Do not run and hide.  

Do not let the world silence your voice or relegate your testimony to hide yourself away in obscurity. We are not the first of God's people to face this kind of dilemma. Noah faced it and preached the righteousness of God (II Peter 2:5) for the one-hundred and twenty years he spent building the Ark. The unrighteous world mocked him and ridiculed him daily as he spent all his time and resources to build and ark of survival against the judgment of God that would come in something called rain. The message to unbelievers has never changed. As we watch the advances of Liberalism and unbelief capture the hearts and souls of this world, the message we have from God is repent and believe! There is no compromise! No unbelieving Christ rejecter will be spared! God is consistent in His dealings with mankind and God's judgment is an imminent historical constant in this world.

"1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. 4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly" (II Peter 2:1-6).

What is the point of religious freedoms in a society that rejects belief in God or in most part radicalizes and ridicules people of real biblical faith? According to Bill Nye the science guy, belief in a literal interpretation of a book that is thousands of years old is an endangerment to our next generation's ability to advance and compete on a global scale where other societies are not hampered by such archaisms. Or, consider the new Catholic Pope's proclamation that belief in a literal Hell or a God of wrath and condemnation no longer fits in with our New Age view of a God of love, peace, and tranquility within the vast diversities of religious beliefs. Do any of these proclamations of pseudo-wisdom change God's eternal dynamics in any way? They certainly do not. Paul's proclamation to the corrupters of the Gospel speaks just as loudly two-thousand plus years after he declared it as the day he declared it.

"6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:6-9).

The main point of Psalm 11:4-7 is that the true believer's victory over the apparent domination of unbelief and unrighteousness will not be found in human alliances. Yet this it seems is the solution to which humanistic thinking first leads us. We rationalize that evil is advancing and unrighteousness is prevailing therefore we must become more inclusivistic in our alliances. We make such rationalistic and logical deductions without even considering that such thinking is humanistic and pragmatic. We have example after example of God's condemnation of this kind of rationalism in His dealings with the nation of Israel. When God's people make ungodly alliances to reinforce their strength by increasing their numbers, they do so at the sacrifice of their alliance with God. God hates this kind of thinking for it is really a manifestation of unbelief.  

We know that after the exodus and the twenty-six year record of the events recorded in the book of Joshua, the very next generation abandons their faithfulness to God and begins to incorporate the pornographic compromises of paganism in their midst - ONE GENERATION! The point before us is just how fragile a culture is when a culture loses its emphasis upon maintaining the purity of faith and doctrine. In one generation after the miraculous victories of the land of Canaan the miraculous is taken for granted. God is forgotten and the promises made in their covenantal declarations to Joshua are broken. Take a careful look at two Bible texts that record events just two years apart - Joshua 24:15-22 and Judges 2:10-15.

"15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. 16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; 17 For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: 18 And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God. 19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. 20 If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. 21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD. 22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses" (Joshua 24:15-22).

"10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. 11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: 12 And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. 13 And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. 14 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. 15 Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed" (Judges 2:10-15).

"In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Judges 17:6).

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christ’s Perfect Identity and Oneness with the Believer

   Because most Christians’ understanding of the doctrine of salvation is so shallow, they have little understanding of what God has done, is doing, and will do in His gift of salvation to us.  To grasp the unsearchable riches of God’s gift of grace in our salvation, we must return to God’s original intent in His creation of humanity and a place for our existence.  All of God’s creatures including angels and humans were created with free volition.   Volition is the power to choose or determine.  Volition is commonly referred to as free will.  God’s intent in giving His creatures volition was that as they learn of Him and know of His attributes and character.  God’s intent in giving His creatures volition is that they will choose to love Him, worship Him, and serve Him with gladness.  God’s intent in giving His creatures volition is that they will desire to live in fellowship with Him in all that they do. God’s intent was that all of His creatures would live with Him in His eternal existence we might called the realm of His continual blessedness. 
Adam’s fall into sin removed him from this eternal state of blessedness and put all of Creation, including all of his descendants, into the eternal state of cursedness, or damnation in separation from God.  This is the opposite of God’s intent in His creation.  God’s doctrine of salvation is intent upon returning humanity to God’s eternal existence of blessedness through the exercise of our volition in repenting of sin, which is worldliness.  Then the sinner must understand and believe the Gospel. 
Humanity invented what God calls “dead works” by inventing and corrupting religious practices to gain favor with God, foolishly thinking that such practices could return sinners to God’s blessedness.  When God gave His redeemed nation of Israel the Mosaic Covenant to define what is sin and the sacrifices that looked forward to their promised Savior in the Messiah, they corrupted the purpose of the Law and the sacrifices making the Law and the sacrifices the means of salvation.  The Law and the sacrifices were intended for already saved people.  The Law and the sacrifices were given to help them understand sin and the cost of their redemption, which would be provided through the substitionary death of their Redeemer in the coming of the Messiah. 
The Mosaic Covenant was given as a blessing and curse covenant intended for people already saved “by grace . . . through faith.”  If these saved people would live according to God’s precepts and judgments of God, they could live within a bubble of God’s blessedness within the cursed creation until God’s New Creation came into existence.  This is true of Church Age believers today as well.  Local churches are intended to be bubbles of blessedness within the cursed creation until we are ultimately translated into the New Heaven/Earth (“the regeneration”).  The New Heaven/Earth will be the full restoration of God’s realm of existence in eternal blessedness.   It is to this realm of God’s eternal blessedness that Hebrews 2:14-18 refers. 

