Monday, February 2, 2015



The foreordained plan of God predestined before the world began that we would grow into the image of the Creator, into the true righteousness and holiness of God.

Evolutionary processes are associated with relatively slow and progressive changes over time that result in an increase in complexity and capacity for function that is favorable for survival and future positive development.  Evolution describes only a mechanism, which Christians search beyond.  Christians believe that the developmental goal of the universe, including our goal in particular, is to be perfect and complete -- like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:24).  Those who do not believe in God are left with randomness and aimless chance.

God's plan, for the creation to grow into Himself, was why the universe was made.  Evolution simply describes the process of change that God directed at the beginning.

The universe was made and set in motion (physical change with respect to time) to fulfill that plan.  These changes occur according to a preset order which we call "laws of nature."

God executes His will so that the plan has been, is being, and will be accomplished in His good pleasure and in accordance with His timing.  The changes can be described as evolutionary.  Note that evolution does not define God or His plan.  God defines evolution, because the plan of God came first.

The foreordained plan of God is His revelation to the universe.  There is nothing more important.  The plan of God is as important to us as God, Himself.  The foreordained plan is the Foundational and Unifying Law of the Universe.

Even though physical change may appear indistinguishable from a random process from a human perspective, it was created that way by design.  The foreordained plan of God is why the universe was created, why the physical substrate was formed, why humankind exists, why God interacted with people to the time of Christ, the coming and work of Christ, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, what we are supposed to doing, and what the single most important job of the church is to be.

When the church follows the will of God as laid out in His plan (Eph. 3:10) and is growing in love and unity into the full knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:12-16), the church will fulfill its role for existing, will beat down the gates of Hell (Matt. 26:18), and will overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:21). 

The extent to which the church does not follow the will of God as laid out in His plan, the church is on the wrong path, operating out of the flesh, pursuing idolatry, and destined to suffer the consequences of the physical law of entropy by the discipline of God. 

Execution of the foreordained plan of God must be the most important doctrine in the church and more important than any doctrine, interpretation, tradition, or institutional religion of human origin.  It is more important than human titles, positions, or names., buildings, measures of human physical accomplishment, cash flow, or any assurance of future earthly security.  Just verbal acknowledgement means nothing.

If we are within the will of God, our focus is only heavenward in Christ Jesus.  We only look forward, not backward.  We are becoming, not escaping from.  We are headed for, not leaving. We identify as saints headed for perfection in Christ, not sinners who are trying to do better.  The church, and those members who part of the kingdom of God, have already been declared perfect by the righteousness of Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:3-14).

We run the race with eyes on Jesus, casting off the entanglements of sin and leaving them behind (Rom. 12:1-2).  We help one another to realize our freedom in Christ, not reattach more rules to ourselves or others from our human interpretations.  This includes interpreted necessities of correct behavior for salvation or to maintain salvation.  This action reestablishes the Old Covenant and crucifies Christ all over again (Heb. 6:6), and those who do this return like a dog to its vomit (Prov. 26:14; 2 Peter 2:22).  Understand, this is very serious. 

When legalisms are imposed by the church, the church does not have eyes on Jesus for transformation into the likeness of God.

"Legalisms" include: anything that elevates what one person or group does and diminishes what another does based on a humanly contrived differentiation; anything that returns to a law of "have to" in order to avoid punishment; anything that establishes guilt and sin to set up the need for forgiveness and grace; any established protocol, steps, or rules to obtain salvation; any formation of hierarchies, castes, levels of importance or classes between people; any structuring of grades based on being pleasing to God based on human works.

Grace is the freedom to become like God, not the assumed freedom to choose to sin -- as if the consequences of disobedience were prevented by the grace of God. Holiness is not something to be pursued in itself -- it is Jesus Christ who is pursued, and it is we who are consequentially transformed by the Holy Spirit into the holiness of God. 

God has revealed Himself in Christ, but that revelation is incompletely known by us.  We have to continue to search, ask, seek, and knock so that we might discover the riches of Christ.  We do not stop and protect what we have discovered or copyright how our private interpretation of what has been discovered.  We do not compare between ourselves.  In unity of mind and purpose (Phil. 2:2), we help one another become more like God.

