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Doctrine of Grace Orientation

August 25, 2011

DOCTRINE OF GRACE ORIENTATION

A.  Introduction.
1.  There are seven propositions with regard to the subject of grace.
a.  God exists.
b.  God reveals Himself through the Canon of Scripture.
c.  God has a plan for your life.  If God reveals Himself, He also reveals a plan for Church Age believers specifically.  Your life was designed for invisible impact in five categories.  Nothing is more significant than your life as a believer.
d.  God’s plan is based on God’s policy.  God’s policy is always grace.  Grace is the system for the administration of God’s plan for the Church.
e.  The grace of God for the human race is divided into three categories.
(1)  Pre-salvation grace.  This is the work of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, being judged for our sins as our substitute.  This includes three things.
(a)  Common grace.  This is the work of God the Holy Spirit taking the spiritual phenomena of the gospel and presenting it to the mind of man as a reality.  The unbeliever is spiritually brain dead, so that God the Holy Spirit must make spiritual information understandable to spiritually dead mankind.  The unbeliever cannot understand the things of God, 1 Cor 2:9-16.
(b)  The divine call.  Having understood the issue of the gospel, to believe in the person and work of Christ, God now invites the unbeliever to believe what he has heard and understood.
(c)  Efficacious grace.  This is the work of God the Holy Spirit taking that faith alone in Christ alone and making it effective for salvation.
(2)  Salvation grace.  This includes the forty things that God gives us at the moment of salvation.
(3)  Post-salvation grace.
(a)  This is the more or greater grace of Jam 4:6.  Post-salvation grace is found in 1 Pet 5:12, “I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God.  Stand fast in it.”
(b)  There are distortions of grace.  2 Tim 2:1, “You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
(c)  Grace is the means of conveying the power of God to the life of the ordinary believer.  1 Pet 5:5-6, “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another.  ‘God makes war against the arrogant believer but gives grace to the humble believer.’  Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may promote you at the proper time.”  1 Cor 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.”  Eph 1:6, “To the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”
(d)  God always operates within some sphere.  In the plan of God for the Church Age believer, the sphere in which grace operates is union with Christ.  In Eph 2:7, this grace will continue in the eternal state, “That He might show us in the coming ages the surpassing riches of His grace in generosity toward us in Christ.”  Eph 6:24, “Grace be with all believers who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptibility.”  Loving the Lord with incorruptibility is a reference to occupation with Christ.  2 Thes 2:16, “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father who has loved us and given to us for our benefit eternal comfort and good confidence in the sphere of grace, comfort your hearts and strengthen you in all production and good doctrine.”
f.  The consistency of grace.  Consistent grace is the Church Age believer, saved by grace and living by grace.  God is consistent.  There is no legalism in salvation; therefore, there is no legalism in the Christian way of life.  Sooner or later, God takes every believer and brings them to the end of their human resources, making them totally dependent upon divine provision.  Acts 13:43, “Now when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and of the God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who began speaking to them and were urging them to continue in the grace of God.”
g.  Every believer owes both the salvation plan of God and the grace of God a hearing.  2 Pet 1:2, “Grace and tranquility be multiplied to you in the [epignosis] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”
2.  Definition and Description.
a.  Grace is all that God is free to do for mankind without compromising His divine essence.  Grace means favor, kindness, and mercy.
b.  Grace is free, unmerited favor and love from God alone, not from our works or because we are attractive to God.  God’s love comes in two categories for us.
(1)  God has impersonal love for the unbeliever in the status of spiritual death.  Jesus Christ had impersonal love for all mankind, when He went to the Cross and received the imputation of our sins.  God the Father had impersonal love when He imputed all of our sins to Christ and judged them.
(2)  God has personal love for the believer because the believer receives the imputed righteousness of God.
c.  Grace means that all things from God, including salvation by grace through faith, are received from God as a free gift totally apart from any form of human merit or any system of human works.  They are never merited or earned by mankind.  They never compromise divine essence or divine effort in bestowing blessing on mankind, Jn 1:12.
(1)  Grace is benefit from God totally a part of the work of God and totally apart from the works of mankind.  No one has ever been blessed by God because they tithe or because they are moral.  The Christian way of life is infinitely greater than morality.  Morality is a function of the energy of the flesh and is for the human race.  Morality is the result of self-determination; grace is the result of God’s determination.
(2)  The virtue mandated of the believer is infinitely greater than morality.  The inner life of virtue is not something we can do in ourselves; it is something that God has provided for us in grace.  He has given us the mystery doctrine of the Church Age, thoughts that have to be metabolized in the soul for motivation and a life far greater than the function of the energy of the flesh.
(3)  Anything an unbeliever can do is not the Christian way of life.  Morality can be accomplished by the unbeliever.  Morality is necessary for freedom in the human race.  The purpose of codex three of the Mosaic Law was to protect freedom, privacy, property, and life.
d.  Grace is the manifestation of God’s holiness, power, virtue, efficacy, mercy, compassion, indulgence, forbearance, pardon; unmerited favor based on the exclusive work of God.  Grace includes three categories of divine blessing from God.  Grace is unmerited favor and divine provision for mankind before, during, and after salvation.  Three categories of God’s grace include:
(1)  Pre-salvation grace which includes all that God is free to do for the spiritually dead person, that is, common grace, the divine call, and efficacious grace.
(2)  Salvation grace which includes all that God has accomplished to save spiritually dead mankind, that is, the saving work of Christ on the Cross, the judgment of God the Son by God the Father, the revelation of this message by God the Holy Spirit, and the forty things God does for us at salvation.
(3)  Post-salvation grace includes total divine provision of God for the fulfillment of His plan, His will, and His purpose for our lives.  Post-salvation grace includes all that God does for the believer totally apart from any human merit on the part of any Christian.
(a)  Post-salvation grace is described in Jam 4:6, “He keeps on giving greater grace.  Therefore, it says, ‘God makes war against the arrogant believer but gives grace to the humble believer.’”  Greater grace means greater than pre-salvation grace, greater than salvation grace.  It is the greatest grace of all.  Post-salvation grace includes more grace than anything else in life.  Jn 1:16, “From His fullness, we have all received even grace in exchange for grace.”  We have exchanged salvation grace for post-salvation grace.  If we are saved by grace, then we should live by grace.  Jn 1:17, “The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
(b)  The phrase “Grace for your benefit and peace from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ.” occurs many times in Scripture: 2 Cor 1:2; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2; Phil 1:2; Col 1:2; 1 Thes 1:1; 2 Thes 1:2.
(c)  2 Cor 6:1, “We also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain.”
(d)  Gal 2:21, “I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law (and it does not), then Christ died in vain.”
(e)  Eph 3:2, “Since you have heard about the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for your benefit.”
(f)  2 Thes 1:12, “In order that the person of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified by you and you by Him, on the basis of the grace of God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
(g)  2 Tim 2:1, “You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
(h)  1 Pet 5:5-6, “…clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God makes war against the arrogant believer, but gives grace to the humble believer.  Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may promote you at the proper time.”
(i)  1 Pet 5:12, “I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God.  Stand fast in it.”
(j)  Eph 1:6, “to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”
(k)  Eph 2:7, “that He might show you in the coming ages [millennium and eternal state] the surpassing riches of His grace in generosity toward us in Christ Jesus.”
(l)  Eph 6:24, “Grace be with you all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptibility.”
(m)  2 Thes 2:16-17, “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and has given to us eternal comfort and good of intrinsic value confidence in the sphere of grace, comfort your right lobes and strengthen yourselves in all production and good of intrinsic value doctrine.”
(n)  2 Pet 3:18, “But keep on growing in the sphere of grace and in the sphere of knowledge about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Glory to Him both now and to the day of eternity.  Amen.”
e.  Orientation is defined as doctrinal cognition of the believer, his true status in relationship to the plan, will, and purpose of God.
3.  Pre-Salvation and Salvation Grace.
a.   There are two categories of mankind who are the recipients of God’s grace policy.
(1)  God’s grace is extended to the unbeliever who is spiritually dead.  The unbeliever is under total depravity, total separation from God, and total helplessness to do anything to gain the approbation of God.
(2)  God’s grace is extended to believers in this dispensation through the protocol plan of God.
b.  Under the first category, grace is all that God is free to do for mankind on the basis of the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
c.  Under the second category, post-salvation grace is extended to every believer in Jesus Christ.  Under this category, grace is all that God is free to do for each Church Age believer without compromising His essence.
d.  Under the divine policy of grace, only the ability and power of God counts and meets the needs of helpless mankind in two categories:  spiritual death and as believers in Jesus Christ.
e.  God has found a way to save us, to give us eternal life, and God has found a way in His grace policy to help us in our helplessness as believers.  We never lose our helplessness.
f.  Under His grace policy, God does more than help us: He blesses us, He provides our needs, He provides life support, and He gives blessing to us whether we are winners or losers.
(1)  The same justice of God that judged our sins on the cross also sends blessing to the righteousness of God indwelling the believer, because he receives God’s righteousness at the moment he believes in Christ.
(2)  So the justice of God, one-half of divine integrity, sends blessing to the indwelling righteousness of God, the other half of divine integrity.
(3)  This is entirely grace; we do not earn or deserve any of it.
g.  Scripture.
(1)  Rom 5:8, “God demonstrates His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died as a substitute for us.”  The Greek preposition HUPER plus the genitive plural of advantage indicates that it is to our advantage that Christ became a substitute for us.  The greatest advantage we have ever had in life is that Jesus Christ became a substitute for us.
(2)  1 Pet 3:18, “Christ also died once for our sins, the righteous One as a substitute for the unrighteous ones, that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh but made alive by means of the Spirit.”  Even as unrighteous ones we have an advantage because we have a substitute–Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ brings us to God, not our commitment, baptism, works, or giving up anything.
(3)  1 Pet 2:24, “He [Jesus Christ] Himself carried our sins in His own body on the wood [Cross].”
(4)  2 Cor 5:21, “He who did not sin was made sin as a substitute for us.”
(5)  Gal 3:13, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law by means of becoming a curse as a substitute for us; for it stands written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on the wood [Cross].’”
h.  There are three reasons for faith alone in Christ alone for eternal salvation:  efficacious grace, the Greek word TETELESTAI, the direct statement of Scripture.
(1)  Efficacious Grace.
(a)  When the spiritually dead person responds to the divine call (or invitation to eternal salvation), he simply believes in Jesus Christ.  This is a thought in the soul of a spiritually dead person.  We are spiritually brain dead and are helpless to have a spiritual thought.  When you respond with faith in Christ to the divine call to believe in Christ, the grace of God the Holy Spirit takes faith in Christ and makes it effective for eternal salvation.
(b)  If you add anything to non-meritorious faith alone, then the Holy Spirit cannot make that faith effective for salvation.  If you add anything, it cancels your faith; you have contradicted the grace of God completely.  Many people are not saved because they have added some work to their faith.  If you add anything, you have rejected Christ as Savior.  God the Holy Spirit cannot make human works effective for salvation.  He cannot make your making Christ Lord or making a commitment for Christ or giving up something or any legalistic function effective for salvation.  We do not cooperate with God for our salvation; God provides it all by Himself.
(c)  The only thing we have that is compatible with the grace policy of God is faith alone in Christ alone.  The faith of the spiritually dead person indicates positive volition and non-meritorious function compatible with grace.
(d)  The Holy Spirit, in common grace, makes the gospel understandable to the spiritually dead person.  Then God the Father invites the spiritually dead person to believe in Christ.  Then the spiritually dead person believes in Christ for salvation.  Then God the Holy Spirit makes the spiritually dead person’s faith in Christ effective for salvation.  When works are added, the omnipotence of the Spirit does not cause faith to be effective for salvation, because divine omnipotence and human power are mutually exclusive.  Consequently, human works added to faith in Christ cancels faith; for human works is human power, which is rejected by grace.
(e)  The legalist tries to fit all believers into his own pattern and mode of thinking.  When the professed believer does not comply with the legalist’s erroneous ideas, the legalist is shocked, frustrated, and proclaims that the professed believer was really not saved in the first place.  The legalist says that the professed believer really was not saved because all he did was believe in Christ.  From this legalistic thinking comes the heresy and blasphemy that you have to believe and make a commitment, that you have to believe and feel sorry for your sins, that you have to make Christ Lord of all, that you have to believe and be baptized, that you have to believe and live a good moral life, that you have to believe and have an emotional experience, that you must feel saved, that you must come forward and make a public profession of your faith, or that you must invite Christ into your heart.
(2)  The Greek word TETELESTAI.
(a)  This word was uttered by our Lord on the Cross while He was still alive.  His physical death had nothing to do with our salvation.  When the last sin was judged, our Lord said, “It is finished.”  He was telling us that His work of substitutionary spiritual death–being judged for our sins–was finished.  Then He died physically and dismissed His soul and spirit from His body.  Christ did not die physically for our sins.  His physical death only meant that His work on earth during the Incarnation was finished.  When our Lord said TETELESTAI, He was speaking from His humanity.
(b)  Jn 19:30, “Therefore, when Jesus had received the wine, He said, ‘Finished in the past with the result that it stands finished forever.’  He pushed His head forward and delivered over His human spirit.”  This is the intensive perfect passive indicative of the verb TELEO, which means to achieve, to succeed, to complete, or to finish.
(3)  The direct statement of Scripture.  Grace is a gift from God.  Since it is a gift, it cannot be earned or deserved.
(a)  Jn 16:8-9, “And when He [the Holy Spirit] comes, He will convince the world concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me.”
(b)  Jn 3:15-16, 18, “Every one who believes in Me has eternal life.  For God loved the world so much that He gave His Son, the unique One, in order that any one who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  …He who believes in Him is not judged, but he who does not believe is judged already because he has not believed in the person of the uniquely born Son of God.”
(c)  Jn 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not believe shall not see life but the wrath of God abides on him.”
(d)  Jn 6:47, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has eternal life.”
(e)  Jn 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies.”
(f)  Jn 20:31, “These things are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you might have life through His name.”
(g)  Acts 16:31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.  And likewise, every one of your family [can do the same thing and be saved].”
(h)  Gal 3:26, “You are the sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
(i)  Gal 2:16, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law.”
(j)  Rom 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ because it is the power of God for salvation to every one who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.”
(k)  Rom 3:20-22, “Because by the works of the Law no flesh shall be justified in His sight; for through the Law is the knowledge of sin, but apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets [Old Testament], even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe.”
(l)  Rom 3:28, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the Law.”
(m)  Rom 4:4-5, “But to the one who works for salvation, his wages are not calculated on the basis of grace, they are calculated on the basis of debt.  But to him who does not work for salvation but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly [the spiritually dead person], his faith receives credit for righteousness.”
(n)  Rom 4:14, 16, “For if those who are by means of the Law heirs, then faith has been made void and the promises have been canceled.”  “For this reason, it is by means of faith, in order that it might be on the basis of grace.”
(o)  Rom 5:1,15,17, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we are jubilant in the hope of the glory of God.”  “But the free gift is not like the transgression.  For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.”  “For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through that one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through that One, Jesus Christ.”
(p)  Eph 2:8-9, “For by means of grace you have been saved [with the result that you remain saved forever] through faith; and this [concept of salvation by grace alone through faith] is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God; not from works, in order that no one may boast.”
(q)  Phil 3:9, “And may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ.”
(r)  2 Tim 3:15, “And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
(s)  2 Tim 2:11-13 teaches that we cannot lose our salvation, even if we deny our faith in Christ, “Faithful is the Word; for if we have died with Christ [and we have], we shall also live with Christ.  If we endure, we shall reign with Him.  If we deny Him, He will also deny us [blessing in eternity].  If we do not believe [faith-rest], He remains faithful, He cannot deny Himself.”  The Father, Son, and Spirit cannot deny us because they dwell in us as of the moment of salvation.
(t)  1 Jn 5:11-13, “This is the deposition that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has this life.  He who does not have the Son does not have this life.  These things I have written to you who believe in the person of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.”
(u)  Jn 1:12, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the sons of God, even to those who believe in His name.”
(v)  Eph 1:6-7, “Resulting in the praise of the glory of His grace, by which [grace] He has graced us out in the Beloved.  In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, on the basis of the riches of His grace.”
(w)  2 Tim 1:8-9, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me His prisoner; but join with me in suffering with reference to the gospel on the basis of the power of God, who saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.”
(x)  Heb 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than angels for the sake of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that He by the grace of God might taste death as a substitute for all of us.”
4.  Post-salvation Grace.
a.  Under the grace policy, all believers are mandated to grace orientation.  1 Pet 5:12, “I have written you briefly, exhorting and testifying, that this is the true grace of God.  Stand fast in it.”  We are to stand fast in grace orientation.  We are not to be confused by legalism or impressed with our works.  We are to stand fast in grace.
b.  The believer who fails to execute the command to “stand fast in grace” is described in terms of God’s grace policy in three ways.
(1)  In Heb 12:15, such a believer “comes short of the grace of God.”