14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:14-18).

          We still live under the curse of God upon this fallen creation throughout this earthly life even if we are saved.  We are all slowly dying physically.  We are susceptible to sickness and we must toil to provide for our shelter and sustenance.  However, we enter the bubble of blessedness within the curse through salvation.  To actually receive the blessings of our new life “in Christ,” we must “reckon” ourselves “11 . . . to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof” (Romans 6:11b-12). Our new union with Christ must extend itself into unity with Christ if we are ever to experience the benefits available to us within the bubble of blessedness.  Jesus gives us the necessary conditions to be blessed within the bubble of blessedness in Matthew chapters five, six, and seven.  These three chapters define how unity with Christ can exist within the union we have with Christ in our “so great salvation.”  The “how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation” warning expands to one more level on the plain of the “so great salvation.”  In Hebrews 2:14-18, God details the perfect union with Christ that is provided to all believers through the work of His incarnation.
          Before we look at Hebrews 2:14, we must jump ahead to verse 16 to lay some groundwork of this union.  It would appear that verses 14-15 establish a basis for the false doctrine of Universalism.  Universalism is represented by the false doctrines of the universal Fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man teaching that all people will enter Heaven and escape Hell because of the universal propitiation of God (I John 2:2). Universalism teaches that there is no need to make a volitional decision of faith, but that all people will be saved regardless of what they believe or how they live. This is the issue with which John deals in I John 2:1-2. 

 1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:1-2).

          I John 2:1-2 contextually continues the thoughts regarding the issues necessary to New Covenant “fellowship” with God explained in I John chapter one.  I John 1:5-10 gives us the details that replace all the Mosaic Covenant holy days and sacrifices intended to represent to believers that sin separates them from God and that the death of a substitute was necessary to restore a believer to fellowship with God (the bubble of blessedness).  All of those Old Testament types are fulfilled and abolished in the New Covenant reality of the once for all finished redemption in the death, burial, resurrection, and glorification of Jesus the Christ. 

5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk {present, active, subjunctive} in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth {present, active, indicative} us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have {present, active, indicative} no sin {if we deny the principle that we are sinners by nature}, we deceive {present, active, indicative} ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess {present, active, subjunctive} our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned {if we deny the principle that we are sinners by actions, thoughts, and/or emotions}, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (I John 1:5-10).

I John 1:5-10 is about what is necessary for fellowship with God. These verses do not define what is necessary for salvation.  However, these few verses do articulate that we all need to be saved from the condemnation of death put upon us under the curse of God AND we need a Savior to deliver us from our own corrupt desires and emotions. 
The falsehood of Universalism exists because people do not understand Hebrews 2:16.  Verse 16 literally reads, “for a sure thing Jesus didn’t come to help the angels, but He gives help to the seed of Abraham.”  Specifically, He helps the seed of Abraham (the redeemed), not the seed of Adam (the condemned).  He died for the whole Human Race, but is High Priest only of the “household of faith” - those who have received the gift of redemption and have entered the bubble of blessedness through salvation.  The “help” Jesus gives is not to help people earn or keep salvation, for salvation is a gift.  The “help” Jesus gives is all that is necessary to live the Christ-life and be blessed within the bubble of blessedness in their “so great salvation.” 
          Why is this important?  First, Christ is not the High Priest of the human race, which He would be if this referred to Adam.  The reference to Abraham identifies Jesus Christ as High Priest of specific people.  “They which are of faith {born of faith} are the children {seed} of Abraham” (Galatians 3:7). 

