Saturday, August 20, 2011

On Job

Hello Lurkers!
I have a new post at my other blog.  This may be a better location for it, but rather than  re-post it here, I'm just  providing the Link:

To my understanding, one of Job's purposes is to affirm God's justice.  God does not  play favorites, but His mercy is available to all.   The book of  Job also teaches that we can not know God's plan altogether, it often seems unjust, but we can trust Him regardless.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010


At my brother Bobby Grow's blog "Christianly" Here:
a commenter replied that Jesus could have understandably had errors in knowledge as a man, and prophet, and as such the scriptures also could have errors in  things that the redemptive engine does not directly hinge upon. 
The commenter also mentioned Jesus'  "inability to sin".  This is my chief complaint.  It is not the first, nor second time I've heard this concept.  If true, the implication is that Jesus really had no struggle to complete His mission: He was compelled along, all on the right paths.  He could have run headlong down live's paths like a horse galloping through a forest at night.  He would not fall into any pits, or  be clotheslined by any low limbs.   Not a care in the world.
 Here is my reply to that implication:

Hi Bobby and [commenter's name withheld]

Two things:

I imagine that Jesus, as a child would have been perfectly teachable, and as this is the Holy posture, would have retained this throughout His mission. He would have withheld judgement unless or until He had inerrant knowledge. We have learned often now to say, “I don’t know, I can give my best guess, but don’t hold me to that”. Is He not the perfect Judge? Sometimes, when Jesus was healing, He would say something like, “Your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more.” He must have had revelation from the Holy Spirit in most of these cases.

Speaking of the Holy Spirit: I have come to believe that Jesus as Son of Man was absolutely dependent moment to moment, upon the Holy Spirit, to successfully complete His mission, just as we would be if we would perfectly complete our misson.

Ken, I object to your words of Jesus’ “inability to sin”. It sounds deterministic, as if His life travelled a key way in a lockset, in which it is physically impossible for the key to vary to the left or the right. The key does not have to depend upon the operator to follow the key ways to complete it’s mission, as long as it is propelled forward. Jesus, in all ways tempted as are we, yet without sin, was capable moment to moment of “forgetting” His mission, or more accurately, overthrowing His mission, to have His own way. I surmise the instant this happened, Satan would have won. Jesus in some way always knew this, and so for the Love of God and for the Love of creation, knew He Had to be in the Spirit every single moment. When I reflect on this, it strikes me as, not deterministic, but impossible: impossible that He could complete His mission entirely without sin or error. But with God, all things are possible.

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I SIMPLY Can not believe how many trained theologians buy into the belief that God created men (most men at least) to eternally boil them in lava.  God, Father Son and Holy Spirit is not like that.
Those God predetermined to save are already functionally safely in.  All of the rest, were created for the express purpose of boiling in lava for eternity.  It is as if Jesus' sacrifice was not adequate to assuage GOD's wrath for man's sin.  So he withheld salvation from most of mankind so that the real wrath of god could be vented.  That's goodness imagined.

It's funny how the Lord, my Lord brings stuff up in the week to illustrate the point:
I have a new friend at work who is steeped in power anthropology:  "The people who rule the world are all about retaining power and keeping the little guy down."  I'm more concerned with what happens in my own sphere.  I told him:
"You know that saying  s--t rolls down hill?  [sorry reader for the vulgarity; it is germaine],  I'm convinced that it is part of the human condition to only care about the s--t if you are down hill of it.  If you are up hill of it, it won't roll onto you; then you care about different s--t, say middle class taxes, or hackers stealing your identity.  We have large boxes on pallets used for garbage.  Many full garbage bags will fit into one box.  Then some poor sucker has to empty the box.  If the box is full only of clean tied bags, no problem, one can empty the box hopefully without wearing any of the stuff.  If people just throw their loose debris and sweepings, soda cans etc into the box without a bag, someone is going to get poluted emptying the box.  That's o.k. as long as it ain't me.   It's part of the human condition, [and evidence of our lostness] to not care." 
So we show ourselves guilty as we judge the power brokers, as we wield a little power of our own.  By carrying that garbage another 10 feet, we can find a proper receptacle for it, and save another person getting filthy unnecessarily.  All the caterwallin' about Haiti, and you will not lift a finger to help your neighbor.