(2)  In 2 Cor 6:1, such a believer “receives the grace of God in vain.”
(3)  In Gal 2:21, such a believer “nullifies the grace of God.”
c.  The Church Age is the dispensation of the grace of God.  Eph 3:2, “Inasmuch as you have heard about the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for your benefit.”  Never before in human history has the grace policy of God provided so much for the ordinary believer.  Never has the ordinary believer been so benefitted by living in the Church Age and believing in Jesus Christ.
5.  The Precedence for Grace–The Dispensation of the Hypostatic Union.
a.  God has a plan for your life which is called the protocol plan of God.  Its policy is grace.  Precedence for the Christian way of life during the Church Age originated from the modus vivendi and modus operandi of the humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union.  During the First Advent, the humanity of Christ pioneered for the Church Age believer the function of the three spiritual skills.
(1)  Our Lord’s humanity did not depend on His deity but upon the filling of the Spirit, Heb 9:14; Isa 11:2, 42:1; Jn 3:34; Lk 4:14; Mt 12:28.
(2)  Metabolized doctrine circulating in the stream of consciousness of our Lord Jesus Christ was the second spiritual skill.  Jn 1:14 says He was full of doctrine.  He pioneered such problem solving devices as grace orientation, Jn 1:14, 16; doctrinal orientation, Jn 1:14; sharing the happiness of God, Jn 15:11; occupation with Christ, Heb 12:2.  There is no problem or difficulty too great for the problem solving devices to be able to handle.
(3)  Our Lord’s humanity executed God the Father’s plan for the humanity of Christ during the Incarnation by remaining totally sinless, and therefore qualified to bear the judgment for our sins, and then by going to the Cross and bearing the sins of the world as a substitute for us.
b.  The precedence for this grace policy is the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union.  Jn 1:14, “The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us, and we saw His glory as of the uniquely-born One from the Father, full of grace and truth [doctrine].”
(1)  In the Old Testament, the Lord Jesus Christ as the Shekinah Glory dwelt between the cherubs in the Tabernacle, a guarantee of blessing to Israel.
(2)  Now He is a guarantee of blessing to the Church as He tabernacles among us by indwelling us.  God the Holy Spirit indwells us to provide a temple for the indwelling of Christ.
(3)  Only those believers with metabolized doctrine circulating in the seven compartments of the right lobe of the soul through the filling of the Spirit saw the glory of Christ during His Hypostatic Union.
(4).  Our Lord Jesus Christ had grace orientation on the FLOT line of His soul as a problem solving device.  He also had doctrinal orientation on the FLOT line of His soul as a problem solving device.
c.  Jn 1:16, “For out from His fullness we have all received even grace [post-salvation grace] in exchange for grace [salvation grace].”
(1)  The function of the spiritual skills are the fullness of Christ.  This is a direct statement of precedence for the origination and the source of the unique spiritual life of every believer of the Church Age.  The function of the humanity of Christ in Hypostatic Union is the source of the spiritual life for every Church Age believer.  We take our precedence for the spiritual life from the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union.
(2)  We have all received our portfolio of invisible assets the moment we believed in Christ, and there is no exception.  If you are negative toward Bible doctrine, there is no one in the world, no counselor who can help you.
(3)  The preposition ANTI plus the ablative of exchange from the Greek noun CHARIS means “grace in exchange for grace.”  The first use of the word CHARIS refers to post-salvation grace.  The second use of the word CHARIS refers to the grace we received at salvation.
(4)  Our first cognition of the grace of God occurred when we understood that Jesus Christ became true humanity for the purpose of going to the cross, in order to become our substitute in being judged for our sins.  The substitutionary spiritual death of Christ on the cross is where grace begins for us.  As the perfect God-man, Jesus Christ became our Savior.  This was why He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes unto the Father but by Me.”
(5)  We did not earn or deserve this wonderful salvation that our Lord Jesus Christ provided for us.  In response to what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross, we believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life; for believing is compatible with grace since it is a non-meritorious system of perception.  Eph 2:8-9, “For by grace are you saved through faith, and that [salvation] is not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”
(6)  So the first grace we received was pre-salvation grace.  When we were spiritually dead, totally helpless, and unable to do anything about it, the Holy Spirit made the gospel clear to us.  Then, when we believed in Christ, the Holy Spirit made our faith effective for salvation.  At that moment, God did forty things in salvation grace.
(7)  Salvation by grace through faith demands the continuation of post-salvation grace for spiritual growth, 2 Pet 3:18.
6.  Biblical Illustrations of Grace Versus Legalism During the Dispensation of the Hypostatic Union.
a.  The precedent case is the woman taken in adultery, Jn 8:3-11, “Now the scribes and the Pharisees arrested a woman seized violently in the act of adultery, and forcing her to stand before the crowd, they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman was seized in the very act of adultery.  Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such a woman; You there, what do You say?’  And they kept on repeating this, and they persisted in testing Him, that they might have a basis for accusing Him.  But Jesus bent down, and started to write on the ground with His finger.  But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him be the first one to throw a stone at her.’  And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground.  And when they heard this statement, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the leaders, finally He was left alone with the woman standing before Him.  Then Jesus stood up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they?  Did no one condemn you?’  Then she replied, ‘No one, Lord.’  And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go your way.  From now on sin no more [in this area].’”
(1)  This case condemns all precedence for arrogance, legalism, and activism.
(2)  The scribes and the Pharisees were officers of the Jewish supreme court, the Sanhedrin.  They were both lawyers and the religious leaders of the land.  They represent religious self-righteousness and the arrogance skills.  They are comparable to the Christian activists of today.  The witnesses in this case were the judges of the supreme court of Israel.  The lawyers spied on the woman, followed her around, violated her privacy and then arrested her.  As members of the court, they should not even have been involved in her arrest.
(3)  The Hebrew word Rabbi means “teacher.”  They say this in sarcasm, ridicule, and rejection of Christ.  In contrast, this woman had already become a believer.
(4)  They are quoting to the humanity of Christ what the deity of Christ had dictated to Moses on Mt. Sinai, when He gave him the Law.  They are telling the One who commanded Moses.  They are antagonistic and disrespectful toward our Lord.  They are activists, evil, and really want to trap, discredit, and destroy the ministry of our Lord.  They ended up destroying their own nation.
(a)  What punishment did the Law demand?  Dt 22:22-27 gives us four categories.  If a man commits adultery with a married woman, both shall die, verse 22.  If a man fornicates with a woman or commits adultery with a married woman, both the man and the woman shall die, verse 23-24.  If a man rapes a woman, then only the man shall die.  If a man seduces a virgin, and they are discovered, the guilty man will pay a fine to her father and then marry her.
(b)  Notice that the man is always emphasized and there is male involvement.  But the officers of the court did not bring the guilty man before our Lord.  The man is just as guilty, if not more so as the initiator.  Because only the woman was brought before Jesus, this appears to be a case of conspiracy against the woman.  The judges of the Sanhedrin have themselves violated the Law by indicting the woman and not the man and are guilty of the sins of arrogance, which are far worse than anything the woman has done.  The Sanhedrin was prejudiced against this woman.  The law is no greater than those who administer it.
(5)  Jesus could not condemn the woman without condoning the evils of religious activism.  They want Jesus to say she is guilty so they can bring a blasphemy charge against Him and stone both of them at the same time.  Our Lord isolated himself from religious activism.  He gave the Sanhedrin the silent treatment, which condemned them.  Jesus had no intention of condoning their evil and joining their activism against the woman.  What Jesus wrote on the ground with His finger is not the issue in this passage and beside the point.  We do not know what He wrote.  It is not important.  It was an act of divorcing or isolating Himself from these legalists and religious activism.  Jesus could not condemn the woman as they wished without condoning the greater evil and sinfulness of religious activism.  Grace and activism are mutually exclusive.
(6)  Our Lord spoke to present the higher issue related to the spiritual life and the objective: to avoid activism, civil disobedience, crusading.  The fulfilling of the protocol plan of God for the Church is far greater than any system of whitewashing the devil’s world, such as Christian activism.  It was the Jewish law that the chief witnesses against the accused had to be the first ones to throw the stones to stone the accused to death.  In this way, witnesses in court took the responsibility for their testimony in court and what they had seen.  The law is no greater than those who administer the law.  While Jesus does not condone the woman’s sin of adultery, neither does He condone the greater sins of legalism and activism.
(a)  Religious activism is manifested always by the use of the arrogance skills (self-justification, self-deception, self-absorption).  Religious activism uses the arrogance skills to justify self, deceive self, and become preoccupied with self.
(b)  There is nothing wrong with the Mosaic Law, but there is something terribly wrong with those administering it.  Jesus calls these judges of the Sanhedrin hypocrites in Mt 23:14, 16, 23, 25, 27, 39.  Hypocrisy reaches its peak in the function of the arrogance skills.  Mt 23:27, “Woe to you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites.  For you are like white-washed tombs, which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and uncleanness.”
(c)  There never was any grace orientation in the function of religious activists during the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union, nor will there be any grace orientation by religious activists during the dispensation of grace (the Church Age).
(d)  The religious activists sought to destroy our Lord’s ministry.
(e)  The mandate of the word of God during the Church Age is to use the spiritual skills to execute the protocol plan of God and not to enter into Christian activism, 2 Pet 3:18.
(f)  Religious activists used the law as an instrument to attempt to destroy our Lord’s ministry, to discredit, to malign, to judge, to create a public lie about the impeccable Person of the humanity of Christ.  They used the guilty woman as the bait in the trap, the evil motivation to discredit both the living Word–Jesus Christ–and the written word.
(g)  Only Jesus Christ was qualified to throw a stone.  He was a witness to this act of adultery in eternity past as omniscient God.  He was without sin in His perfect impeccable humanity.
(7)  The woman called Him “Lord.”  She was a believer and recognized Jesus as her God and Savior.  1 Cor 12:3 says no one can call Jesus “Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.  The arrogant officers of the court only called Him “Teacher.”
(8)  Our Lord did not condemn her because of the divine policy of grace.  He commands her to stop sinning in this category of sins.  It does not imply sinless perfection, but another area of sin overcome by the function of the spiritual skills.  For the positive believer, God’s grace policy is a greater deterrent than the condemnation of legalism.  People respond to grace, but react to legalism.  The grace policy of our Lord provides a far greater self-motivation to resist temptation than the fear and guilt function of the emotional complex of sins.
(9)  This woman would shortly live in the dispensation of the Church.  Her death would have cut her off from the opportunity of self-determination related to rebound to recover her fellowship with God along with other believers when the Church Age began.  This would deprive the woman of her equal opportunity and equal privilege to execute the protocol plan of God.
(10)  This passage is definitely a part of the word of God.  This passage is not found in Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and was apparently removed from Codex A and C.  It is found in Codex D; Codex 225 places it after Jn 7:36; another places it after Jn 7:44.  Jerome says that in his day it was contained in many of the Greek and Latin manuscripts.  Augustine said, “This text was thrown out by enemies or weak believers from fear that it might encourage their wives to infidelity.” tract 33.  This passage was omitted in some manuscripts as an attack on grace.
(a)  The story could not have been invented, as it runs contrary to the ascetic and legalistic tendencies of the ancient Church, which could not appreciate it.  Legalism lives in fear that a grace passage of Scripture will somehow corrupt believers.  For example, 1 Jn 1:8-10 is not liked by legalists.
(b)  Because of the function of the arrogance skills, legalism cannot stand or appreciate grace in any form of the grace orientation concept.  Grace teaching and grace orientation attack self-justification.  Self-justification rejects grace, resulting in self-deception.  Self-deception results in self-absorption, causing pseudo works and Christian activism, which is dead works and evil.
(c)  The arrogance of legalism cannot stand the grace policy of God and is, therefore, distracted from the protocol plan of God.  Therefore, legalism lives in fear that grace will somehow corrupt believers. But the legalist Christians are actually the corrupted ones.
b.  Jesus and The Prostitute in Lk 7:36-50.  “Now one of the Pharisees kept asking Him to dine with him.  And He entered the Pharisee’s house, and reclined at the table.  And behold, there was a woman in the city who was a prostitute; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet, and anointing them with the perfume.  Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet [but he is not], He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, because she is a prostitute.’  And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’  And he replied, ‘Say it, Teacher.’  ‘A certain moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii [a Roman silver coin worth one day’s wages], and the other fifty.  When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both.  Which of them therefore will love him more?’  Simon replied and said, ‘I suppose the one whom he forgave more.’  Then He said to him, ‘You have judged correctly.’  Then turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman?  I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair.  You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not stopped kissing My feet.  You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume.  For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, because she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.’  Then He said to her, ‘Your sins have been forgiven.’  And those who were reclining at the table with Him began to think to themselves, ‘Who is this person who even forgives sins?’  Then He said face-to-face with the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’”
(1)  This incident is not the same as the incident in Jn 12:1-8, when Mary anointed the feet of Jesus in the house of Lazarus.  Nor is it the same incident as occurred in Simon the Leper, when an unknown woman anointed the head of Jesus, Mt 26:6-13; Mk 14:1-3.
(2)  This Pharisee was not hostile, but a user.  He wanted to use Jesus to gain some sort of power with the crowds following Jesus.  Legalistic people are always users.  They use people and discard them when done with them.  It is interesting to note that the Pharisee held the banquet Roman style.
(3)  This prostitute had been following Jesus, become a believer, and wanted to give something back to the Lord for what He had given her.  Her weeping was a gentle, continuous weeping.  She had fantastic humility and was very feminine.  There is no grace orientation without humility.  She had bought the cheapest perfume, which indicates that she was probably no longer working as a prostitute.
(4)  The Pharisee thought to himself that Jesus could not possibly be a prophet, since He let such a person touch Him.  He thinks she is doing something terribly wrong.  However, she is doing nothing wrong.  Legalistic people always make wrong assumptions because all of their thinking is based on self-justification, self-deception, and self-absorption.  Jesus was a prophet and a king-priest after the order of Melchizedek.  Jesus read the Pharisees’ thoughts and answers his thoughts with a parable.
(5)  Simon had bored indifference to the parable.  Simon’s answer condemned himself.  Jesus turned his back on Simon and spoke to Simon.  Jesus did not make an issue out of her former prostitution.  The issue was who followed good manners, the aristocratic Pharisee or the former prostitute?  She had class; Simon was a jerk.  A kiss was a customary welcome or greeting.  She knew the right thing to do and did it.
(6)  The moment the prostitute believed in Christ, her sins were forgiven forever.  She loved Jesus a lot, but Simon never got around to loving Jesus.  When Jesus told her that her sin had been forgiven, He used the Doric Greek form of the verb, indicating that she is already a winner spiritually.
(7)  The rest of the people at the banquet were negative to the gospel along with Simon.  They had the same opportunity to believe as she did.  The perfect tense of the Greek verb SOZO (to save) not only indicates eternal security but also self-motivation to continue her spiritual growth.  We have been saved by grace through faith; let us continue to live by grace through the function of the spiritual skills.
(8)  So that she would not be harmed, Jesus gave her a command to go.  Negative, arrogant, legalistic people are dangerous.  There was harmony between her developing capacity righteousness and divine blessing.
c.  Our Lord’s association with tax-collectors and prostitutes made an issue out of grace.
(1)  Mt 9:10-11, “And it came to pass that as He was reclining at a table in a house, behold many publicans and sinners came and joined Jesus and His disciples at the table.  And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with the tax-collectors and prostitutes?”
(2)  Mk 2:16, “And when the Scribes and the Pharisees saw that He was eating with prostitutes and tax-collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax-collectors and prostitutes?”
(3)  Mt 11:19, “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a wine-gulper, a friend of the tax-collectors and prostitutes!’  Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”  The Pharisees and scribes are an example of vituperation and vilification, creating a public lie about the only perfect person who ever remained so on this earth.  They could not discredit Him, so they lied about Him.  Our Lord ate food, but was not gluttonous.  They did not call Him a drunkard, since they could never find Him drunk.  So they compromised and called Him a wine-gulper.  Everyone drank wine in the ancient world.
(4)  Mt 21:32, “For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax-collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him.”  Rarely did a religious person believe in Christ during the Incarnation.
(5)  Lk 15:1-2, “Now all the tax-collectors and the prostitutes were coming near Him to listen to Him.  And both Pharisees and scribes were constantly complaining about it, and they said, ‘This man constantly welcomes prostitutes and dines with them.’”
d.  The Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, Lk 18:9-14.
(1)  “Then He also spoke this parable face-to-face with certain ones who had trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and regarded others with contempt: ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-collector.  The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself in this way, “O God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, evil doers, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector.  I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.”  But the tax-collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but he kept striking his chest, saying, “O God, be propitiated toward me, the sinner that I am!”  I say to you, this man went down to his home having been justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.’”