7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham . . . 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ” (Galatians 3:7-9 and 16).

          The Mosaic Covenant was given ONLY to believers within the nation of Israel.  The Mosaic Covenant was never intended for the lost or for Gentile nations.  Granted, there were unbelievers who thought of themselves as believers within the nation of Israel just as there are unbelievers who think of themselves as believers within all local churches.  There were also Gentiles who became believers and submitted themselves to the Mosaic Covenant.  Within the Abrahamic Covenant was the promise of the “Seed, which is Christ” (Galatians 3:16).  Therefore, the promise of the availability of salvation was to “all nations” (Galatians 3:8). 

9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision {Jews} only, or upon the uncircumcision {Gentiles} also? for we say that faith was reckoned{logizomai is translated counted in vs. 3 and 5, reckoned vs. 4, 9, and 10, and  imputed in vs. 6, 8, 11, and 22-24} to Abraham for righteousness. 10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised” (Romans 4:9-12).

          The bubble of blessedness, now offered to the redeemed, extends to “whosoever” within the New Covenant.  In other words, no one needs become a Jew any longer to either be saved or live faithfully for the Lord. 

11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:11-13).

          The contextual continuity of the epistle to the Romans demands that we see Romans chapter ten in the light of three dominant truths already established from the earlier chapters:

1. God is universally propitiated for the sins of the whole world extending from the Adam’s fall to the end of time. 
2. This translates into universal provision of the free gift of salvation to “whoever shall call upon the Name of the LORD.”  Salvation is available to “whosoever.”
3. Although both of these two statements are true and should be universally applied, and although Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection is sufficient for the salvation of all, it is beneficial only to those who respond in faith according to God’s inspired directives of five verbs.

Ø Repentance from sin and “dead works”
Ø Believing the objective facts of the finished work of redemption as detailed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Ø Confessing Jesus as Jehovah
Ø Calling on the Name of Jesus as Jehovah to save
Ø Receiving Jesus Christ in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God. 

          Most people would not have any problem following the contextual continuity of the epistle to the Romans and the categorical theological establishment of the three statements above if it were not for the presuppositions of Calvinism and Reformed Theology that are imposed upon the epistle.  For the Calvinist, the word “whosoever” means whosoever of the elect.  For the Calvinist, when God says it is His will that all come to repentance and that all are saved, it means all who are elect.  For the Calvinist, God’s love for the world refers to two different kinds of grace. 

1. Common Grace (or Prevenient Grace) comes to all people.  This is basically defined as God temporally withholding his judgment upon sinners and the reprobate (those not chosen by God to be saved) allowing them the common blessings of life (“the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike”). According to the Calvinists, there is no hope of salvation for those not elected by God to be saved. According to the Calvinists, these people are pretemporally reprobate.

2. Irresistible Grace (or Efficacious Grace) comes only to the elect (those chosen by God to be saved).  In this position, God regenerates the elect at some unknown time before their salvation giving them the gift of repentance and faith in the Person of the Holy Spirit whereby the elect sinner will not be able to resist God’s grace and will at some unknown time in his/her life place faith in Jesus Christ and, because of this special working of God in the lives of the elect person, will ultimately persevere in the Christian life proving he/she is one of God’s elect (this is not the same as the doctrine of eternal security). 

          These two distortions of God’s grace flow from three other theological presuppositional aberrations of Calvinism and Reformed Theology imposed upon the interpretation of the whole Word of God.

1. Monothetism: the monothetic (one thesis or idea) definition of God’s sovereignty (whatever God wills to be done must ALWAYS be done or realized).
2. Determinism: God is the ultimate cause of all things thereby controlling all events in human history and in the future.  God can foretell the future, not just because of foreknowledge, but that God knows the future because God controls and causes all events in history.
3. Monergism: being saved is not based upon the will of an individual making a faith decision to trust Christ, but upon the sovereign will of God operating within (not upon) the elect prior to their salvation by regenerating them before salvation in order that they can believe. 