The church does not preach sin, or preach against sin, or place anyone under judgment or condemnation.  It is a particular affront to use intrinsic condemnation (i.e., the doctrine of depravity) as a toxic"straw man" to set up the need for the antidote of redemption in Christ.  That doctrine results from a lack of understanding of the foreordained plan of God.  The church's job is to live and show the image of Jesus Christ so that people will also want to become like Christ. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin (John 16:8-11).

We must understand that Rom. 8:1 - "there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus" - applies to everyone who will accept and begin transformation into the likeness of God.  The church must model what that transformation process looks like; the church does not condemn those who do not conform to church rules for salvation.  That is not the plan of God. 

Everything in scripture must first be interpreted in the context of the foreordained plan of God.  Each verse and event and story must be viewed in light of how much the people understood of the plan of God at that particular point in time and where God was taking them toward their future fulfillment of that plan.  This also applies to the New Testament - the mystery of the plan was revealed and explained so that the church could progressively implement the plan in the future.  What progress has been accomplished in 2000 years? 

The entire book of Ephesians seems to be related to explaining the foreordained plan of God.  Eph. 2:19-22 illustrates how we are to always look ahead and not behind - not behind to the Old Testament, when the plan was still a mystery, and not behind to the New Testament, in which the plan was completely revealed, but in foundational form, for the church to continue to discover and apply the revelation of God and plan for creation.  The New Testament provides a living foundation upon which the church should grow.  It does not describe a bunch of dead rocks upon which the church should camp out, maintain itself in controlled environmental comfort, and protect itself from doctrinal contamination.

Eph. 2:19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Since the correct interpretation of the Old Testament is not an isolated goal within itself, completely understanding its exact academic textual interpretation is immaterial as long as it points forward to fulfilling the plan of God.  That means a great number of subjects that Christians and other scholars debate about is of little real consequence to our purpose on earth and can waste time to the point of sin.  The importance of the subject of contention can become elevated by ambitious human competitiveness to an idol status.

Examples: Interpretations of Gen 1-3; creation and evolution (they are the same); origins; meaning of the Garden story, Adam and Eve being literal people; the Great Flood of Noah; Job; Jonah and the great fish, and many more.  We must understand first that it doesn't matter compared to what is really important.  The search for intellectual knowledge is not an end in itself - it must point toward a purpose.  It is a part of, but does not take the place of, becoming like God in accordance with His plan. 

Therefore, during the period before Christ, the foreordained plan of God was a mystery known only to God, until the time had fully come for the plan to go into the next phase (Gal. 4:4).  The physical substrate of the human body and brain had evolved until an overlay of social, political, and religious knowledge could evolve.  The plan of God can be recognized in the Old Testament through retrospective analysis, since after the plan was revealed, we know what to look for.  Jesus Christ provided the transition to the next phase of spiritual evolution, when the conditions of the previous phase of the plan had been met and the last age could begin.  Jesus revealed the plan by His life and through His teaching, although He had to speak in "code."  The power for the last phase of spiritual evolution came on the day of Pentecost, and the revelation of the plan was made known to the apostles.  This was the foundational teaching of the plan, revealed from God through Jesus Christ and then through His selected apostles.  The foundation of the plan was written in the New Testament, and the church is supposed to take the building process from there on into the future until Jesus comes again.

How does the church today compare to that described in Eph. 4:12-16 -- 2000 years after the foundation was completed for the fulfillment of the plan of God?  What kind of stewardship of the power of the Holy Spirit does God require of the church after 2000 years?  What kind of manager has the church been of God's resources?  Would Jesus give His church today a commendation or a reproof, based on the parables about the Kingdom of God?  

One of the messages from Gen. 1-3 is that God placed humankind as His representative in stewardship over the earth (Gen. 1:28).  The creation groans for the sons of God to be revealed (Rom. 8:18-23).  The creation was subjected to frustration (Rom. 8:20), and it is likely getting inpatient for the sons of God to quit arguing among themselves about how God made the physical universe in order to fulfill His plan and to get busy about revealing the glory of the Lord (2 Cor. 3:18).  How is God glorified when humans argue over their imperfect opinions instead of keeping their eyes on Jesus?  Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2), not of our human arguments for the self-recognized correctness of our doctrine. 
How does the church know it is being transformed into the likeness of Christ?  How do Christians know?  The world will notice and say something about it and see the love of the Father (John 17:23).  How have things been going with that?

(February 16, 2015)

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