(2)  One of the big thrusts of psychology is “to trust in you.”  They call it self-esteem.  It is part of the modus operandi of the arrogance skills.  It is very subtle arrogance.  Once you are born again, you can forget all about human self-esteem.  We are totally dependent on the Lord Jesus Christ and absolutely not trusting in yourself.  Trusting in yourself is human viewpoint.  Your personal sense of destiny is your spiritual self-esteem and is far, far greater than human self-esteem.  There are no weaknesses in God’s plan; all of the weaknesses are in us.  Therefore, the importance of humility, not self-esteem.  You do not need human self-esteem; you need humility and doctrine circulating in your soul.  You need to depend on what God has provided.
(3)  A publican was a tax-collector.
(a)  Publican was a dirty word.  The publican was employed for a tax contractor.  The ARCHITELONES was a chief tax-collector or publican.  The other type of tax-collector was a TELONES.  The chief-publicans were Romans and hated by all patriotic Jews.  The chief publicans were contracted by the Senate to collect money from their district.  If he were a Roman, he was already a loser back in Rome, and sent to Judea to try and make his fortune.  They hired Jews to work for them collecting taxes, who were equally hated.  Whatever they could collect beyond what was required in taxes, they could keep in their own pocket.  The word publican became a bad word.  The actual publicans were divided into two categories: the GABBI were those who collected general taxes, like income tax; the MOKHSA were those who collected taxes on imports, exports, road taxes, bridge taxes, harbor taxes, town taxes, pack animal taxes, axil taxes.  Taxes were a terrible burden on the people and the economy.
(b)  The publicans were despised and hated as a class of people, so that their unpopularity was only exceeded by the Pharisee and scribe hatred of the prostitutes.  Prostitutes were hated by the wives, scribes, Pharisees, and others because they were users.  Users were men, including scribes and Pharisees, who relieved their sexual tensions with prostitutes, and then, in the function of self-justification, excused their evil with the arrogance skills.  The religious crowd were users.  The publicans were out to steal money.  The publican was generally a loser at home, who came to Israel as a renegade, managing an arbitrary tax system to extort money and make his fortune by collecting taxes.  If he was a Jew, he was despised as a traitor to his country and an enemy of the people.
(4)  This parable illustrates a condemnation of the modus operandi of the arrogance skills.  To maintain their position, the Pharisees practiced every form of evil from religious activism, hypocrisy, self-justification, self-deception, and self-absorption to tyranny.  To protect your self-justification you must deceive yourself by denying your own flaws and projecting them on others.  This is self-deception and was practiced by the scribes and Pharisees.  In his self-righteous arrogance and self-justification, the Pharisee assumes in self-deception that God is impressed with his works.  He has created a role model out of himself, and he assumes that God agrees with him.  The Pharisee was a religious man only trying to impress God with how good he was.  The tax-collector was a humble man, who recognized his need for eternal salvation.
(5)  The publican in the parable could have been either a Roman proselyte or a Jew.  He was probably a Jew because he was going into the Temple.  The Pharisee was not going to pray to God about his needs or pray for others, but he is going to tell God how good he is.  The Pharisee’s self-deception was that he thought that he was not a sinner like other people.  Self-deception results in denial and projection, malice, vilification, revenge, bitterness, implacability, hatred, and self-pity.  The arrogance skills all start to work together in religious activism.
(6)  Notice that the tax-collectors and the prostitutes did not criticize our Lord for dining with the self-righteous religious Pharisees and scribes, but the scribes and Pharisees criticized Him just as soon as He dined with the tax-collectors and the prostitutes.  The Pharisees are users.  Users despise both those whom they use and those with any power or authority over them.  When people gain power and try to keep power which is not legitimately theirs, it is inevitable that they will produce a maximum amount of evil and confusion.  This is what the Pharisees were doing.
(7)  The Pharisee is maligning the tax-collector for being a tax-collector while he is telling God how good he is about paying his taxes under the Mosaic Law.  We superimpose on God our false values as a part of the function of the arrogance skills.  He is saying that he never cheats on his income tax.
(8)  The tax-collector was positive at God consciousness; the Pharisee was negative.  The tax-collector had genuine humility.  He came to God with nothing but his own need to be saved and helplessness to do anything about it.
(9)  The aorist passive imperative of the Greek verb HILASKOMAI means to be merciful, gracious, or propitious.  The tax-collector is asking for a propitious sacrifice which will satisfy God the Father regarding its efficacy.  Here is Jesus Christ presenting the gospel in the most fantastic way to religious activism.  The tax-collector is saying, “There must be a sacrifice which satisfies God and I can trust in that sacrifice.”  God can only be gracious if there is a perfect sacrifice which is propitious.  God the Father is absolutely satisfied and pleased with the work of Jesus Christ, bearing our sins on the cross.  If God the Father was not satisfied with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, there would be no salvation.  He is the only sacrifice that satisfied the Father, Heb 2:17, “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”  The statement of the tax-collector anticipates the salvation work of Jesus Christ on the cross in some manner.  He knew and understood the Levitical sacrifices.
(a)  There are two Levitical offerings related to the propitious sacrifice of Christ for our sins: the burnt offering of Lev 1:1ff (this teaches propitiation with emphasis on the salvation work of Jesus Christ), the food or grain offering of Lev 2:1ff (this teaches propitiation with emphasis on the impeccability of the humanity of Christ which qualifies Him to be judged for the sins of the world).
(b)  Propitiation addressed to the entire human race is found in 1 Jn 2:2, “and He Himself is a propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the entire world.”  Propitiation addressed to believers is found in 1 Jn 4:10 and Eph 5:2, “and begin walking in the sphere of virtue-love, just as Christ also loved you, and delivered Himself over as a substitute for us, an offering [food offering of Lev 2–propitiation with emphasis on the person of Christ] and a sacrifice [propitiation with emphasis on the burnt offering of Lev 1–work of Christ] to God as an order of fragrance [propitiation].”
(10)  The tax-collector refers to himself as “the sinner that I am.”  The definite article takes this man’s sins and separates them from everyone else’s.  What a contrast between the Pharisee’s attitude of arrogance and the tax-collector’s attitude of humility.
(a)  When the tax-collector entered the Temple, he did not demand the impossible from God–that God be propitious toward him because of a perfect sacrifice for sin, but the Pharisee demanded the impossible–that he be saved by means of his works.
(b)  The tax-collector recognized the grace of God extended to him through the doctrine of propitiation as he learned it from the Levitical offering.
(11)  The tax-collector was a believer.  He had been justified by his faith.  Grace is the function of the sovereignty of God which establishes the policy for God’s relationship with mankind.  Faith is the function of human volition in response to grace.  Faith is total dependence on the work of God, therefore, the exclusion of human merit or human works.  Grace excludes all human works and merit both before, during, and after salvation.  Faith in Christ does not denote human commitment.  The commitment is made by God, not by us.  Faith is not a commitment but total dependency.

B.  Common, Efficacious, Salvation, And Post-salvation Grace.
1.  Grace is all that God is free to do for mankind without compromising His essence or His divine attributes.  Divine love is the motivation for God’s grace policy toward mankind.  Grace is undeserved blessing, which God freely gives to mankind.  Grace is the divine system that permeates biblical theology and all Christian experience.
2.  Grace includes the provision of God for mankind in eternity past related to the doctrine of divine decrees.  This is emphasized in common grace, so-called because it is common to all mankind.  The benefits of common grace are experienced by all mankind without discrimination or prejudice toward anyone.
a.  The work of Jesus Christ in sustaining the universe by the word of His power is a manifestation of common grace.  Col 1:17; Heb 1:3.
b.  The function of the universe to both the just and the unjust is another manifestation of common grace, Mt 5:45.
c.  Everything that God does to prevent the human race from self-destruction is a manifestation of common grace.
d.  The greatest manifestation of common grace is the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in making the gospel perspicuous to the spiritually dead unbeliever.
3.  Salvation grace is motivated by divine impersonal love for the unbeliever, who is in the status of spiritual death.  Jn 3:16; Rom 5:8.  Impersonal love for the spiritually dead unbeliever becomes personal love for the born-again believer because of the imputation of divine righteousness.  Grace also means that all things from God, including salvation by grace through faith, are received from God totally apart from any form of human merit or human works.
a.  Part of salvation grace is antecedent grace.  Antecedent grace emphasizes the fact that God’s grace precedes and has preceded human life on earth.  All human decisions of history and works and endeavors of mankind are preceded by the grace of God.
(1)  Motivated by divine love, God’s antecedent grace takes the initiative in eternity past based on His divine omniscience.  God knew all the knowable in eternity past and made provision for every situation in life.
(2)  Grace does not start with mankind.  Grace started with God.  Therefore, grace is not earned, merited, or deserved by human beings.  It is freely given to us, totally apart from any human resources, any merit, any ability.  Grace is the initiative of God.
(3)  1 Jn 4:10, “In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins.”
b.  Salvation grace takes cognizance of the hopeless and helpless state of mankind from the point of his physical birth.
(1)  Human life begins at physical birth.  Only God can create human life.  Biological life is the result of procreation.  Whatever man can create is not human life.  When biological life emerges from the womb, God creates soul life and imputes it to biological life, which begins human life.  Simultaneously, God imputes Adam’s original sin to the genetically formed sin nature.  The result is that all members of the human race are born spiritually dead (with the exception of Jesus Christ, who was born without a sin nature due to the virgin pregnancy and birth).
(2)  Spiritual death means total separation from God, total depravity, and total helplessness.
(3)  Salvation grace means that Jesus Christ, in a state of impeccability, was judged on the cross as a substitute for us.  Salvation grace means all things that God has done for us to provide eternal life.  All things from God are received from God totally apart from any form of human works.  Therefore, salvation grace can only be received on a non-meritorious basis–by faith alone in Christ alone.
4.  Efficacious Grace.
a.  Efficacious means effective as a means of having or showing the desired result; producing the desired effect.
b.  There are two categories of efficacious grace.
(1)  The salvation work of Christ on the cross is efficacious in that it is a combination of unlimited atonement and propitiation.  The grace aspect of unlimited atonement means that Jesus Christ was judged for all the sins of the entire human race and God the Father was satisfied with that work.  The implication is that every member of the human race has the same equal opportunity for salvation.  Because our Lord was judged for every sin in human history on the cross, sin is no longer the issue in salvation.
(2)  Faith alone in Christ alone is efficacious for eternal salvation.  God the Holy Spirit takes the faith of the spiritually dead unbeliever and makes that faith effective for salvation.
c.  Efficacious grace is related to the salvation work of Christ on the cross as illustrated by unlimited atonement and propitiation.  The preposition HUPER plus the genitive of advantage always connotes substitution.  The genitive of advantage indicates the person(s) on behalf of whom something is done in a substitutionary sense.  The object of this preposition is the anarthrous construction (no definite article) from the adjective PAS used as a substantive, which always means “everyone without exception.”  (See Bauer, Arndt, and Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, Second Edition, page 632, point 2.)
(1)  Heb 2:9, “But while He was made inferior to angels for a brief time, we see Jesus, who now has been crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that He, by the grace of God, might taste death as a substitute for everyone without exception.”
(2)  2 Cor 5:14-15a, “For the love for Christ keeps on  motivating us; in fact, we have reached this conclusion, that One died as a substitute for everyone without exception, therefore all died; and He died as a substitute for everyone without exception…”
(3)  1 Tim 2:6, “who gave Himself a ransom as a substitute for everyone without exception, …”  The result of unlimited atonement is the fact that God the Father is satisfied with the efficacious, substitutionary spiritual death of Jesus Christ on the cross.  Furthermore, God has given everyone equal opportunity for salvation, first through God consciousness, and then through gospel hearing.
(4)  Rom 5:6, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died as a substitute for the godless ones.”  Godless means the human race.  The result of unlimited atonement is propitiation, 1 Jn 2:2, “And he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for our sins only, but also for the entire world.”
d.  Common grace and efficacious grace combine under the ministry of God the Holy Spirit.  Eph 2:8-9, “For you have been saved with the result that you keep on being saved forever by means of grace through faith; and this [salvation (the demonstrative pronoun is in the neuter rather than the feminine)] not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”
e.  Grace depends entirely upon who and what God is.  Grace is undeserved blessing from God based on the function of all three members of the Trinity.  Grace is the divine side of salvation; faith is the human side.  Grace has all the merit; faith has no merit at all.  Grace is the decision of the sovereignty of God; faith is the non-meritorious decision of the human being.
5.  The Church Age believer is saved by grace and mandated to live by grace.  Grace is the manifestation of the virtue, holiness, power, mercy, compassion, patience of God.
a.  Post-salvation grace is motivated by divine personal love because the believer possesses the imputed righteousness of God.  This makes the pattern of post-salvation grace logistical grace.  Grace is undeserved blessing from God based on who and what God is.
b.  Post-salvation grace is unmerited favor, the total divine provision of the persons of the Godhead for the believer’s fulfillment of God’s plan, will, and purpose for the Church Age.

C.  Antecedent Grace.
1.  Definition.
a.  In the English language, the word antecedent means the action of going before, preceding, existing before, and has the connotation of precedence.  This is called prevenient grace in theology.  Prevenient means “going before, existing before.”
b.  Dr. Philip E. Huges’ definition on page 480f in The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology is very good.  “Prevenient grace is grace that comes first.  It precedes all human decisions and endeavors.  Grace always means that it is God who takes the initiative and implies the priority of God’s action on behalf of needy sinners.  This is the whole point of grace: it does not start with us; it starts with God.  Grace is not earned or merited by us.  It is freely and lovingly given to us with no resources or deservings of our own.  …God took action.  Moreover, when we were helpless, without any ability to help ourselves or to make any contribution to salvation.  The sinner’s state is one of spiritual death, that is to say, total inability.  That is why the apostle reminds the Ephesian believers that salvation came to them when they were dead in sins.  From which there follows only one conclusion, namely, it is by grace they were saved.  Both now and for all eternity, the Christian will be indebted to the immeasurable riches of God’s grace, displayed in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  But for the prevenience or priority of divine grace all would have been lost.”
c.  For our study of grace, it means that which precedes and exists both in eternity past, in time, and in the future.  This concept applies to post-salvation grace just as much as pre-salvation and salvation grace.
2.  Antecedent grace is the divine initiative in the exercise of God’s grace policy to establish a relationship with mankind totally apart from human merit, human works, or human resources.  Antecedent grace is the divine initiative in providing grace blessing from God to mankind, dating back to eternity past as illustrated by the believer’s escrow blessings for time and eternity.  Antecedent grace excludes any human merit before salvation, at salvation, or after salvation.  We have nothing to brag about.  We could not do a thing.  So God took the initiative.  This is also true about the Christian way of life.
3.  There are two categories of antecedent grace: the divine initiative of eternity past, and the divine initiative in time.  Man responds to divine initiative.  God always takes the initiative.  He did so in eternity past and continues to do so in time.
a.  Antecedent grace includes the divine initiative in eternity past.  This is God’s grace provision for the post-salvation modus operandi of the Church Age believer.  This includes our very own portfolio of invisible assets, everything we need to live our very own spiritual life.  Billions of years ago, God provided a grace portfolio with our name on it.  It includes our very own spiritual life, the spiritual skills, the uniqueness of the Church Age, the equality we have in the execution of the protocol plan of God.
b.  In the divine decrees, the omniscience of God knew simultaneously all the knowable about human history and made special provision for every Church Age believer to have equal privilege and equal opportunity to execute the protocol plan of God for the Church Age.  This is the major issue in resolving Satan’s appeal trial of eternity past.  Eph 3:2, “since you have heard about the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for your benefit.”
c.  Antecedent grace is dramatized by the fact that every Church Age believer has equal privilege and equal opportunity to execute the protocol plan of God.  Antecedent grace includes election and predestination.
(1)  Election is the expression of the sovereignty of God in eternity past as a part of antecedent grace, in which every believer has been made a royal priest and been given logistical grace.
(2)  Predestination is the provision of the sovereignty of God in eternity past as a part of antecedent grace.  It is the provision of the sovereignty of God for every Church Age believer under equal privilege of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and subsequent positional sanctification, in which we are placed into union with Christ and created a new spiritual species, and given the equal opportunity of being entered into your very own palace, the divine dynasphere with a portfolio of invisible assets.
d.   Antecedent grace includes the divine initiative in time.  Grace orientation can only respond to the divine initiative of antecedent grace in a totally non-meritorious manner.  Whatever the response is to post-salvation grace, it must be the same non-meritorious response as occurred with pre-salvation and salvation grace.