          Obviously, Galatians 3:7-16, Romans 4:9-12, and 10:11-13 establish an exclusive privilege of the redeemed and a complete contradiction against Unitarian Universalism.  The Bible teaches neither the universal Fatherhood of God nor the universal brotherhood of man.  The “children” of Hebrews 2:14, with which Christ is a “partaker” of flesh and blood, are those children “born again” of God “by grace . . . through faith.” 
In the context of the epistle to the Hebrews there is the absolute essential of moving out of the Mosaic Covenant bubble of blessedness into the New Covenant bubble of blessedness. The Levitical priesthood of Israel had corrupted the Law into a liturgical and sacrificial mess.  They replaced the Abrahamic Covenant of salvation by faith in the Substitute with a corruption of the Mosaic Covenant of religious “works” for salvation.  The first century Jewish Christians were being enticed to return to this corruption of the Mosaic Covenant in order to retain and maintain their salvation.  Even to be enticed by such nonsense manifests a complete misunderstanding of both the finished work of redemption in Christ Jesus and the misunderstanding of the advanced state of the believer’s spiritual existence within the new bubble of blessedness found within the New Covenant and Age of Grace. 
          An extension of this, helping us understand the miraculous mechanics of salvation, is found in Genesis 3:15.  According to I Timothy 2:14, it was the woman “who was deceived by Satan, not Adam.

“And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (I Timothy 2:14).

          Therefore, as we understand I Timothy 2:14, we understand why it was necessary that the “seed” of the woman “bruise the serpents head.”  Satan deceived Eve into sin.  Eve led Adam into sin and all the human race fell with Adam.  However, Adam was not deceived.  Adam disobeyed when he exercised his volitional to disobey God’s command.  The important point of Genesis 3:15 is that Christ was not born of Adam’s seed, but Eve’s. 
Why is this truth important?  This truth is important because the sin nature is passed seminally through the man.  Therefore, because that is true, it makes Christ Jesus both perfectly human and perfectly divine at the same time because He was born of a woman, but not man.  He is perfect God and perfect man.  To understand this we must understand and believe that Jesus was Perfect God before the incarnation.  Jesus became a perfect man in the incarnation. Because Jesus is a perfect man, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice for sin.  Because He is a perfect man, He became a perfect High Priest and a perfect Offerer of the perfect Offering for sin.  Therefore, the sinner is provided a perfect salvation as a GIFT from God.  This perfect GIFT cannot be earned or purchased.  It is offered ONLY as a GIFT of God’s grace.

6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).

          In the Garden of Eden, Satan stole something to which he had no right.  He stole mankind’s authority (dominion) over the Creation God had given Adam.  He did so by introducing sin into the human race through Adam.  When that happened, Satan seized the power of darkness in the world.  Once Satan had fallen, he had no authority in the Kingdom of light (then or today).  Within that power of darkness is the power of death.  The bubble of blessedness is a bubble of spiritual life and light within the realm of spiritual death and darkness.
          From that day forward, God has been restraining the forces of evil intent upon the absolute destruction and annihilation of humanity from the face of the earth.  If the forces of evil were left unrestrained, the forces of evil would use sickness, disease, the weather, and cataclysmic events to destroy humanity.  In fact, God’s judgments on the world during various periods of Earth’s history are merely Him releasing His restraints upon evil.  We will see God remove His restraint on evil again during the seven year Tribulation in God’s judgment of the nations. 

3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thessalonians 2:3-12).

          God, in the work of Calvary, used the power of death against Satan, because the power to hold a person in death was only over those who were in the realm of spiritual darkness.  Because Jesus never had a sin nature, Christ Jesus was never part of the realm of darkness (although He existed within it).  Therefore, He was able to be resurrected out from the realm of death.  Because He was resurrected and because He substitutionally paid the price of sin (which was death, Romans 6:23), He is also able to deliver anyone who desires to be delivered out of the bondage of the realm of darkness and the “fear of death” (Hebrews 2:15).
          Our “so great salvation” does not deliver us from the “realm of darkness” and “death” only to put us into a spiritual vacuum.  Salvation delivers the believer out of darkness and “from its power” into the Kingdom of light.  Today that Kingdom of light and life is found within the bubble of blessedness of the New Covenant known as the local church.  It is not that we are saved by joining the church, but that the first effect that is synchronous with salvation is that we are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Church (I Corinthians 12:13 – which is the first phase of the unfolding New Creation).  The physical manifestation intended to represent our understanding of our entrance into this new bubble of blessedness is water baptism accompanied by formally uniting with a local assembly of believers of like precious faith.  The local church exists because the physical reality should always portray the spiritual reality. I believe God does this because we need physical and empirical representations in order for us to understand spiritual realities and the responsibilities that accompany those realities.