I do not expect to encounter that same attitude from my brothers and sisters in Christ:

"In Romans 9, God says we are all just like clay, and he is the potter, so if he wants to make me a vessel of honor and boil you in lava for eternity because you're guilty, then I guess that's tough luck for you.  PRAISE THE LORD I'M SAVED!"

You see, in his mind, he is up hill of the s--t.  It can not roll onto him so tra la la.

Or perhaps as in the case of some Christian workers, it is not tra la la, they genuinely love the lost  and work to see them saved.  Then they elevate themselves up above the God of their theology, because they love Esau, whom God has hated since before creation.  Is it unusual for someone to love a relative or neighbor who may never trust Christ?  It must be that God did not love that one?  How can his church have more love than God?

The easy answer is that this theology is rotten to the core.  It's core is not Jesus, as is supposed, but an "unmoved mover" "sovereign god" philosophy.  God recognizes the believers who believe in Him.  God does not recognize this vain philosophy.

Explain one passage to me:

"34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not."

Come on Jesus, aren't you sovereign God?  Just annuciate it, and it is so.  Believe Jerusalem!

Sorry, gentle reader, I assure you, I do not mock Jesus who hung on the cross for me, and every man woman and child ever born, so that they might be saved.  I mock the philosophy that says He did not.
I doubly mock the philosophy that says He died for all of us, but then only picks a few of us to actually receive that salvation.  It also occurs to me that among theologians, semi-pelagian and arminian are pejoratives.  The peer pressure is on to eshew all appearance of these -ians, even if one must make God look like a human cooking monster to do it. 

It's so sad, because the vicarious life of Christ holds such promise for the struggling Christian, but there is no-one left to develope it because they've all gone to watch the lava flows:

"There goes another one into the pit."
"Ooh there goes another one, did you see the look of surprise on his face?"
"That one has a beam jammed in his chest.  He must have come from Haiti."
"That one's still beating on his wife!  Too bad God didn't decide to save her at least."
"Ha! There goes one with his gin bottle.  Poor sucker, I'm sure thankful God opted to love me and save me from demon gin."

"Oh no, (shudder of horror) I think that was my brother......."

How abstract and inconsequential the dark side of our theology seems to us.

Really?  Love is optional to God? 

Thursday, November 19, 2009




HOW do I feel about the GOD who ostensibly created Creation with evil built in, populated by a people, who are sentient beings created in HIS priceless incomparable image, intimately acquainted with grief and pain, whom He designed and destined to fall in His Image, and has determined to punish, because of their fall, eternally, in unfathomable pain, without recourse or availability of relief from that God?   and how do I re-write this sentence shorter?

(Some moderate determinists may argue:  "A person can choose to Believe in Jesus Christ [or whatever their price for entry is], they just never have, and never will.")

Regardless, all are equally lost, condemned under the righteous Judgement of  The Sovereign God whose Sovereign will, no-one has ever resisted.

Unequal  JUSTICE Under GRACE

God has long since decided [human perspective, actually God has never decided, being omniscient, He has always eternally known what He would do] that a portion of the population of people created in HIS image should be chosen out of the others, to receive GRACE, God's unmerited favor, to save them for eternity.
The basis for HIS selection is, according to the determinist view, humanly unknown.  It could not be by lottery [they would argue], else GOD would not be Sovereign.  It could not be the impoverished and the rejected, else a large portion of the presumed elect of the reformed faith would be excluded, and there would be many more homeless, and disenfranchised, more slaves than Professors.  What is known, is that according to determinism, God has created two races of sentient beings:  One will be eternally condemned, the other eternally blessed.
It could have been the darker races were elect and the lighter races condemned, or visa versa,  who could find fault with GOD?  All were equally condemned, justly under the law, so if HE chose to have mercy on the Europeans to show HIMSELF merciful, who can find fault?  If humanity is to follow God by example, then two in the old south in the U.S.  (say, 1950's) could be convicted of murder.  The one of African decent could be promptly, justly, executed. The one of European decent could have his sentence commuted by the Governor and later be paroled.    If the Governor finding two men worthy to be condemned, is willing to have mercy on one,  who can find fault?