4.  The Scope of Antecedent Grace.
a.  Pre-salvation grace includes the creation of soul life and its imputation to biological life, the imputation of Adam’s original sin to the genetically formed sin nature, God-consciousness, and common grace.  Efficacious grace at the moment of salvation is antecedent grace with reference to post-salvation grace.  We respond to common grace by listening to what is said.  We respond to efficacious grace by believing in Christ for salvation.  Both hearing and believing are non-meritorious.
b.  Post-salvation grace includes the doctrine of precedence for the Christian life.  The grace policy of the Hypostatic Union, God’s grace to Israel, the salvation work of Christ on the cross, the precedence for the spiritual life of the Church Age are antecedent grace to us in the Church Age.
c.  The response to common grace is non-meritorious.  The response to efficacious grace is non-meritorious.  The response to post-salvation grace is non-meritorious–learning and applying the mystery doctrine of the Church Age.  All the unique characteristics of the Church Age are a part of antecedent grace.
d.  Post-salvation grace includes all that God has done for the believer apart from human merit.  This means that the Church Age believer is saved by grace and that he is mandated to live by grace.  Grace is the manifestation of the holiness of God, divine virtue, including the power, the mercy, the compassion, and the patience of God.
e.  Post-salvation grace is motivated by divine personal love based on the fact that the believer receives and possesses forever the imputation of divine righteousness from God at the moment of salvation.  Because of the baptism of the Spirit and subsequent positional sanctification, the believer in Christ shares the righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ.  This gives us capacity righteousness in two categories, so that we have capacity for blessing from God.
5.  The Human Response to the Divine Initiative of Antecedent Grace.
a.  There are two categories of antecedent grace: divine initiative in eternity past and divine initiative in human history.
b.  Human response to antecedent grace must always be non-meritorious, excluding human works and all energy of the flesh human resources.
c.  Human response to the divine initiative of antecedent grace begins with the decision to hear the gospel message, therefore, positive volition toward common grace.
d.  Human response to the divine initiative of antecedent grace continues with faith alone in Christ alone, therefore, positive volition at the point of efficacious grace.
e.  Human response to the divine initiative of antecedent grace concludes with consistent function of the spiritual skills, resulting in the execution of the protocol plan of God for the Church, therefore, positive volition toward post-salvation grace.
f.  Therefore, human response to the divine initiative of antecedent grace begins with hearing the gospel in common grace, faith alone in Christ alone in efficacious grace, and both learning and using the spiritual skills in post-salvation grace.

D.  The Function of Grace Orientation as a Problem Solving Device.
1.  This is the function of grace orientation as a problem solving device on the FLOT line of the soul.
a.  The divine initiative of antecedent grace means there are two sources of grace orientation as a problem solving device: the divine initiative of eternity past and the divine initiative in time (precedence from the function of the humanity of Christ during the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union).
b.  Grace orientation as a problem solving device can only function in relationship to doctrinal orientation (another problem solving device on the FLOT line of the soul).
c.  Grace orientation emphasizes the divine side of post-salvation grace, while doctrinal orientation emphasizes the believer’s side of post-salvation grace.
d.  In grace, God initiates and the believer responds.  The initiation of grace demands the response of grace.
e.  Response to divine initiation of antecedent grace is grace orientation.
f.  Grace orientation completely eliminates any form of legalism, human merit, human ability, human works, or human resources.
g.  Therefore, grace orientation as a problem solving device is the correct and accurate response to antecedent grace.
h.  Grace orientation teaches the believer how to respond to the divine initiative of antecedent grace.
2.  Grace orientation always functions on the basis of precedence from the modus operandi of the humanity of Christ in the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union.
a.  Jn 1:14-17 tells us that grace and truth were problem solving devices used by our Lord.  They functioned together.  Our Lord received the function of His spiritual skills from the divine decrees, from the divine initiative of eternity past.  In eternity past when Christ agreed to go to the cross, God the Father provided everything for the humanity of Christ to execute the plan of God for the Hypostatic Union.  This was antecedent grace.
b.  We take our function of the problem solving devices from the divine initiative in time, that is, from the modus operandi of the humanity of Christ in the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union.  Our Lord had eight problem solving devices (He did not need to rebound or be occupied with Himself).  He used these problem solving devices to establish precedence for us.  We have two things going for us: the divine initiative of antecedent grace in eternity past and precedence from the function of the humanity of Christ in the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union.  You have the same assets that the humanity of Christ had when He walked on this earth.
(1)  The humanity of Christ functioned under the filling of the Spirit: Isa 11:2, 42:1; Jn 3:34; Lk 4:14-18; Mt 12:28; Heb 9:14, “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the agency of the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
(2)  The humanity of Christ functioned under grace orientation and doctrinal orientation, Jn 1:14, 16.
(3)  The humanity of Christ functioned under impersonal love, Lk 23:34, “But Jesus kept on saying, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.”
(4)  The humanity of Christ functioned under perfect happiness, Jn 15:11, “I have taught you many things that My happiness may be in you, and that your happiness may be made fulfilled.”  The ultimate precedent in the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union is sharing the perfect happiness of God.  Sharing the perfect happiness of God is the most fantastic experience the believer can have.  Grace orientation and doctrinal orientation start to produce occupation with Christ and perfect happiness.  Heb 12:2 says that Jesus Christ is the originator, pioneer, and perfecter of our doctrine, “Be concentrating on Jesus, the originator of our doctrine, who because of His exhibited happiness He endured the cross, and disregarded the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
c.  The humanity of Jesus Christ voluntarily restrained the use of His own divine attributes in the pressure situations of the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union in order to establish precedence for the spiritual life of the ordinary believer in the dispensation of the Church.  This is the basis for encouragement in the problem solving device called grace orientation.
3.  The challenge of grace orientation in the Church Age is the result of the divine initiative of antecedent grace in eternity past in the provision of our portfolio of invisible assets and divine initiative in time or the precedence from the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union.
4.  Grace orientation and doctrinal orientation always work together.  Grace orientation emphasizes the divine side of post-salvation grace, whereas, doctrinal orientation emphasizes the believer’s response to grace.  There is no growth except in the sphere of grace, 2 Pet 3:18, “Keep on growing in the sphere of grace and in the sphere of knowledge about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Glory to Him both now and in the day of eternity.  Amen.”
a.  Grace orientation is the sphere for growth.  When you get outside the sphere of grace (through sin, legalism, etc.), you stop growing spiritually and become a loser.  You cannot fulfill the Christian way of life outside of the sphere of grace.  Christian service is not divine good apart from the function of the spiritual skills.  Without the sphere of grace and gnosis we cannot glorify God.
b.  Doctrinal orientation begins when you use grace orientation to metabolize doctrine–faith perception converting gnosis into epignosis.  Doctrinal orientation is epignosis doctrine circulating in the seven compartments of the stream of consciousness.  Faith perception brings grace orientation together with doctrinal orientation.  You cannot have grace orientation without doctrinal orientation or doctrinal orientation without grace orientation.
5.  The doctrine of precedence emphasizes the uniqueness of the Church Age and the grace provision for the ordinary believer, hence, the divine initiative of antecedent grace in human history.  Eph 3:2, “If you have heard about the dispensation of the grace of God (and you have), which was given to me for your benefit…”  It is for our benefit that we are in this dispensation.
6.  The encouragement that comes from grace orientation is found in 2 Thes 2:16-17, “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God the Father, who has loved us and has given to us eternal encouragement and confident expectation in the sphere of grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen your spiritual life in all [spiritual] production and good of intrinsic value doctrine.”
a.  God’s impersonal love toward us is a part of the eternal comfort of grace and a problem solving device on the FLOT line of the soul.  God’s love toward us is divine self-esteem in eternity past, the divine initiative of antecedent grace, divine impersonal love of eternity past, and divine personal love in human history to those who have believed in Christ.
b.  Eternal encouragement is the divine initiative of antecedent and future grace.  God has provided encouragement for the lowest moments in our lives.  Good of intrinsic value confident expectation in the sphere of grace is the anticipation of the escrow blessings of the eternal state.  This may be classified as the divine initiative of eschatological expectation, the anticipation of future grace in the eternal state.
c.  You have no encouragement apart from the divine initiative of antecedent and future grace.  We do not need comfort; we need encouragement.  Encouragement of heart comes from metabolized doctrine in the stream of consciousness.  The Greek word PARAKALEO means to encouragement, to comfort, to exhort, to summon someone for help or advise.  All the meanings are pertinent to the function of grace orientation.  In grace orientation, the believer summons metabolized doctrine in the stream of consciousness of the heart for encouragement, for comfort, and for self-exhortation of the soul.  There is no greater power than the power of the infallible word of God circulating in your stream of consciousness, where it forms grace orientation and doctrinal orientation.  Grace orientation functions in the soul long before it functions in your life.
d.  The Greek word STERIZO (strengthen) means to fix something so that it stands upright and immoveable.  This came to mean someone who was strong in their spiritual life.  God has provided the grace so that you can stand upright in your spiritual life, not phased by the stresses, adversities, and pressures of life.
e.  The good of intrinsic value doctrine produces an invisible production that changes the course of history.  Production here emphasizes the creation of the invisible hero with invisible impact in the Church Age.  Metabolized doctrine circulating in the stream of consciousness must precede the production of divine good.  Spiritual skills must precede production skills for the performance of divine good.  Production skills minus spiritual skills equal dead works, human good, and the believer producing evil.  Evil from dead works includes Christian activism, social engineering, civil disobedience, the intrusion upon the privacy of the individual, and the destruction of human freedom.
f.  You are to encourage your own hearts in the sphere of grace and strengthen your spiritual life in the sphere of invisible production and good of intrinsic value doctrine.  The doctrine is invisible in the soul; the production is invisible.  It is your own free will that must respond to grace orientation.  It is your own free will that must learn doctrine in order to respond to grace.

E.  The Panorama of The Divine Initiative of Antecedent Grace.
1.  The purpose of the divine initiative of antecedent grace in the Church Age is found in 2 Thes 1:12, “in order that the person of our Lord Jesus may be glorified by means of you, and you by means of Him on the basis of the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.”
a.  Our Lord Jesus Christ is glorified when the Church Age believer responds to the divine initiative of antecedent grace.  The function of the spiritual skills and the execution of the protocol plan of God for the Church is the major concept.  You being glorified by our Lord is the inevitable result of the divine initiative of antecedent grace with historical impact of the invisible heroes, the pivot of mature believers.  The conveyance of escrow blessings for the eternal state at the Judgment Seat of Christ also fulfills the principle.
b.  We are glorifying eternal God when we glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.  Life becomes very meaningful when you realize there is a grace way of glorifying God.  The purpose of the divine initiative of antecedent grace was to give you a life of meaning, purpose, and definition, a life where you can have the most wonderful things and glorify God by means of them.
c.  Grace orientation is the basis for getting ready to develop in your life a personal sense of destiny.
2.  Common and efficacious grace are related to the divine initiative of antecedent grace in eternity past, 2 Tim 1:9, “[Our Lord] who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not on the basis of our works, but on the basis of His very own purpose and grace which has been given to us for our benefit by Christ Jesus in eternity past.”
a.  At the moment of faith in Christ, there is a tremendous response to the divine initiative of antecedent grace in eternity past.  Faith in Christ is a response to antecedent grace of eternity past.  The forty things you receive at the instant of faith in Christ are also a response to antecedent grace in eternity past.  The new believer enters immediately into post-salvation grace.  Grace is God’s initiative, not ours.  Our initiative is the response of total helplessness and humility.
b.  The call of God is God’s invitation to believe in Christ.  This is also a part of the divine initiative of antecedent grace.
c.  No matter how you look at it, grace is always the work of God, the divine initiative.  Grace and human works are mutually exclusive.  You cannot do anything, you are helpless.  God has invited us to a life on the basis of grace which was given to us from eternity past.  You have the greatest individual responsibility God ever assigned to any people, but it is on the basis of grace.
d.  God’s grace was given to us (PRO CHRONOS plus the ablative plural of separation from AIONIOS) “before the times in eternity.”  This idiom means “in eternity past” or “before the beginning of time.”
(1)  In the plan and purpose of God, grace and human works cannot and do not coexist.  Grace and legalism do not mix in time.
(2)  Therefore, God’s grace and human works are mutually exclusive.
(3)  Grace excludes all forms of human works, human merit, and human resources.
(4)  Where human merit and human works are inserted into God’s plan erroneously by misinformed or ignorant believers, it is no longer God’s plan, will, or purpose for the believer.
(5)  The believer cannot glorify God through the function of his personality, merit, resources, works, or any gimmick or system of gimmicks which he may develop.
(6)  God can only be glorified by what God has done for mankind in grace, more grace, and greater grace.
3.  The divine initiative of antecedent grace in eternity past and in time is taught in Eph 1:6, “resulting in the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has graced us out in the Beloved [Jesus Christ].”  The glory of God is seen in His essence and in the function of His grace.  Each Church Age believer has a portfolio of invisible assets prepared by the grace of God in eternity past to be used in human history.
4.  The divine initiative of eschatological grace in the eternal future is taught in Eph 2:7, “that He might show us in the coming ages the surpassing riches of His grace in generosity toward us in the sphere of Christ Jesus [i.e., in union with Christ].”
a.  The coming ages include the millennium and the eternal state.  Every winner-believer knows that he will have the surpassing riches of Christ’s grace in the future.  In eternity past, God provided everything we need through antecedent grace to attain the surpassing riches of His grace for the eternal future.  We could not do anything to obtain the surpassing riches of His grace.  God blesses you because of what He did for you in eternity past and in time.
b.  What is more important: you and anything you do or your portfolio of invisible assets?  There is nothing you can attain in this world that is worth that fantastic grace God has provided for you in eternity past.  There is no attainment in the world that is worth distraction from Bible doctrine.
5.  The divine initiative of antecedent grace is related to the pivot of mature believers in Rom 11:1-6, “I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He?  Definitely not!  For I also am an Israelite, out from the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.  God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.  Or do you not know what the Scripture says about Elijah, when he complained to God about Israel?  ‘Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.’  But what is the divine answer to him?  ‘I have kept for Myself seven thousand honorable men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’  Therefore, in this same way also in this present time, there has come to be a remnant on the basis of the election from grace.  And if it is because of grace [and it is], it is no longer from the source of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.”
a.  God has not rejected the Jew.  God has demanded a spiritual birth, so that there is neither Jew nor Gentile.  Paul begins this passage by saying that the physical descent of natural birth is worthless for salvation.  The transmission of divine promises and imputation of divine blessing are made as a result of being born again.  A spiritual birth must take place.  To inherit the unconditional covenants to Israel, the Jew must be born again through faith alone in Christ alone.
b.  The omniscience of God knew in eternity past all the knowable of history, including the volition of His people, Israel.  God knew each Jewish believer who would live in the Church Age and did not reject them.  No believer, Jew or Gentile, is ever rejected by God.
c.  Paul now uses Elijah as an illustration.  Elijah was complaining to the supreme court of heaven about the negative volition of Israel.  The Northern Kingdom of Israel was about to be destroyed as a client nation to God.  Elijah was involved in arrogant self-absorption by thinking he alone is left as a believer in Israel.
d.  Elijah said HUPOLEIPO (I am the only one left).  God said to Elijah KATALEIPO (I have kept for Myself).  There were still seven thousand people in the land of Israel who were part of God’s pivot.
(1)  One of the results of the divine initiative is that God always has a remnant of the elect of grace, a pivot of believers in any client nation.  The only reason we are still here as a client nation is because we have invisible heroes, unknown except in heaven.  They are using the spiritual skills to execute the protocol plan of God for the Church.
(2)  The remnant according to the election of grace, i.e., the pivot, shrinks when the arrogance skills replace grace.  Grace and works cannot coexist in the plan of God.  Grace and works are mutually exclusive.  Grace excludes the arrogance skills and the arrogance skills exclude grace.  Where the arrogance skills prevail among believers, the pivot shrinks and the client nation to God is eventually destroyed by the supreme court of heaven.
(3)  As a result of this pivot of mature believers, the client nation of Northern Israel would continue for 150 more years (B.C. 871 – B.C. 721).  Elijah and Elisha turned the client nation around.  God continued to bless that nation only because of who and what those believers were.
e.  In the same way, there is a pivot at the time of Paul’s letter, just as there is a pivot right now in client nation America.  As goes the believer, so goes the client nation.  Our security as a nation does not depend on the decisions of the President, Congress, or any other politician.  Our security depends on the antecedent grace of God directed toward the pivot of mature believers.  The pivot of Israel established precedence for the pivot of mature believers in Gentile client nations to God in the Church Age.
f.  Grace always has been and always will be the basis for the existence of the pivot of mature believers.  Grace and works cannot coexist in the plan of God.  Grace and works are mutually exclusive.  Grace excludes the arrogance skills (self-justification, self-deception, self-absorption).  When arrogance skills prevail among believers, the pivot shrinks and the client nation is judged by the supreme court of heaven.  Where grace prevails through the function of the spiritual skills, the pivot expands and the client nation to God is blessed by association with those mature believers.  One ounce of legalism or activism destroys grace as the only basis for executing the protocol plan of God, Gal 5:9.
6.  The divine initiative of antecedent grace is related to occupation with the Person of Christ, Eph 6:24, “Grace be with all believers who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptibility.”
a.  It is possible to have a superficial love for God which is strictly corruptible.  The only love that counts is an incorruptible love.  Believers with corruptible love do not have the ten problem solving devices on the FLOT line of their soul.
b.  Incorruptibility is spiritual capacity righteousness, which belongs to the believer who executes the protocol plan of God through the spiritual skills provided through the divine initiative of antecedent grace in eternity past.