12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:12-13).

          In the realm of darkness, death rules.  In the Kingdom of light, life rules.  According to Hebrews 2:14, Satan was literally put out of business.  He is in the death and destruction business.  The only realm Satan is still prince over is the realm of darkness and sin existing only over those who chose to continue living in the realm of sin, death, spiritual ignorance, disobedience, and the obfuscation of spiritual darkness.  This is why discipleship is a critical essential to every new believer in Jesus Christ and why God had ordained local churches (Ephesians 4:11-16). 
          This realm of darkness and sin is the only authority Satan presently has over fallen men and women who have not been saved or who have willfully rejected Christ.  As far as Christ our High Priest is concerned, Satan has been put out of business.  How has he been put out of the death business?  Satan was put out of the death business when Jesus Christ substitutionally satisfied God’s judgment on all sin on the Cross of Calvary.

31 Now is the judgment of this world {in His death at Calvary}, now shall the Prince of this world {Satan} be cast out {from is stolen position of authority}. 32 And I {Jesus}, if I be lifted up from the earth {resurrection from Calvary’s substitutionary death and judgment} will draw all men unto myself {into His Kingdom of light and out of the power of darkness}” (John 12:31-32).

          There on the Cross of Calvary, God the Father “laid on Him (Jesus the Son) the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).  Then, for the space of three hours, from noon to about three in the afternoon, God put the world into darkness and poured out His wrath on all iniquity upon His Son.  In doing so, Jesus’ substitutionary death propitiated (satisfied) and adjudicated God’s wrath providing God the righteous ability to justify believers by imparting to them the righteousness of Jesus in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:4).  This gift of salvation, and the impartation of the Spirit of God, moves all saved sinners into the realm of new possibilities in practical righteousness hitherto never known by fallen beings. It is this reality to which is referred by the phrase New Covenant bubbled of blessedness.  Why would anyone return to the old when the new exceeds it in unfathomable ways?

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (I Peter 2:24).

          According to Hebrews 2:17, “It behoved Him.”  In other words the incarnation was a necessity.  This physical identity with mankind in a human body and a human nature was the only way to accomplish this great victory over death.  The only way He could be our Savior was to become one of us.  The only way He could be able to be our Great High Priest was to grow up as one of us, live among us, and be tempted as we are tempted (Hebrews 4:14-16).  Christ our High Priest “offered up Himself.” Therefore, these truths are essential to our redemption.

22 By so much was Jesus made a surety {guarantee} of a better testament {covenant}. 23 And they {the Levitical High Priests} truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: 24 But this man {actually is referring to Jesus as a New High Priest after a different order of priesthood}, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 26 For such an high priest became {one of} us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. 28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore” (Hebrews 7:22-28).

          In the “offering of Himself,” Jesus made “reconciliation {Hebrews 2:17, literally propitiation} for the sins of the people.”  “Reconciliation” is from the Greek word hilaskomai (hil-as'-kom-ahee).  Propitiation refers to the thing necessary “pertaining to God” (v. 17) to satisfy God’s righteous demands in the execution of His wrath in condemnation of sinners to death.  In the epistle to the Hebrews alone there are twenty or more statements referring to our Lord’s propitiatory death.  The great reality of the doctrine of propitiation is that the believer is eternally mercy seated with our High Priest Christ Jesus. Because God’s justice is satisfied righteously, we can be justified righteously.
          Lastly, Christ is able to “succour” (to help; to come to the aid of those being tempted - Hebrews 2:18).  He knows what temptation is.  He knows temptation like no other man who ever lived.  There is only one difference.  Jesus was victorious over temptations to sin and He knows how to help us do the same.

13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry” (I Corinthians 10:13-14).

14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

          Our salvation includes so much more then fire insurance.  Do you have a temptation that you can’t get victory over?  Christ is there to help.  He wants to help.  He was identified with our death, with our sin, and with our temptation so that He can experientially understand our struggles in life.  There is no pain or no suffering that His pain and suffering has not exceeded.  What a great salvation! Are you neglecting it?

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Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.