Then there is favoritism with God.
When I was little, my Mom's stepdad wanted to lavish his love and extravagance on one grandson.  My 2 older brothers were his first grandsons, so the oldest was chosen.
Mom did not go for that:  "If you can't love them both equally, then keep it".  Eventually, one of my younger cousins got the pony, and the favored sports attention etc.  We picked up a life lesson there.  "Johnny have I loved, and Billy have I hated" is not fair.  Actually, Grampa didn't hate us, we just did not garner his favor.  Neither was Esau literally hated, nor was the disparity in treatment without human cause (unless you are one of those rare biblical literalists: "unless a man hate his father and mother"...).  But the unelect are hated and sent to eternal perdition (according the determinist view).



I had been vexed by the questions in the first post recently, so I organized my thoughts as above. Wanting to do a Bible study, I did not wish to do a search and destroy mission around someone else's eons old prooftexts.
So having been studying Romans for my few students, I decided to go over Romans again.

Romans 1:16,17 For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power (dunamis) of God unto salvation to everyone that is regenerated, is elected, believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the Gospel revealed from faith to faith, as it is written the just shall live by regeneration faith.

Romans 2 v.5... of the Righteous Judgement of God. 6. Who will render to every man according to his deeds. 11. For there is no respect of persons with GOD. (ESV: God shows no partiallity)

Comment: Well now, that depends on how you define "respect of persons" (sorry, I only know how to work from the Dictionary of   Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible  Hendrickson Publishers):

PROSOPOLEPSIA -- Partiality, favoritism, respect of persons.

I may be pushing the edge here, but I think JESUS would say "My Mamma and my Abba taught me better than that."

So HE will render to every man equitably, and according to his deeds, either to condemn, or to pardon, unless there is some other measure.   I believe we already saw that measure in 1:16,17.

3:1-4 So what advantage does the Jew have? Chiefly , because to them have been committed the Word of God. ...For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the Faith of GOD without effect?

[What's missing here is Paul's explanation that only those Jews who were God's elect would get an effective call] God forbid! Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar, as it is written: "That you might be justified in your sayings...."

3:9-18 What then, are we [Jews] better than they? No Way! For we have already proved that Jews and Gentiles are both under sin. As it is written, "there is none righteous no not one". There is none who understands, there is none that seeks after God, they have all gone out of the way, they are all together unprofitable there is none that doeth good, no not one...... There is no fear of God before their eyes.
(It goes on. Often used as proof that persons can not, will not come to God.)

Question: Which of the items on the list is required for salvation? All are required if you're about justifying yourself.
How about Understanding? Who understands their salvation, Who even begins to grasp the depth of it at it's genesis? Is a depth of knowledge required?
"None seeks after God".  Are we required to seek after God? Jesus said "And I, If I be lifted up, will draw all men unto myself." This is a sufficiently effectual calling of all men, or else the crucifiction was ineffectual as a drawing agent and Jesus' prophecy failed. Nah Nah na Boo Boo! You can't stone Him!

Oh Look! V.20 What was Paul just talking about? Keeping the law! He appears to be arguing that Jews and gentiles alike are sinners.  Oh I agree with him there! Yes there is no-one in all the world who keeps the law. So God would have to regenerate them first, if they have to keep the law in order to be saved.  If that were true, then I would expect them to keep all of the above perfectly once regenerated:

V 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in HIS sight, for by the law is [only the] knowledge of sin.

V 21,22 But now the Righteousness of God without the law is manifested [to whom?] being witnessed by the law and the prophets [to all who read, or have been witnessed to of them].   (A prevenient call?)

Even the righteousness of GOD which is by Faith unto all and upon all that are elect are regenerated Believe. For there is no difference [in all of humanity, no race of regenerated or will be regenerated, no race of reprobate: all are reprobate, until they believe] For All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of GOD.  Being Justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is IN JESUS CHRIST...............