7.  The divine initiative of antecedent grace is related to the spiritual gift of pastor-teacher.  Eph 3:7-8, “Through which gospel, I have become a minister on the basis of the gift from the grace of God which was given to me on the basis of the function of His power.  To me, the very least of all saints, this grace has been given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable wealth of Christ.”
a.  The function of all spiritual gifts are based on the function of divine power.
b.  Invisible God plus invisible power plus invisible assets equals invisible heroes.

F.  Grace Related to Human And Spiritual Freedom.
1.  Human Freedom.
a.  Human freedom is the sphere of operation for human volition.  We operate within the framework of our own volition.  In order to resolve the prehistoric angelic conflict, the sovereignty of God and free will of man coexist in human history.  Mankind has one thing in common with the angels–human volition.  Freedom is the true environment for the function of human volition.
b.  There are two categories of human freedom: establishment freedom for both the unbeliever and believer and spiritual freedom for the Church Age believer only.  Spiritual freedom is designed to give every believer equal privilege and opportunity to execute God’s plan, will, and purpose for the Church Age.
(1)  Freedom under the laws of divine establishment includes the following factors.
(a)  Volition.  The function of human volition in the soul, the state of human volition as the uncaused cause of human modus operandi.  Freedom is the legitimate self-determination, exemption from necessity apart from human consent or human self-fulfillment, and exemption from arbitrary control and exploitation from others.
(b)  Privacy.  Privacy is the environment for the establishment of freedom.
(c)  Property.  Property is the right to possess, to enjoy, to benefit, or to make profit from acquired things in life.  Ownership of tangible things is a part of the concept of property.  Profit is a good word in the Bible.  Profit is the basis for true economy.  Socialism is evil because it destroys human freedom and self-determination.  Property is defined as the sum total of one’s own possessions, tangible and intangible.  Under freedom, the individual has the right to make a profit as well as the right to possession of personal and real property.
(d)  Authority.  Authority under the laws of divine establishment includes personal volition, marriage, family, and government as divine institutions.  Parental authority is the fifth commandment and is a part of this concept.  When you have authority without freedom, that is tyranny.  When you have freedom without authority, that is anarchy.  The word of God does not subscribe to either tyranny or anarchy.
(e)  Life.  The laws of divine establishment recognize the sacredness of privacy, property, and life as the means of the function of human freedom.
c.  Human freedom cannot exist or be effective apart from human responsibility.  The freedom of a nation is no more effective than the morality, the virtue, the integrity, and the sense of responsibility among its citizens.
d.  The enemies of freedom under the laws of divine establishment are twofold.
(1)  The internal enemy is criminality.  The eighth commandment (You will not steal) recognizes the sacredness of property.  The sixth commandment (You will not commit homicide) recognizes the sacredness of human life.  Law enforcement is that part of establishment which is designed to apprehend and punish crime.  Once a person is convicted of a crime, they have no rights until they have served their sentence.  Capital punishment is authorized by the Scriptures, Gen 9:5-6; Mt 26:52; Rom 13:3-4; Ex 21:12; Num 35:30.
(2)  The external enemies of a nation are other nations who are power oriented and function under some system of tyranny against nations who are freedom oriented.  Part of establishment law is protection of freedom oriented nations from power oriented nations through the biblical principle of freedom through military victory.
2.  Spiritual Freedom.
a.  Ps 119:45, “And I will walk in freedom, For I seek Your doctrines.”  This is the function of spiritual freedom in perception of doctrine.
b.  Jn 8:32, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  This is a reference to spiritual freedom.
c.  Gal 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set you free.  Keep standing fast in that freedom and do not become entangled again in the yoke of slavery.”  The yoke of slavery is faith plus works for salvation, the arrogance skills, legalism and activism, the distractions of human viewpoint and false doctrine.
d.  Grace is involved in our spiritual freedom, 2 Cor 4:17, “The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.”  Spiritual freedom is the environment for equality of all believers to execute the protocol plan of God.  The filling of the Spirit provides spiritual freedom and equal opportunity to utilize the divine initiative of antecedent grace for the fulfillment of the protocol plan of God for the Church.
e.  2 Cor 3:18, “But we all, with an unveiled face looking into a mirror to produce a reflection–the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory [the divine initiative of antecedent grace in time in which the humanity of Christ established precedence for the Christian way of life] to glory [the utilization of the spiritual skills to execute the protocol plan of God], as it were from the Spirit of the Lord.”
(1)  The filling of the Spirit is the unveiled face.  The unveiled face is the positive believer approaching the word of God through the filling of the Holy Spirit.
(2)  The mirror is analogous to the word of God.
(3)  The “Spirit of the Lord” is a reference to the deity of the Holy Spirit.
3.  Summary.
a.  Human freedom for all mankind is based on the laws of divine establishment.  Human freedom recognizes the sacredness of privacy, property, and life.  Human freedom recognizes self-determination as a function of human volition in the soul.  Human freedom emphasizes the individual as taking responsibility for his own decisions.  Human freedom is authority oriented, so that under establishment authority the principle of live and let live becomes operational.
b.  Spiritual freedom is for believers only.  The function of spiritual freedom is based on cognition and utilization of the three spiritual skills (the filling of the Spirit, metabolized doctrine in the stream of consciousness, and ten problem solving devices deployed on the FLOT line of your soul).  Spiritual freedom is the basis for equal opportunity for every Church Age believer to execute the protocol plan of God.  Spiritual freedom is destroyed by the function of the arrogance skills.
c.  Establishment freedom is the heritage of physical birth.  Spiritual freedom is the heritage of regeneration.  Spiritual freedom can function with or without establishment freedom, because establishment freedom or lack of it is related to public modus operandi in a nation or its equivalent, while spiritual freedom is invisible, related to the filling of the Holy Spirit.  Establishment freedom is based on human merit and virtue both in thinking and action, illustrated by the function of law enforcement and military establishment.  Spiritual freedom is non-meritorious because it is related to the divine initiative of antecedent grace both in eternity past and the divine initiative of eschatological grace at the Rapture and the eternal state.

G.  Conclusion And Summary.
1.  God’s grace initiates the believer’s grace orientation response.  It takes grace orientation to respond to God’s grace initiative.
2.  The divine initiative of grace occurs in two spheres:
a.  Antecedent grace.
(1)  In eternity past–your very own portfolio of invisible assets.
(2)  In time–precedence for believer grace orientation response from the function of the humanity of Christ in Hypostatic Union.
b.  Eschatological grace, which includes:
(1)  Dying grace.
(2)  Resurrection grace.
(3)  The eternal state.
3.  Grace orientation as a problem solving device, when it is deployed on the FLOT line of the soul, can only respond to the divine initiative of antecedent grace or the divine initiative of eschatological grace in a non-meritorious manner.  God initiates grace and has from eternity past.  We respond to grace when we have the proper problem solving device of grace orientation on the FLOT line of the soul.  This is when the grace response becomes effective.
4.  Grace orientation responds to the divine initiative of grace through the function of the three spiritual skills (the filling of the Holy Spirit, the metabolization of doctrine, plus execution of the protocol plan of God).  This is what results in maximum response to both antecedent grace and eschatological grace.
5.  Grace orientation as a problem solving device only functions in relationship to Operation Z.
6.  There can be no believer response to the divine initiative of antecedent or eschatological grace apart from maximum metabolized doctrine circulating in the seven compartments of the stream of consciousness.
7.  Therefore, grace orientation is defined as the response of epignosis doctrine to the divine initiative of antecedent grace and eschatological grace.
8.  Grace orientation is defined as the correct and accurate response to and application of both antecedent grace and eschatological grace.
9.  This implies that grace orientation not only teaches the believer how to respond to the divine initiative of grace but how to apply God’s perfect and matchless grace to every circumstance of life.  The filling of the Holy Spirit plus human I.Q. equals spiritual I.Q. plus Operation Z equals grace orientation.
10.  In the grace policy of God, the divine initiative always precedes the grace response.  The grace response occurs in at least six different categories: common grace, efficacious grace, post-salvation or living grace, dying grace, resurrection grace, and eternal state grace.
11.  The divine initiative of grace always provides equal opportunity for the grace response of mankind.  Man cannot create equal opportunity; only God can do so.  This means that all members of the human race have equal opportunity for eternal salvation through faith alone in Christ alone.  This means that all members of the body of Christ have equal privilege and equal opportunity to execute the protocol plan of God for the Church.
a.  In the divine decrees, we have the sovereignty of God and free will of man coexisting in human history.  The order of the divine decrees or lapsarianism is:
(1)  God decreed the creation of all mankind with free will in a state of perfection.  This was done to resolve the prehistoric angelic conflict and to bring many sons into glory, as per Eph 2:10.
(2)  God decreed to permit the fall of mankind through the function of his own volition, mankind’s own self-determination.  This duplicates Satan’s fall and the subsequent existence of all fallen angels.
(3)  God decreed to provide eternal salvation for all mankind under the doctrine of unlimited atonement, 2 Cor 5:14-15; Heb 2:9; 1 Tim 2:6.  Christ died as a substitute for everyone without exception.
(4)  God decreed to leave the reprobate (those who remain in spiritual death because they reject Christ as Savior) to their just condemnation, Jn 3:18, 36.  There are two opportunities under equal opportunity for regeneration–God consciousness and gospel hearing.
(5)  God decreed simultaneously in eternity past both election and foreordination or predestination for the believer only.  Both election and predestination are a part of the divine initiative of antecedent grace.  Election and predestination provide equal privilege and equal opportunity from the divine initiative of antecedent grace for every Church Age believer to execute the protocol plan of God.
(a)  There are three elections in history: the election of true Israel, Rom 9:6, the election of the humanity of Christ in the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union, and the election of the Church as the body of Christ in the royal family of God.
(b)  Election is the expression of the sovereignty of God who wills the highest and best for every Church Age believer.  Therefore, equal privilege and equal opportunity to execute the protocol plan of God.  Under the equal privilege of election, every believer is a priest of the royal priesthood.  Our Lord is the royal high priest as a king-priest, Heb 7.  Under the equal opportunity of election, every believer has equal opportunity because of logistical grace.  Our royal priesthood and logistical grace are a part of antecedent grace.
(c)  Predestination is the grace provision of the sovereignty of God for every believer in every dispensation.  Through His grace policy, the sovereignty of God has provided everything necessary to sustain every believer in every dispensation of human history.  In the Church Age, every believer has equal privilege and equal opportunity under predestination for the execution of the protocol plan of God.  The equal privilege under predestination is the baptism of the Holy Spirit and subsequent positional sanctification.  The equal opportunity under predestination is our very own portfolio of logistical grace.
(6)  God decreed to apply salvation to everyone who believes in Jesus Christ; hence, the decree to save the elect through faith alone in Christ alone, Eph 2:8-9.
b.  The decrees provide the equality factor.  The filling of the Holy Spirit plus human I.Q. equals spiritual I.Q. plus metabolization of doctrine equals the equality factor for every believer.  There is no racial issue, cultural issue, sexual issue, social issue, or economic issue.
c.  The divine initiative of antecedent grace of eternity past has provided equal privilege and equal opportunity for every Church Age believer to execute the protocol plan of God.  There is no inequality in the filling of the Spirit or in Operation Z (the metabolization of doctrine).  Inequality occurs with the tremendous variation of thinking skills among members of the human race.  However, God the Holy Spirit converts human I.Q. into spiritual I.Q., creating a system of equality for the perception and application of Bible doctrine.  The six thinking skills are:
(1)  Comprehension.  It is the function of the filling of the Spirit to take the inequalities of human comprehension and provide equality of all believers for doctrinal perception.  The filling of the Spirit converts the inequality of I.Q. into equality.
(2)  Memory.  The equality is provided by the inculcation and repetition of teaching.  The rate of learning must exceed the rate of forgetting doctrine.  The process of learning Bible doctrine combines the first two thinking skills, and the result is conditioned thought pathways or memory pathways of the soul.  The rate of learning is the rate at which the believer develops new memories, printing more and more doctrine on the neurons of the brain.  The rate of learning must always exceed the rate of forgetting.
(a)  From metabolized doctrine circulating in the seven compartments of the stream of consciousness through the filling of the Holy Spirit, ten problem solving devices are formed and deployed on the FLOT line of your soul.
(b)  These problem solving devices perform eight missions:
i.  The prevention of the outside pressures of adversity from becoming the inside pressure of stress in the soul.
ii.  The application of metabolized doctrine to post-salvation experience, which includes the establishment of your spiritual values.
iii.  Spiritual environment of the soul, including divine viewpoint.
iv.  Self-motivation for the function of your very own spiritual life
v.  The basis for victory over the four great battles in the soul: the battle of stress in the soul, the battle of sin in the soul, the battle of false doctrine in the soul, the battle of defense mechanisms in the soul.
vi.  The mastery and the utilization of the problem solving devices, causing the elect angels to stand up and cheer.
vii.  The execution of the protocol plan of God for the Church–the attainment of spiritual maturity.
viii.  The invisible impact of the invisible hero, the source of the greatest happiness in this life.
(c)  As the number of doctrinal memories increase, the number of divine viewpoint thoughts also increase.  This results in the formation of doctrinal rationales.  These doctrinal rationales are applied to our experience through the function of the faith-rest drill.  The same faith-rest drill that claims the promises of God takes these doctrinal rationales and applies them to our experience.
(d)  When the rate of learning exceeds the rate of forgetting, the believer advances in his spiritual life under the function of the spiritual skills.  When the rate of forgetting exceeds the rate of learning, there is a rapid decline in the function of your very own spiritual life.
(3)  Problem Solving.  Problem solving devices are a grace gift from God which replace human viewpoint solutions, such as: psychology, defense mechanisms, and other things that remove the believer from the reality of God’s grace.
(4)  Decision Making.  Decision making is precisely correct procedure in the utilization of doctrinal facts and relating them to the function of the problem solving devices.
(5)  Creativity.  This is originality in thought and expression of thought.  For the believer, this is the recovery of Bible doctrine from the written page of the word of God.  Many doctrines have been rejected, suppressed, distorted, twisted, so that they often remain obscured for many generations.  Creativity includes the effective and powerful presentation of each truth through the filling of the Holy Spirit.
(6)  Awareness.  Awareness is the application of metabolized doctrine through the function of the ten problem solving devices deployed on the FLOT line of the soul.  Awareness is having knowledge in the stream of consciousness, being informed, knowledgeable, and alert about things around you.  Awareness wades through all the pressures and opposition to Bible doctrine with concentration, self-motivation, accurate spiritual values to continue advancing toward the objective of spiritual maturity and the glorification of God.  Awareness becomes alert and operational, when the believer has a personal sense of destiny.  Awareness rejects self-defense mechanisms.  Awareness is a part of true happiness in life.  Awareness is spiritual perspective of life.  Awareness has to do with your thoughtfulness of others and relating to others apart from the function of the sin nature.
12.  What Grace Orientation is Not.
a.  As a born-again believer with a perfect plan from God, you do not need to get into psychology to solve your problems.  There is a place in medicine for psychiatry.  Many believers have departed from the faith because they have become enmeshed in psychology.  Grace orientation has nothing to do with defense mechanisms.
b.  Denial is a defense mechanism in which a person fails to acknowledge some aspects of external reality which would be apparent to others.  It can be no perception of reality in certain areas or in all areas, or rejection of reality.
c.  Projection goes together with denial.  Projection is the function of ascribing to someone else your own attributes, faults, and flaws; hence, a mechanism in which a person falsely attributes his or her own unacknowledged impulses, feelings, thoughts, sin nature modus operandi, etc.  It is the sin nature adjustment to human relationship involving the first two arrogance skills (self-justification and self-deception).  Denial plus projection describes the pattern of a lot of people who are under the control of the sin nature.  In projection, the believer’s tendency toward legalism or activism or both, not only demands self-justification but results in the sins of the arrogance complex, therefore, the beginning of self-deception.
d.  Rationalization is a defense mechanism in which a person devises self-serving or reassuring but incorrect explanations for his or her own behavior or that of another person.  These three defense mechanisms put together forms a person who has built a psychological web in which they are enmeshed.  They always deny their own failures and blame others.  Rationalization can be related to the third arrogance skill (self-absorption).
e.  The first three defense mechanisms add up to or result in a fourth defense mechanism called dissociation.  Dissociation is a defense mechanism in which a person sustains alteration in the integrity functions of the stream of consciousness (you move away from normality).  For the believer, this is disastrous, because alteration in the integrity of the stream of consciousness results in the suppression of any Bible doctrine that has been metabolized.  Damage to the stream of consciousness through dissociation results in reversionism.
f.  If you try to solve your problems by denial, projection, or rationalization, you have, in effect, rejected the spiritual skills.  Defense mechanisms and the spiritual skills are mutually exclusive.  You are in either one or the other.
g.  In denial, the believer is divorced from the reality of the divine initiative of antecedent and eschatological grace.  Therefore, denial becomes the environment for self-justification.  Projection results in self-deception.  Rationalization results in self-absorption.
h.  Each of the first four defense mechanisms makes a contribution to the arrogance skills.  The result is reversionism.  Reversionism begins with reaction.  Any time we react to anything, we move toward the sins of the arrogance and emotional complex and become irrational in our reactions.  When we react to doctrine and reject doctrine, we go in for a frantic search for happiness in our dissociation.  This results in operation boomerang or the law of volitional responsibility.  Emotional revolt of the soul follows.  You are insensitive toward others and hypersensitive about self.  You move into the emotional sin of guilt, which becomes motivation for self-justification and Christian activism.  If there is not spiritual recovery, then you enter into permanent negative volition.  Once this happens, the seven compartments of the stream of consciousness are covered with a blackout of the soul and scar tissue of the soul.  Finally, the believer substitutes the arrogance skills for the spiritual skills and abandons all spiritual skills for the rest of his life.  This is reverse process reversionism.
i.  Reaction formation is a defense mechanism in which the believer in reversionism substitutes thoughts, feelings, and behaviors which are diametrically opposed to his previously established spiritual values.  Out of reaction formation comes intellectualization, in which a believer engages in excessive abstract thinking to avoid the disturbing feelings which result from the law of double punishment.  The law of double punishment is the result of volitional responsibility plus the three stages of divine discipline (warning, intensive, dying discipline).  Intellectualization is a reaction in the realm of thinking.  It is anti-doctrinal thinking, designed to avoid what the Lord is doing in dealing with the person.  The purpose of divine discipline is to break these defense mechanisms and to bring us back to reality.
j.  There are other defense mechanisms which bolster individual failure, so that the believer does not respond to the divine initiative of antecedent grace.
(1)  Isolation is a defense mechanism in which a person is unable to experience cognitive and effective components of his previous spiritual advance.  He cannot apply doctrine to experience because the doctrine is gone.
(2)  Autistic fantasy is a defense mechanism which is the ultimate result of the function of the arrogance skills.  It is self-absorption characterized by extreme withdrawal into excessive daydreaming or retreat into fantasy in the pursuit of human relationship or fantasy regarding effective action and using fantasy as a problem solving device.
(3)  Delusion is a defense mechanism which is a false personal belief based on incorrect inference about external reality (doctrinal reality in the stream of consciousness).  Delusion is firmly sustained despite of what the Bible mandates or teaches.
k.  All of these defense mechanisms relate to the failure of the believer to execute the will, plan, and purpose of God for the dispensation of the Church.  Grace orientation is not these defense mechanisms or psychological functions.
13.  What Grace Orientation Is.
a.  Grace orientation is a problem solving device, number four battalion deployed on the FLOT line of the soul.  The function of grace orientation is the believer’s response to the divine initiative of grace in two categories–antecedent grace in both eternity past and in time, and eschatological grace.
(1)  Antecedent grace in eternity past is related to the believer’s portfolio of invisible assets, the divine decrees, everything provided for the believer in eternity past.  Antecedent grace in time is dramatized by the precedence established for the Christian way of life through the function of the humanity of Jesus Christ in the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union.
(2)  Eschatological grace is the divine initiative of grace in our future: dying grace, resurrection grace, and eternal state grace.  We can only respond to antecedent grace in a totally non-meritorious manner.  Grace orientation responds to the divine initiative of antecedent grace through the consistent function of the spiritual skills, resulting in the execution of the protocol plan of God.  Grace orientation anticipates the divine initiative of eschatological grace through the function of those same spiritual skills.
b.  Grace orientation is the correct and accurate application to both the divine initiative of antecedent grace plus the divine initiative of eschatological grace.
c.  Grace orientation, by definition, teaches the believer how to respond to the divine initiative of grace and how to apply God’s perfect and matchless grace to every circumstance of life.
d.  Grace orientation completely eliminates any form of human works, human merit, legalism, crusader arrogance, human achievement arrogance, self-righteous arrogance, or any form of human resource.
e.  Defense mechanisms are human resources.  Therefore, defense mechanisms are not compatible with grace orientation.  In fact, defense mechanisms and grace orientation are mutually exclusive functions.  Grace orientation cannot be divorced from doctrinal orientation.  The combination of grace orientation and doctrinal orientation results in advanced problem solving devices.
14.  Sharing the perfect happiness of God comes from grace orientation and doctrinal orientation.  The believer who is a winner is given God’s very own happiness as a grace provision as he uses grace orientation and doctrinal orientation.  Happiness does not come from the function of the defense mechanisms.  In fact, defense mechanisms postpone, either temporarily or permanently, happiness from God.  Sharing the happiness of God results from the divine initiative of antecedent grace in eternity past.
Sharing the happiness of God is based on the attainment of spiritual capacity righteousness.  There is no true happiness in life apart from virtue or integrity.  Through spiritual capacity righteousness from the spiritual skills, virtue and happiness can never be separated.  The grace antecedence for plus H is spiritual capacity righteousness.
a.  Jn 15:11, “I have taught you these things, that My happiness may be in you, and that your happiness may be fulfilled.”
b.  Ps 31:7a, “I will rejoice and be happy in Your grace,….”
c.  Prov 3:13, “Happiness to the person who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.”
d.  Ps 43:4, “Then I will go to the altar of God, To God the happiness of my happiness; and upon the lyre I shall praise Thee, O God, my God.”
e.  Ps 16:11, “You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of happiness; at Your right hand there are pleasures forever and ever.”
f.  The characteristics of plus H include:
(1)  Tranquility of soul–the perfect soul environment in an imperfect world.
(2)  Contentment of soul–plus H insulates the believer against the injustices of life, the adversities of life, and the people who cause these things.
(3)  Self-motivation in life–plus H is a stimulation factor related to self-motivation, and therefore, a source of enthusiasm, contentment, exhilaration, tranquility of soul in every circumstance of life.
(4)  Capacity Righteousness–plus H cannot exist without capacity righteousness.  God never blesses the believer beyond his capacity.  Spiritual capacity righteousness comes from the function of the spiritual skills and the execution of the protocol plan.  Spiritual capacity righteousness results in plus H and is the basis for personal love for God, impersonal love for others, and occupation with Christ.  1 Pet 1:8; Ps 128:1, “How happy is everyone who is occupied with the Lord, who walks in His ways.”  Ps 146:5-6, “Happiness belongs to the one whose help is in the God of Jacob, whose confidence is in the Lord his God.  Who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them; who guards truth forever.”

H.  Grace versus Arrogance.
1.  Antecedent Arrogance or The Function of the Arrogance Skills.
a.  Antecedent arrogance occurred in eternity past with the fall of Lucifer, son of the morning.
(1)  Satan’s motivation of arrogance is recorded in Isa 14:14, “I will make myself like the Most High God.”  All precedence for the arrogance skills and for the sins of the arrogance complex originate from the prehistoric revolution of Lucifer, who is known to us as Satan or the Devil.
(2)  In Ezek 28:14-17, we have a detailed account of the original function of arrogance.  “You were the anointed cherub who guards [the throne room], and I placed you there.  You were in the holy mountain of God; you walked in the middle of the stones of fire.  you were blameless in all of your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you.  By the abundance of your slander you were internally filled with violence, and you sinned; therefore I have cast you as defiled from the mountain of God.  And I have excluded you, O guardian cherub, out from the middle of the stones of fire.  Your right lobe was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom because of your glamour.  I cast you to the earth; I placed you before kings, that they may see you.”
(3)  As a result of antecedent arrogance, we have the creation of mankind to resolve the prehistoric angelic conflict.  A part of that conflict is the Church Age.  Never before in history has so much been given to the ordinary believer as in this dispensation.
b.  There are three arrogance skills: self-justification, self-deception, and self-absorption.
(1)  The arrogance skills are the greatest enemy of the grace of God and the greatest distraction to fulfillment of the protocol plan of God through the spiritual skills.  The arrogance skills produce more loser believers than any other single factor.  The arrogance skills are the source of legalism and the arrogance complex of sins.
(2)  Christian activism is one of the great illustrations of how all three of the arrogance skills coordinate to distract the believer from the protocol plan of God.
(a)  The evil function of Christian activism demands self-justification.  Christian activism contends that the means justifies the end, and therefore, that leads to the greatest possible self-deception.  However, a wrong thing done in a wrong way is wrong; a right thing done in a wrong way is wrong; a wrong thing done in a right way is wrong.  Only a right thing done in a right way is right.
(b)  The combination of self-justification and self-deception in the believer always results in the defense mechanisms of denial and projection.  Denial is always self-deception because it divorces the believer from spiritual reality and the true content of the infallible word of God.  Projection is always self-justification at the expense of someone else.  Self-justification and projection results in a phenomenal outburst of both the arrogance complex of sins as well as the emotional complex of sins.
(c)  Christian activism becomes a part of this, and is therefore described in the Scripture as dead works, human good, and evil.  The inevitable result of this course of action is locked-in arrogance, called self-absorption.  Combined with denial and projection, self-absorption results in the sins of vituperation, vilification, malice, judging, maligning, gossip, the creation of the public lie.  All of this is the manifestation of the arrogance skills in Christian activism.  Add to this the other sins of the arrogance complex and the spiritual skills are completely immobilized and replaced by the arrogance skills.
(d)  Spiritual skills and arrogance skills cannot coexist in God’s plan.  Either you function under the spiritual skills and advance to maturity, glorifying God, or you fail completely by being involved in the arrogance skills.  When the arrogance skills are operational, the spiritual skills are defunct.  When the spiritual skills are operational, the arrogance skills are defunct.
(e)  All distractions and deviations from the protocol plan of God are justified through the function of the arrogance skills.  Self-justification or crusader arrogance and Christian activism result in self-deception.  Self-deception leads to denial, total divorcement from the reality of Bible doctrine and the evils of Christian activism as well as other forms of legalism.  Self-absorption rejects and reacts to any suggestion that Christian activism is evil.
(3)  Self-righteous arrogance, which is also crusader arrogance, results in self-justification.  The arrogant believer is constantly justifying self.  Self-justification enters into the defense mechanism of denial and the use of projection.  Part of self-deception is being so divorced from reality that you take your own flaws and superimpose them on those around you.  It is described in 1 Jn 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.”  Gal 6:7, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked.  Whatever a person sows, this he will also reap.”  When the believer sows in the arrogance skills, he reaps the most miserable life and becomes a psycho-believer.  Hos 8:7, “He sows to the wind and reaps the whirlwind.”  Gal 6:3, “If anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself and the truth is not in him.”  Self-deception results in self-absorption.  Self-absorption is found in Jam 3:14, “But if you have bitter jealousy and strife in your heart, be not arrogant, and stop lying against the truth.”
2.  The conflict between grace and arrogance is stated throughout Scripture.
a.  Jam 4:6, “But He keeps on giving greater grace.  Therefore it [Prov 3:34] says, “God makes war against the arrogant [believer], but gives grace to the humble [believer].”  God cannot give grace to the arrogant believer.
b.  Jam 4:14-15, “Yet you do not know what kind of life is yours tomorrow.  You are just a vapor trail that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.  But as it is, you boast [in your arrogance], ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that.’”  Believers are designed to have maximum historical impact, but the arrogant believer has no impact at all.
c.  Jer 9:23-24, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the powerful man boast in his power, let not the rich man boast in his riches.  Let him who boasts, boast this, that he understands and knows Me.  That I am the Lord who exercises grace, justice, and righteousness on the earth.’”
d.  2 Cor 10:17-18, “But he who boasts, let him glory in the Lord.  Not he who commends himself is approved, but whom God promotes.”  Boasting in a bad sense is arrogance.  Boasting in a good sense is the spiritual skills.  God never promotes apart from His grace policy related to spiritual capacity righteousness.  God promotes those who are grace oriented.  God promotes on the basis of consistent function of the spiritual skills.  Promotion, then, is a matter of doctrinal inculcation and grace orientation.
e.  1 Pet 5:5b-6, “…and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God makes war against the arrogant believer, but He gives grace to the humble believer.  Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may promote you at the proper time.”
f.  The antidote to the conflict between grace and arrogance is given in 2 Pet 1:2-4, “May grace and peace be multiplied to you for your benefit by means of epignosis doctrine about God and Jesus our Lord, because His divine power has given to us for our benefit everything with reference to life even your spiritual life through the epignosis knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and virtue, through which things He has given to us for our benefit His most valuable and great promises, that through these things you might become partners in the divine endowment, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”  The multiplication of grace refers to the divine initiative of antecedent and eschatological grace.  The final objective in the fulfillment of the spiritual life is the glory of God, and the means of getting there is the virtue of every believer, and that virtue is the function of the three spiritual skills.  The arrogance skills wipe all of this out.  Becoming partners in the divine endowment means equal privileges and equal opportunity for the function of the spiritual life and glorifying God.  It also means equal dividends in the three spiritual skills for the execution of the protocol plan of God.
g.  Rom 12:2-3, “And stop being conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renovation of your thinking, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is absolute good and well pleasing and the mature.  For I say through the grace which has been given to me to everyone who is among you stop thinking of self in terms of arrogance beyond what you ought to think; but think in terms of sanity, as God has assigned to each believer a standard of thinking from doctrine.”  Being conformed to this world is the thinking of the arrogance skills.  The arrogance skills conform to this world.  The spiritual skills are the renovation of your thinking.
(1)  Prov 16:18, “Arrogance precedes destruction, and before a fall there is a lifestyle of arrogance.”
(2)  Prov 29:23, “A persons arrogance will bring him low, but a lifestyle of humility will attain honor.”
(3)  Prov 11:2, “When arrogance comes, then comes dishonor.”
(4)  Prov 13:10, “Through arrogance comes strife, but wisdom is with those who receive instruction.”
h.  2 Tim 3:2-7, “For mankind [believers] will be lovers of self [self-absorption], lovers of money, boastful and arrogant, slanderers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful [failure to attain spiritual capacity righteousness], without a sense of responsibility, devoid of natural affection, implacable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good [without spiritual values], treacherous, thoughtless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a superficial form of the spiritual life [legalism], but they themselves have repudiated its power; in fact avoid such persons as these.  For among them are those who creep into households and seduce silly women who are loaded down with sins, led on by their multifarious lusts, always learning and never able to come to an epignosis knowledge of the truth.”
(1)  The inevitable result of staying with the arrogance skills described in this passage is the destruction of your spiritual life.
(2)  Believers living in the arrogance skills have repudiated the power of the spiritual life, i.e., the spiritual skills, which have been given to them for the execution of the spiritual life.  They have rejected their very own portfolio of invisible assets.  Every believer who rejects the fact of his own spiritual life provided for him in eternity past does not develop the spiritual skills.  Every disaster becomes a warning to him that he is not living the spiritual life.
(3)  We are to avoid such believers as these because often their influence through friendship or through some relationship makes it possible for them to influence a person away from the spiritual skills.  They can be a very dangerous influence on your life.
(4)  “Those who creep into households and seduce silly women” describes the trend toward antinomianism, which is motivated by sex, drugs, criminal lust, etc.
(5)  Once you are involved in the arrogance skills, you may come and listen to the teaching of doctrine, but you are never able to come to an epignosis knowledge of doctrine.  Instead, you are always learning something related to the arrogance skills, such as psychology.
3.  Illustrations of how these arrogance skills work in daily life.
a.  Unrealistic expectation is an area where the arrogance skills function.
(1)  Very few people are loved the way they want to be loved or treated the way they want to be treated.  When this attitude is combined with the arrogance of unhappiness or subjective preoccupation with self, the result is the arrogance of subjectivity.  Out of this comes the fragmented life, which is a totally unhappy life.
(2)  The fragmented believer is not loved the way he wants to be loved and is frustrated and does not have the solution to the misery and frustration which comes with the use of these arrogance skills.  The believer who does not translate the way he wants to be treated is unstable and often jumps from church to church, idea to idea, and from social group to social group.
(3)  Unrealistic expectation is self-deception, in which the believer seeks to solve his frustrations by adding arrogance to arrogance.  This ends up in the arrogance preoccupation with self, which is self-absorption.  Unrealistic expectation is self-absorption.  Unrealistic expectation never takes responsibility for one’s own bad decisions from a position of weakness.  Blaming others (or projection) results in the usual consequences related to arrogance: jealousy, bitterness, hatred, vindictiveness, implacability, self-pity, revenge, slander, maligning, gossip, trying to make others feel guilty so you can manipulate them.  The believer fragments his own life, but he always blames others for his miserable state.
(4)  The arrogance of subjectivity is constantly trying to change other people to conform to one’s own unrealistic expectation.  This is the arrogance of manipulation.  That ends up in self-absorption.  Self-absorption is unrealistic expectation, never realizing that you can only change yourself, you can never change anyone else.