So, even though our natural man will not seek God, all natural men who sat in synagog or where-ever the law was read during the kingdom period, got an earful of the GOSPEL. Anyone who heard the story might have said: "Wait a minute, Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. How did he get such a sweet deal?"

v25 Whom God set forth to be a propitiation [NIV says "Sacrifice for our atonement] through faith in the election in HIS blood to declare HIS righteousness...

v26 to declare I say at this time His righteousness that HE might be just [a righteous judge, not playing favorites] and the justifier of him which believeth in JESUS.

v27 Where is boasting then? [Well, let me tell ya, according to Augustinians boasting is in believing, if it by itself, is salvific, then it is what you contribute to salvation, therefore you helped saved yourself. What does Paul say to this line of logic?:] Boasting is excluded. By what law? Of Works? Nay. But by the law of faith.

v28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Romans 4:1-3 So what about Abraham? [did he help save himself through belief?] For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before GOD. For what saith scripture? Abraham Believed God and it was accounted unto him for righteousness.

And it continues through Chapter 4. Again and Again and again in Romans, the central issue is BELIEF, not whether one was chosen to believe by God. Why is God hiding the truth? Why does He not tell us believers, "Look you believed because I made you believe." There is no doubt that He draws us and woos us and warns us, but He does not (as a norm) violate the will of someone who does not want to be saved .

So let us not forget the groundwork behind us, because we're strolling up to Romans 9.

Here's something to think about on our walk:  God has not chosen many rulers, nor many noble, nor many wise nor many learned (1Cor. 1:26).  Since few of us (except for the reformed divines to whom we continually resort for wisdom , and some monastic types) are Einsteins or Stephen Hawkins, it's probably good that HE designed His word to interpret the complex after the simple:  First the sincere milk of the word.   I think they call that analogia fide or analogy of faith.
I would also throw in some of the narrative approach (thanks Dr Jim Reitman) if I may try my hand, because picking a few verses out of chapter 9, or even a few paragraphs, does not a doctrine make.

Oh! Let's pause at the familiar passage of 8:28-33: and we know that all things work together for good to them that love God; to them that are called according to His purpose.
For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son [so] that He might be the firstborn amongst many brethren. Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also Called, and whom He called He also Justified, and whom He justified, He also Glorified.

So whom did He predestinate? Those whom He foreknew. I know I'll get objections. We'll study those as they come.

v.33 Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's Elect? It is God that justifieth.

Justified whom? Those whom He foreknew. Whom did He elect? Those whom He foreknew.

*               I N T E R M I S S I O N               *

ROMANS 911  9-11

We have already seen (1:16,17, 3:9-18,  etc) that a favorite theme for Paul in Romans, is the treatment of Israel or the Jew compared to the treatment of the Gentile, which we know from 1:16-17 that on an individual level, it is identical.  Chapter 9 opens with Paul bearing an oath that he could desire to be accursed himself from Christ on behalf of  "my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites...".
As far as I can discern, this topic continues all of the way to the end of Chapter 11.  The last specific reference to the Jew on topic is verses 26-31, which begins "So all Israel shall be saved..." and ends "Even so have these [Jews] also now not believed, that through your mercy, they also may obtain mercy."

So Paul seems to be explaining to Roman believers what has befallen the Nation of Israel regarding God's favor (Grace) compared with what has apparently now opened up to the gentiles. Why should this be treated as an inviolable revelation of how Sovereign God has Predestined whom to love and whom to hate?  We may not be able to defend scripture through scripture from spectral evidence. Neither could the accused "witches" of Salem. Neither will we ever expect "3 Sovereigns For Sara"* to come from the courts of the reformed.

So Paul has continual sorrow in his heart for his brethren, who are Israelites: to whom pertaineth the adoption and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the law and the service of GOD and the promises, whose are the fathers, and as of whom concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever, amen.
I'm finding the ESV* *more understandable through the next passage:
v. 6  But it is not as though the word [WORD?] of God has failed.  For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel....v. 8  This means that it is not the  children of  the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 
(Flash forward to Romans 9:30-32)  What shall we say then?  That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness,  did not succeed in reaching that law.  Why? Because they did not  pursue it by faith. but as it were, based on works.  
Once again, what is missing here is a  clear declaration that God made (chose) the one to believe, and chose the other to try to establish their own righteousness.
(Back to verse 10) And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by ...our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born, and had done nothing, either good or bad - in order that Gods purpose of election might continue, not because of works, but because of Him who calls - she was told "The older will serve the younger."  As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