(5)  The arrogance of unhappiness or subjective preoccupation with self is associated with unrealistic expectation.  Unrealistic expectation intensifies the problems of the spiritual life to the point of no return apart from the problem solving devices.  The fragmented believer, involved in subjective preoccupation with self, assumes that certain things will bring happiness, such as, a friendly church.  People, money, prosperity, and success cannot make you happy, only perception of Bible doctrine can produce the sharing of the happiness of God.
(6)  Self-deception is the great problem of the so-called “free-spirit.”  This person recognizes freedom without responsibility and freedom without authority, which is anarchy.  This person is always looking for happiness.  But the more the free-spirit seeks happiness, the more happiness eludes him.  You are not happy because you are free to do what you want to do.  You are free to use your own volition to destroy your own spiritual life and become frustrated, unhappy, and miserable.  The free-spirit associates happiness with some form of stimulation, excitement, and self-indulgence.  The free-spirit can never find happiness, because he seeks it in success, power, money, approbation, fame, pleasure, health, sex, romance, friendship, marriage, control of others.  The problem of the free-spirit can only be resolved by understanding and utilizing the spiritual skills.
b.  Iconoclastic arrogance is a good illustration.
(1)  Iconoclastic arrogance is subjective preoccupation with other people resulting from disenchantment, disillusion, or the feet of clay syndrome.  Iconoclastic arrogance creates an idol through excessive or misguided admiration or love for another person.
(2)  When the iconoclastic believer discovers some sin or flaw in the object of their love, they become disenchanted and react.  The reaction is part of the arrogance skills.  Putting someone on a pedestal is part of those arrogance skills.
(3)  The believer with iconoclastic arrogance is angry at self, but then must justify self, and finally must deceive oneself about the truth of the matter.  He must retain that humanized dignity he has established within himself.  Therefore, he has to be right no matter what the facts of the case may be.
(4)  With the arrogance skills you can only put someone else on a high pedestal for a short time or you can put yourself on a pedestal.  When you discover the feet of clay of the person you have put on a pedestal, you are shocked and react.  When you react, you have to do two things: you have to justify yourself for being dumb enough to make an idol out of that person, and in so doing, you get into self-deception.
(5)  Iconoclastic arrogance destroys friendship, romance, marriage, business relationships, and church relationships.  It is the message of the pastor that counts, not the person of the pastor.  Occasional disappointment with others is normal and easily handled through the function of impersonal love.  But iconoclastic arrogance results in permanent destruction of the spiritual life.
(6)  Principles.
(a)  The arrogant iconoclast never blames himself for what he has done in creating and destroying an idol.  This is the second arrogance skill–self-deception.  In his irrational state of arrogance, he or she fantasizes, and then blames the idol for being created by his own arrogance and for being a normal person with a sin nature.
(b)  Arrogance never takes responsibility for being arrogant.
(c)  Illusion created by arrogance becomes illusion destroyed by arrogance.  What arrogance creates, arrogance also destroys.  A person functioning under the arrogance skills will never have any real, genuine, permanent relationships in life.  They are all superficial and all depend on other people feeding your arrogance.
(d)  Arrogance creates illusion and the fragmented life destroys that illusion.
(e)  Iconoclastic arrogance and the feet of clay syndrome is the inevitable results of getting out of fellowship and just neglecting the spiritual skills.  The result is the polarization of the old sin nature trends resulting in self-justification and self-deception.
(f)  The arrogant reaction of idolizing and rejecting your own icon is the vanity of transferring the blame for your failure onto the icon you have created.  This is denial plus projection.
(g)  Once you transfer the blame for your disillusion, disenchantment, and disappointment to the idol you have created, then you malign, slander, judge, and seek to destroy the idol you have created.
(h)  Arrogance destroys what arrogance creates.
(i)  The feet of clay syndrome is arrogant irrationality of rearranging the doctrine of hamartiology (sin) to make it compatible with your own self-righteousness and with your own legalism regarding the trend of your own sin nature.  Self-righteous arrogance inevitably results in creating a system of self-justification.  Self-justification removes you from reality; you enter into denial; you try to compensate for all of this through projection.
c.  Role model arrogance is a part of iconoclastic arrogance.
(1)  Role is defined as a proper or customary function of an individual.  Society and people in general have assigned certain customary functions to certain activities in life.  When anyone departs from his role model, he is slandered, maligned, criticized, and rejected.  People have a predilection for demanding that everything in life be in its proper place.  Consequently, society resents any deviation from assigned role models.  Therefore, out of this, society develops a double standard which comes from the arrogance skills.
(2)  While a person may excuse his own sins, failures, and flaws, he condemns the role model for the same sins, failures, and flaws, often not realizing he is condemning the role model for his very own failures.  This is the normal function of denial in trying to justify self.  On the one hand, judging the role model for sins from your own trend of the sin nature is hypocrisy, while on the other hand, judging the role model for sins from the opposite trend becomes self-absorption.  Self-absorption results in reinforcing self-deception and reinforcing the pattern of life: I must always be right, therefore, I must find a way to justify self.
(3)  Role model arrogance gravitates toward the trend of self-righteous arrogance and legalism.  Therefore, you have self-justification.  Role model arrogance manufactures hypocrites out of self and victims out of the role model.  That is self-deception.
(4)  Role model arrogance rejects the problem solving devices and substitutes arrogant subjectivity of preoccupation with self and others.
(5)  Role model arrogance ignores the fact that you cannot change others, you can only change yourself.  Role model arrogance demands that others change and become compatible with the arrogant skills of the person in role model arrogance or suffer the consequences.
(6)  Role model arrogance distracts the person in the pew by placing emphasis on the personality or the lifestyle of someone else in the congregation, or the pastor.
(7)  Role model arrogance is a part of iconoclastic arrogance and the feet of clay syndrome.  The double standard of role model arrogance originates from the polarization of the sin nature’s trends toward self-righteous arrogance or legalism, and therefore, self-justification.  Role model arrogance (self-justification) plus unrealistic expectation (self-deception) combine to form the tragic flaw of legalism in the believer (self-absorption).
(8)  The fragmented life of legalism rejects the grace policy of God and enters into a series of sins related to anti-grace, rejecting, therefore, the divine initiative of antecedent and eschatological grace.  The bad combination of unrealistic expectation and role model arrogance forms the tragic flaw of the double standard that never escapes the believer so involved.  The bad combination of unrealistic expectation (self-deception) and role model arrogance (self-justification) results in the polarization of the sin nature trends, and this finally results in self-absorption.  All of this is the great enemy of the Christian way of life.

I.  The Song of Grace Orientation, Psalm 23.
1.  David gave us a preview of coming attractions in the function of grace orientation as the problem solving device of the Church Age.  David knew all about how God had provided for him in eternity past.
2.  God’s grace policy in the promotion of David is stated in 1 Sam 16:7, “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his outward appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”  David had the doctrinal rationales and knew how to apply them to his situation.  He understood and used the faith-rest drill.  He understood and used grace orientation.
3.  Psalm 23 was written during the Absalom revolution, when David had fled from Absalom at the lowest point of his life.  David had lost everything when he fled.  Every phrase in this psalm has a remarkable statement of David’s deployment of the problem solving devices on the FLOT line of his soul.  This is a psalm of grace orientation.  David realized that believers had been distracted by prosperity.  There are two great metaphors in this psalm: the shepherd and the sheep (verses 1-4) and the host and the guest (verses 5-6).  Both of these metaphors are designed to teach us the divine initiative of grace.
a.  Ps 23:1, “A song of David.  The Lord [Jesus Christ] is the one who keeps on shepherding me, I cannot lack anything.”
(1)  In Jn 10:11, when Jesus Christ said “I am the good [honorable, noble] shepherd; and the good shepherd lays down his life as a substitute for his sheep,” He was making a direct reference to this psalm as the future king of Israel in His humanity.  The Lord Jesus Christ is the Shepherd to all who believe in Him.  You become a sheep under the divine initiative of antecedent grace by personal faith in Jesus Christ.  You come into this relationship with God totally apart from any merit.  The analogy to sheep indicates the great power of Jesus Christ as the God-man and only Savior and the total helplessness of the believer.  Grace excludes works at salvation and in post-salvation experience.  There are seven categories of the sheep analogy.
(a)  A sheep cannot guide himself.  It has no sense of direction.  As believers we have no direction after salvation.  We are in lag time after salvation and must be positive to the three spiritual skills to advance spiritually.  The Lord has provided for us the word of God as our shepherd.  We are totally helpless as sheep to break out of lag time.
(b)  A sheep cannot clean himself apart from the shepherd.  Antecedent grace has provided the rebound technique to clean ourselves.
(c)  A sheep is helpless when injured.  Only the Lord Jesus Christ has provided through the divine initiative of antecedent grace what it takes to recover from our own failures.
(d)  A sheep is defenseless.  God has provided the defense systems in the ten problem solving devices on the FLOT line of the soul.  God has provided for our protection through capacity righteousness and logistical grace.
(e)  A sheep cannot find food or water.  Our Shepherd has provided for us our spiritual food and the water of the filling of the Holy Spirit.
(f)  A sheep is easily frightened or panicked.  Our Lord has provided our security.
(g)  While the sheep produces the wool, that wool belongs to the shepherd only.  Our Christian service belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ; it is what He has provided for us.
(2)  The second line indicates the application of the divine initiative of antecedent grace through the concept of logistical grace.  The Lord always meets the needs of any believer.  It is never what you want, but what the Lord wants that counts.  What the Lord wants is your happiness.  At the lowest point in David’s life he said he cannot and did not lack anything.  David knew logistical grace was available to all believers under every circumstance.
(3)  This verse expresses the believer’s relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ whether he is in fellowship or out of fellowship, whether winner or loser, whether spiritual or carnal, whether positive or negative.  This is the grace policy.  God’s grace from eternity past is available to you even though you are a loser and do not even know anything about it.  Even in intensive divine discipline, you do not lack for anything.  No loser ever lost his portfolio of invisible assets.  Your spiritual life is still there, even though you do not live it.
(4)  This verse expresses the divine initiative of antecedent grace in logistical grace.  Grace is in place forever and you can do nothing to cancel it or lose it.  You do not have the power to cancel God’s grace by anything you do.
(5)  Without logistical grace, there would be no equal opportunity for every believer to fulfill the protocol plan of God by becoming an invisible hero.  It is the objective of God’s plan for the believer to manufacture from the divine initiative of antecedent grace a winner–an invisible hero with invisible impact on history.  However, there is a warning, 2 Cor 6:1, “We urge you: do not receive the grace of God in vain.”  2 Tim 2:1, “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”  1 Pet 5:12, “This is the true grace of God.  Stand fast in it.”
(6)  Logistical grace supplies the information and power for a personal sense of destiny.  This eventuates in spiritual adulthood.  David still had the righteousness of God demanding blessing.  Logistical grace includes life support, blessing, and equal opportunity to execute the protocol plan of God for every believer, winner or loser.
(7)  The shepherd metaphor.
(a)  Jn 10:11, “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life as a substitute for his sheep.”  This is amplified in Rom 5:8.  In this concept, the good Shepherd was judged for the sins of the world.  This is analogous to the divine initiative of salvation grace.
(b)  Jesus Christ is the great Shepherd.  That is analogous to the divine initiative of living grace.  Heb 13:20-21, “Now the God of peace, who brought up again from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, Jesus our Lord, equip you with every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.  Amen.”
(c)  Jesus Christ is our Shepherd, analogous to the divine initiative of dying grace.  Jesus Christ is the one who provides for us our very own death-shadowed valley and accompanies us through that valley.  Ps 23:1, “Because the Lord keeps on shepherding me, I cannot lack for anything.”  Compare verse 4; it is impossible for the believer who utilizes living grace not to have dying grace.  Since you cannot lack living grace, you cannot lack dying grace.
(d)  Jesus Christ is the Chief Shepherd.  This is analogous to the divine initiative of eschatological grace in time.  1 Pet 5:4, “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”  The crown of glory belongs to the believer who utilized everything in living grace.
b.  Ps 23:2, “He causes me to lie down in pastures of choice grass; He leads me to waters of refreshment.”
(1)  Lying down in pastures of choice grass is a picture of tranquility from the three spiritual skills for learning doctrine.  The believer must be relaxed and objective when he learns doctrine.  “Choice grass” refers to the uniqueness of Bible doctrine as part of the infallible word of God.
(2)  Being led “to waters of refreshment” refers to the application of doctrine to your life, doctrinal orientation or Operation Z.  True happiness and refreshment is what goes on in your soul.  Metabolized doctrine circulating in your stream of consciousness is your spiritual refreshment.  There is a right way of application of doctrine and a wrong way of application of doctrine.  God the Holy Spirit teaches us how to apply doctrine.  When adversity hits your soul, if you have the problem solving devices deployed on the forward line of your soul, then they handle the adversity.  That is refreshment and how you apply doctrine correctly.  The only legitimate means of applying doctrine (the problem solving devices) is given to you by the grace of God.
(3)  The application of doctrine to experience establishes your spiritual values.  The application of doctrine apart from the use of problem solving devices results in false application, the function of arrogance skills, and distraction from the objective of the spiritual life.
(4)  The waters of refreshment include specific categories of the spiritual life: Operation Z and metabolized doctrine.  The spiritual advantages of Bible doctrine do not exist until that doctrine is located and circulating in your stream of consciousness.  Then you can solve your own problems in the privacy of your own priesthood.
c.  Ps 23:3, “He restores my soul; He guides me in the wagon wheel tracks of righteousness because of His person.”
(1)  The soul out of fellowship must be restored.  Antecedent grace provides for the restoration of the soul from a state of sinfulness.  Restoration of the soul for the Church Age believer is restoration of the filling of the Spirit, recovery of fellowship with God, and perpetuation of the spiritual life through the function of the three spiritual skills.  Where there is neglect of rebound, there is no spiritual life.
(2)  Grace orientation must be distinguished from grace provision.  The subject of grace provision is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  The subject of grace orientation is the believer functioning under the third spiritual skill–the problem solving device of grace orientation.  In the divine initiative of antecedent grace at salvation, there is only one party involved–the Trinity.  The divine initiative of imputed righteousness from God the Father and receiving the righteousness of Jesus Christ through the baptism of the Spirit at salvation does not depend on the believer’s volition.  Both came directly from the divine initiative of grace and no volition was involved.  In the divine initiative of eschatological grace, there is also no human volition involved.  Both antecedent and eschatological grace are the direct provision of grace.  There is indirect grace which involves your volition.  God provides the spiritual skills, but the volition of the believer is involved in a non-meritorious sense.  Grace orientation is a response to the filling of the Spirit plus the perception and metabolization of doctrine.
(3)  In the divine initiative of grace, we have two categories.
(a)  Direct initiative.  No human volition is involved.  Whether you want it or not, God is going to bless you.  God has given you imputed righteousness and you share the righteousness of Christ.  God has given you the righteousness to live with Him forever.
(b)  Indirect initiative.  Human volition is involved.  You are given grace assets to use your volition to develop spiritual capacity righteousness.  In eternity past, God the Father deposited for you greater blessings for time and eternity.  These blessings are in escrow and the conditions of the escrow are the divine initiative of indirect grace.  God provided the spiritual skills as the grace means of fulfilling the conditions of the escrow.  Positive volition will use the spiritual skills to execute the protocol plan of God, develop capacity righteousness, and receive these escrow blessings.
(4)  The “paths of righteousness” refers to spiritual capacity righteousness, which is the only capacity righteousness given indirectly to every believer through the spiritual skills.
(a)  The spiritual skills are the divine initiative of antecedent grace provided in our portfolio of invisible assets in eternity past.  The fact that spiritual capacity righteousness is indirectly given means that believers must use their own volition to rebound and learn the word of God well enough to become familiar with the spiritual skills and how to use them.  God never blesses a believer beyond his capacity.  God can bless a loser believer with lesser blessings because He gave him the capacity for logistical grace blessings at salvation, when He imputed His very own perfect righteousness to that believer.  When attaining spiritual capacity righteousness, the believer must choose the grace provision of the spiritual skills over his own human good, morality, dead works, and evil.
(b)  The Lord both leads us and guides us into the paths of righteousness.  In the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union, the Lord Jesus Christ leads us into the paths of righteousness by setting the precedence in his humanity.  The path made by the wagon wheels is already there for us to follow.  Jesus Christ leads the way.  In the Church Age, He guides us by providing the three spiritual skills for the execution of the protocol plan of God.
d.  Ps 23:4, “In addition to this [previous verse], when I walk through a death-shadowed valley, I cannot fear evil [the manner of dying]; because You [are] with me; Your rod [divine discipline] and Your staff [divine deliverance], they comfort me.”
(1)  In addition to living grace, the Lord has provided dying grace.  The shadow represents your dying.  Your body which intercepts the light represents metabolization of doctrine.  Your capacity for life is your capacity for death.  Uses of the word “death-shadowed” in Scripture.
(a)  In 1 Chr 29:15, a person’s life is compared to a shadow in that it has no permanence and disappears rapidly.