Now in my continued attempt to prove what is not there:  When Jesus declares that "he who does not hate father and mother can not be my disciple", does He mean that we should wish our father and mother were damned?  Does He automatically mean that Jacob is elected to redemption and Heaven, and Esau is elected to be eternally condemned?  What does He offer for elaberation?  "The older will serve the younger"
Oh my!  So if God elected B.O. to be president, and J.Mc.. to serve him, then that means J.Mc. is going to hell?  Makes sense! .... But not eternal damnation!

v. 14-18 What shall we say then?  Is there injustice on God's part?  By no means!  For [because] He says to Moses "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.   So then, it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who has mercy.   For the scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up [to be pharaoh?] that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."  So He has mercy on whomever He wills, and the hardens whomever He wills.
v. 19-21 You will say to me then "Why does He still find fault?  For who can resist His will?  But who are you O man to answer back to God?  Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?"  [No, because a clay vessel is an inanimate, non sentient object.]  Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?  [Yeah, I work in a filthy manufacturing plant, at a back breaking pace for peanuts, another, makes millions writing comic strips called "Peanuts".  If that's what He's talking about honor/dishonor, I'm all for it.]
v. 22-24 What if God, desiring to show His wrath and to make known His power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of His glory for vessels of mercy, which He has prepared beforehand for glory -- even us whom He has called, not from the Jews only, but from the Gentiles?
Then v. 25  he quotes Hosea regarding making a people who "were not My people,... My people...".
so is he still talking about judging the nation of Israel and beginning a call for the Church?  I thought we were talking about electing individuals to be vessels of honor or dishonor?  O.k. let's stay with that.  He "has endured with much patience vessels of wrath, prepared for destruction."  What if these are ones God knew eternally without possibility of error would not trust Him; after all, how much patience is required to put up with something behaving as you designed it to behave?  What does patience here mean?  Maybe patience means He's known forever, that this guy Pharaoh would reject Him, and try to run things himself, so God gave him over to his own evil desires to allow him to fill up his cup of wrath and to use him to show His faithfulness to His chosen people.  Where have I heard that before?
He adds a quote from Isaiah that only a remnant of Israel out of multitudes, will be saved.
Let's return to Romans 9:30-32: What shall we say then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness, did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith. but as it were, based on works. 
And finally v. 33 KJV   As it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone, and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.


Paul stays on topic, expressing a prayer for Israel.
v.2,3 He says that Israel is zealous for God, but ignorantly, because they are ignorant of the Righteousness of GOD, they set upon establishing their own righteousness. 
So this is about the requirement for righteousness.
v. 4 For Christ is the end of righteousness to everyone that believeth
And so the passage continues through v. 12,13 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.  
For whomsoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
then v. 19 I will provoke [Israel] to jealousy, by them who are no people.  The three chapter theme of Israel vs. Greek continues.
But Paul ends the chapter quoting Isaiah "All day long I have stretched forth my hands  (ineffectual invitation?) unto a disobedient and gainsaying people."
So, from the determinist perspective, God invites the people of Israel all day long, every day, but not in sincerity, because if He really wanted them, He would have elected them.  The same for our Lord: 
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and you would not?    Matthew 23:37
Again, from Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible    Would: Greek etheleo is given a long definition which includes to choose, desire or will.
So Jesus, (Emmanuel, Son of Man), and the "children" of Jerusalem had conflicting wills.  "Why does He still find fault? For who can resist His will? (chapter 9:19-21).  Well, considering the conflicting wills at Jerusalem, who got what they wanted?


 I ask then, has GOD rejected His People?  By no means!... God has not rejected His people, whom He foreknew.  (ESV)
So throughout this chapter Paul illustrates God's intent to set Israel aside, "until the fulness of the gentiles be come in".  So much for the covenanter position of Church as the new Israel.  It helps if one reads and believes scripture.  If they are wrong on Israel, they could still be right on predestination.  Someone said "Even a stopped watch is right twice each day".  [Is this paragraph too harsh?  Let me know and I'll do something.]

v. 7,8  Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking [she could not have been seeking God or salvation, because that would be semi-pelagian, right?] the elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened.  As it is written, [c.f. Isaiah 29:10]"God has given them the spirit of drowsiness, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should  not hear "..
What was Israel seeking? Chapter 10:2,3  to establish their own righteousness.
Again, he continues with the Israel, Gentile tension, but curiously, never confuses, nor blends the two, nor redefines Israel as todays Church. 
v. 26 and so All Israel shall be saved.  When?  v. 25 when "the fulness of the gentiles [has] come in."

The chapters 9-11 language, about blinding, concerns national Israel, who is set aside during the Church age, until the fulness of the gentiles. It also specifically refers to individuals who are self-righteous. God reaches out to them effectually, to the point of not violating an individual's right of refusal ("I will not always strive with men").

I intentionally skipped v. 5, 6 until now to cover the chapter, speaking of the remnant of Israel according the Election of grace: And if it is by grace it is no more by works, otherwise Grace is not grace at all....
[my rendition] 
So what is grace without works? Chapter 4:1-5  If Abraham had whereof to glory, not before God.  For what saith the Scripture?  Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.   Now to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of Grace, but of debt.  But to him that worketh not, but believeth on HIM that justifies the ungodly, his FAITH is counted for RIGHTEOUSNESS.

HERE THEN Is My DECLARATION (for what it's worth):

 Soteriology according to the Apostle Paul in Romans and throughout his writings is a closed loop, a self-contained system, whose lines are clear:  RIGHTEOUSNESS connects to FAITH connects to GRACE connects to ELECTION connects to GRACE  connects to FAITH connects to RIGHTEOUSNESS imputed from GOD by FAITH IN THE GIFTER.

EPH 2:8,9 For By Grace you have been Saved through Faith.  And this is not your own doing; It is the Gift of God, not a result of works, so that no-one may boast [c. f. Romans 4:1-5].

God by Grace (God's unmerited favor) calls all to believe in Him.  Those who accept the invitation by Faith are Elected by sovereign GOD,  and by Grace (God's unmerited favor) His Righteousness is imputed to them.  Fallen humans are incapable of working any work unto salvation (lest any man should boast), but As established in chapter 4:1-5 faith is not a disqualifying work.  God's unmerited favor is in giving His righteousness and salvation (and a new identity and the Holy Spirit, hope of Heaven, and, and, and...)


Please Feel Free To Leave A Comment, Even If Just To Say "HI".

[Note especially for Bobby Grow and all:  I read Ron Frost's history and treatment of GRACE as you recommended, linked here:  Ron Frost on Grace
I am, of necessity, a wee bit of a driveway mechanic.  I interpretted the vehicle of Romans by examining the nuts and bolts of passages within the whole context of that vehicle, and the larger context of the mechanics of the Gospel in all of scripture (e.g. Eph 2:8,9 Matthew 23:37).  What you have written, and Ron wrote has been very helpful, and yet I don't yet know how all of these nuts and bolts fit in your vehicle.  I haven't done so yet, but I am afraid if I try to go back to reassemble the vehicle of Romans through the lens of Ron's Graceology I will be left with a lot of extra nuts and bolts and wondering "now where the heck was this supposed to go?, or why did we need this one?"
In your understanding, Our Redemption, and our Union with Christ rests only in Him.  He has completed the work, even believing on our behalf, which (if my understanding is correct) we can only reject.  Grace is not an object, something infused in us, nor some thing apropriated when we believe.  It is Jesus Christ the Son of Man full of GRACE and TRUTH.  I AM The WAY, The TRUTH and The LIFE.

Thank you for an awesome challenge!  I'm going to let this simmer until it begins to congeal. (mixing metaphors of mechanics with the culinary arts)]

I would like to continue in this study with Corithians, time permitting. 

*"Three Sovereigns for Sarah" a PBS miniseries (1985) about the Salem Massachusettes witchcraft trials.  The accusers used "spectral evidence" against Sara and her 2 sisters, both of whom were found guilty and hung.  The accusers' "evidence" was that the spirits of the accused came and vexed them, while the accused were physically at their daily tasks.  There was no way for the accused to defend themselves against such "evidence" if accepted.  Their reference used here, because we are trying to defend Scripture against doctrine that we believe was made up, out of the cloth of Plato, and then the gnostics.

**English Standard Version,  Crossway Bibles, 2005