(b)  In Job 17:7, “death-shadowed” is used to describe the failing condition of a person in their last illness.  But here the word has another connotation.  A shadow is a dark figure or an image cast on a surface by a body intercepting light.  The dark side of the shadow is dying, while the intercepted light is Bible doctrine circulating in the stream of consciousness.
(c)  In Job 12:22, he said, using this same noun, “He reveals deep doctrines from darkness [dying] and brings the death-shadow into light.”
(d)  In Job 24:17, Job speaks about the unbeliever facing death, “For the morning is the same to him as the death-shadow; for he is familiar with the terrors of the death-shadow.”  The unbeliever is so frightened by death that the time of day or what’s going on outside means nothing to him.
(e)  Job 34:22, “There is no darkness or death-shadow where the workers of inequity may hide themselves.”
(f)  In Job 38:17, the Lord speaks to Job about this subject, “Have the gates of death been revealed to you.  Or have you seen the death-shadowed gates?”  In all of Job’s testing, the Lord never allowed him to face death.
(g)  There is a dissertation on the grace deliverance of the loser-believer related to this word.  Ps 107:1-2, 10-15, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His grace is everlasting.  Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, …There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the death-shadow, prisoners in stress and chains, because they have rebelled against the doctrines of God, and spurned the instruction of the Most High.  Therefore He humbled their heart with labor; they stumbled and there was no one to help.  Then they cried out to the Lord in their danger; He delivered them out from their distresses.  He brought them out from darkness and death-shadows, and broke their chains apart.  Let them give thanks to the Lord for His grace, and for His wonderful dealings with the sons of men!”
(2)  The dark side of the shadow is the experience of dying.  The intercepting light is the metabolized doctrine applied through the problem solving devices under the filling of the Holy Spirit.  The divine initiative of eschatological grace has provided for every believer his very own death-shadowed valley.  (The only exception is the rapture generation.)  No two death-shadowed valleys are the same.  Some are very short and sudden.  Some are long and twisting.  The same grace principle applies to all believers.  The whole point in being prepared for dying is to intercept the light of the word of God, so that when you go through the death-shadowed valley, you have the light of the word of God circulating in your very own stream of consciousness.
(3)  “Evil” refers to anything related to dying.  The Hebrew word for evil (RA) is used in Jer 39:12 for injury, in Amos 6:3 for a time of distress, in Isa 45:7 for disaster, other passages use it for disease and violent death.  It is associated with disease, adversity, pain, distress, disaster, harm, violence, dying because of someone else’s evil.  Every believer has his very own death-shadowed valley.  It is a time of ultimate blessing for those who have been consistent in the perception, metabolization, and application of doctrine.  You never have to worry about your dying, because God picks the time, the manner, and the place.  This is what it means to have your very own death-shadowed valley.  God keeps you alive long enough to have the capacity to handle every twist and every turn in your death-shadowed valley.  When you cannot handle those things in dying, it is because you did not have spiritual capacity righteousness.
(4)  We can have no fear, when going through our very own death-shadowed valley, because the Lord Jesus Christ goes with us.  Jesus Christ goes through the death-shadowed valley with every believer.  This is David’s application of dying grace, occupation with Christ, and a personal sense of destiny.  There is no excuse for any believer ever having to be afraid of dying, regardless of how you die, as long as you have used the three spiritual skills.  Fear is an emotional sin, the believer’s failure to use the spiritual skills.  The fear principle explains the sin unto death, 1 Jn 5:16b, “There is a sin face-to-face with death.”  The function of worry and anxiety in living results in the function of fear in dying.  There is a sin believers commit while taking the journey through their very own death-shadowed valley: fear, reaction to the fact you are dying, bitterness.  Having your own death-shadowed valley means that God decides the time, the manner, and the place of your death.  The experience of walking through your very own death-shadowed valley is the grace decision, the wise decision, the loving decision of the sovereignty of God.  When we take that journey through the death-shadowed valley, it is God’s victory, which He has given to us.
(a)  1 Cor 15:55, 57, “O death, where is your sting?  O grave, where is your victory?” But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
(b)  No fear in living means no fear in dying, Ps 56:3-4, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in You; In God, whose doctrine I praise; In God, I have put my trust; I will not be afraid.”
(c)  1 Jn 4:18, “Fear does not exist in virtue-love; but virtue-love drives out fear, for fear causes punishment; in fact, the person who is afraid has not been matured by virtue-love.”  Fear intensifies the problems of dying and shuts down the tremendous blessings of going through your own death-shadowed valley.
(5)  If you do not have the problem solving devices deployed on the FLOT line of your soul when the pressure experience of dying comes, then the adversity will become stress in your soul, and the sin nature will control your soul and put your spiritual life out of action when you need it the most.  Divine mandates prohibit fear, Dt 31:6; Isa 34:5, 41:10.  Failure to utilize the problem solving devices to overcome fear, worry, and anxiety in the living phase of your life as a believer will result in walking through your very own death-shadowed valley without benefit and without blessing.  The dying phase of the spiritual life is designed for the greatest blessings of grace.
(6)  A detailed description of the death-shadowed valley is given in 1 Pet 1:3-9, “Blessed be God even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who on the basis of His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living confidence through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is incorruptible and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are guarded by the power of God through faith because of salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though for a little time, if necessary, you have been grieved by many testings, that the testing of your faith, being more precious than gold which perishes, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in the praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the deliverance of your souls.”
(7)  The Jews of the Exodus generation went through their death-shadowed valley while committing the sin face-to-face with death.  1 Cor 10:1-12 teaches that the things that happened to the Jews in the Exodus generation happened as an example for us in the Church Age and were written for our instruction.
(8)  There is a relationship between verse three and verse four.
(a)  In verse three, we have the phrase, “He restores my soul.”  This is a reference to the rebound technique.  The result of rebound gives us the freedom and opportunity to continue our very own spiritual life.
(b)  In verse three, it also says, “He guides me into wagon tracks made by wheels of righteousness.”  This is a reference to spiritual capacity righteousness, attained by the use of the three spiritual skills.  Our guidance comes through understanding from the New Testament Scriptures what has been provided for us to glorify God.
(c)  The attainment of spiritual capacity righteousness through the consistent function of the spiritual skills results in the conveyance of escrow blessings for both time and eternity.
(d)  Since the wagon tracks of righteousness lead the believer to his very own death-shadowed valley, the capacity for living grace becomes the capacity for dying grace.  This is the connection between verse three and verse four.
(e)  The attainment of spiritual capacity righteousness in living grace becomes the capacity for blessing in dying grace.  How well or miserable you die depends on your volition toward doctrine.
(f)  The attainment of spiritual capacity righteousness in living grace is the basis for no fear (Ps 23:4) and profit (Phil 1:21) in dying grace.
(9)  There is a relationship between verse one and verse four in the shepherd metaphor.  Because the Lord is the one shepherding me, I cannot lack anything [in living grace].  Because the Lord Jesus Christ as my grace shepherd accompanies me in the journey through the death-shadowed valley, I cannot be afraid of how I am dying.  There is a definite relationship between the capacity for living grace and the capacity for dying grace.  When, through the spiritual skills, the believer attains spiritual capacity righteousness, there is no fear in the manner of dying and profit in the journey through your very own death-shadowed valley.  Therefore, the attainment of spiritual capacity righteousness in living grace is the basis for profit in dying grace.  This is tantamount to occupation with Christ in living grace being parlayed into profit in dying grace.  If you do not use the problem solving devices now, then you will not use them when you go through your death-shadowed valley.
(10)  In the middle of verse four we move back to living grace.  The rod is blessing from divine discipline.  The staff is blessing from deliverance.  The rod keeps us alert and gives us reality to the grace of God and all that He has done.  The rod refers to God’s grace in the administration of divine discipline to every believer, when the indwelling righteousness of God demands discipline from the justice of God.  What the righteousness of God demands, the justice of God executes.  This is true for both blessing and discipline.  The purpose of divine discipline is to lovingly bring us back into line.
(a)  Prov 22:8, “He who sows iniquity will reap trouble; for the rod of His wrath will be ready.”
(b)  2 Sam 7:14, “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me.  When he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and strokes from the sons of men [I will discipline him through other people].”
(c)  Ps 89:30-32, “If his sons forsake My law, and do not walk in My judgments [the establishment code of the Mosaic Law], if they violate My statutes, and do not keep My commandments, then I will visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.”
(d)  Prov 10:13, “Wisdom is found on the lips of a discerning person, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks heart [metabolized doctrine].”
(e)  Prov 13:24, “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.”  Children will never have a sense of authority unless they are fairly and justly disciplined.
(f)  Prov 22:15, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him.”
(g)  Prov 23:13, “Do not hold back discipline from a child; although you beat him with a rod, he will not die.  You shall beat him with the rod and deliver his soul from death.”
(h)  Prov 26:3, “A whip is for the horse, a bridal for the donkey, but a rod for the back of fools.”
(i)  Prov 29:15, “A rod and reproof give wisdom; but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.”
(j)  Divine discipline as a blessing to the believer is taught in the following passages.
(k)  Prov 3:11, “My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord, or despise His reproof, for whom the Lord loves He disciplines, just as a father, the son in whom he delights.”
(l)  Ps 119:75, “I know, O Lord, Your judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.”
(m)  Heb 12:5-6, “Furthermore you have forgotten the exhortation which is communicated to you as sons, ‘My son, do not despise the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.’”
(11)  The word rod connotes the two categories of punishment: the law of volitional responsibility and the law of divine punitive action.
(12)  The rod is a source of comfort because of the evils of guilt.  Guilt causes people emphasis to supercede God emphasis, resulting in guilt manipulation by legalism.  Guilt eliminates grace orientation from the FLOT line of the soul.  The rod brings us back, replacing the arrogance skills with the spiritual skills.
(13)  The rod is deserved suffering.  But there is also the staff, which is used to deliver the sheep from danger.  Deliverance from danger and divine discipline are both designed for comfort.
e.  Job 5:19-27 illustrates the same concept of grace deliverance in living grace and dying grace.  “In six troubles He will deliver you, furthermore in seven evil will not touch you.  In famine He will preserve you from death, and in combat from the stroke of the sword.  You will be hidden from the lash of the tongue, you will not be afraid of violent death when it comes.  You will laugh [a relaxed mental attitude and sense of humor] at death and famine, even from wild animals of the earth you have nothing to fear.  For you will be secure from the stones of the field; and the beasts of the field will be at peace with you.  Therefore you will know that your tent [human body] is at peace [prosperous, secure], for you will visit your home and fear no loss [of escrow blessing].  You will know also that your descendants will be many, and your offspring as the grass of the earth.  You will come to the grave in full age, like the shucking of corn in its season.  Behold this, we have researched it, this is the gist of it; hear it, and apply it to yourself.”
(1)  The believer cannot be removed from this life apart from the sovereign decision of a very wise and loving God.
(2)  Until God makes that decision, nothing can remove the believer from this life.
(3)  The divine initiative of dying grace is God’s decision; therefore, in His great love and wisdom, He decides the time, manner, and place of our death.
(4)  Our death is God’s victory, and He has transferred the victory to the believer by giving him his own death-shadowed valley.  He has provided Bible doctrine and the three spiritual skills, so that our dying experience will actually be the greatest blessing of our life on this earth.
(5)  No believer can be removed from this earth until God decides to take him home.  No one has the right to question God’s grace, God’s decision, or God’s timing in taking us or our loved ones through the death-shadowed valley.  There are no accidents in the Christian way of life.
(6)  Grace orientation must never be driven off the FLOT line of the soul by the death of a loved one, in order that there be no mental attitude sins.  We utilize the faith-rest drill, a personal sense of destiny, and grace orientation to leave the matter in the hands of the supreme court of heaven, while we keep moving.  We cannot destroy our spiritual life because those whom we love have died and gone to heaven.  Grace orientation in life prepares us for grace orientation in dying.  You have the power from the spiritual skills to carry on.  The attainment of spiritual capacity righteousness in living grace is the profit and blessing in dying grace.
f.  Ps 23:5, “You have prepared [deployed] a table in front of me for my benefit in the presence of my enemies. You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
(1)  Verse 5 is the hospitality metaphor.  Jesus Christ is the host and David is the guest.  As the host, Jesus Christ provides in the divine initiative of grace, a table (the three spiritual skills with emphasis on problem solving devices), the anointing (grace promotion), and the overflowing cup (escrow blessings for time and eternity).  God has provided everything we need for our journey through this life, through our death-shadowed valley, and for the eternal state.
(2)  This psalm was written at the lowest point in David’s life, when he had to flee from his son Absalom’s revolution.  David’s enemies had formerly been his closest friends.  Grace orientation responds to all categories of grace in a manner compatible with grace: no works, no merit, no human good, no intrusion into God’s plan with human resources.  David was at the lowest point of his life and at the highest point of his grace orientation, when he wrote this psalm.
(3)  God is the host and provided a table, analogous to the problem solving devices.  Food on the table refers to doctrine metabolized, forming the problem solving devices.  We are the guests at God’s table.  The prepared table refers to the extrapolation of the problem solving devices from metabolized doctrine and deploying them on the FLOT line of the soul.  God has provided the problem solving devices from the first two spiritual skills and deployed them on the FLOT line of the soul.  David will use the problem solving devices to win the war against Absalom.  David will not lose his anointing as king, 1 Sam 16:13; 2 Chr 21:7.  As a guest, David will not lose the table–problem solving devices.  As a soldier, David will not lose the battle.  As a king, David will not lose the throne and his dynasty will continue forever as a part of God’s unconditional Davidic covenant.  As a mature believer, David will not lose his overflowing cup–escrow blessings.
(a)  The problem solving devices are designed to make the believer spiritually self-sustaining in dealing with every circumstance and problem of life.  Adversity is the outside pressure of life; stress is the inside pressure of the soul.  The problem solving devices have the only solution for you in every circumstance of life.  The problem solving devices are the divine initiative of grace for the prevention of the outside pressures of adversity from becoming the inside pressures of stress in the soul.  The counterattack against stress in the soul is rebound.  David already has a FLOT line deployed before him in his soul.  The table which God provided for David was the problem solving devices in his soul.  In his soul, the victory was already there.
(b)  The problem solving devices are part of the divine initiative of grace for accurate and precise application of metabolized doctrine to experience.
(c)  The problem solving devices are the divine initiative of grace providing the only perfect environment for the soul in history.
(d)  The problem solving devices are the divine initiative in providing spiritual values and self-motivation for perpetuation of your spiritual life.
(e)  The problem solving devices are the divine initiative of grace for providing the greatest happiness and blessing in life regardless of the circumstances of life.
(f)  The problem solving devices are the divine initiative of grace for winning battles in the soul: stress, sin, false doctrine, defense mechanisms.
(4)  Distinguished guests were customarily met at the door when they entered the banquet hall and were anointed with some expensive oil or perfume.  The anointing of the head with oil is a reference to promotion.  David will not lose his promotion as king.  Anointing in the ancient world was a symbol of promotion.
(a)  The antagonism and conspiracy of David’s enemies cannot cancel, destroy, or remove God’s promotion of David.  What God provides in grace, only God can remove.  God’s promotion of you is based on your spiritual life and cannot be cancelled by the antagonism of others.  You can destroy yourself, but conspiracy of others cannot remove God’s promotion.
(b)  Whomever God promotes, cannot be demoted by mankind.  Your promotion is related to what is in your soul, and your enemies cannot take that away from you.
(c)  If God does not promote you, you are not promoted.  You are not promoted because of what others think of you.
(d)  Even though David is facing the adversity of revolution, the power of evil men cannot overthrow the power of God.  “For greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world,” 1 Jn 4:4.  Absalom became arrogant and coveted his father’s throne, but “God makes war against the arrogant believer and gives grace to the humble,” Jam 4:6; 1 Pet 5:5-6.  The fall of Absalom is described in Lk 14:11, “For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be promoted.”  Never covet what the Lord has not given you under the divine initiative of grace.  Jam 4:10, “Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will promote you.”
(e)  God promotes at the proper time, at the right time, 1 Pet 5:6.  Grace orientation is the believer’s response to the divine initiative of grace.
(f)  A personal sense of destiny motivates the continuation and perpetuation of the development of the function of the spiritual skills resulting in promotion.  Promotion implies three things: execution of the protocol plan for the Church and subsequent glorification of God, the distribution of escrow blessings for time and eternity, and becoming an invisible hero with an invisible impact.  The attainment of spiritual capacity righteousness guarantees being filled with all the fullness from God (Eph 3:19).  This is the reality of escrow blessings and the capacity for them.  This is your promotion.
(g)  God is glorified by your promotion.  The promotion is related to the function of spiritual skills, the attainment of spiritual adulthood.  Because of the divine initiative of grace all believers have equal opportunity for promotion.  If we fail to be promoted, it is because we fail to learn and use those spiritual skills.
(h)  If God does not promote you, you are not promoted.  God promotes prepared believers.  Prepared believers are grace oriented.  They are oriented to the divine initiative of antecedent grace in eternity past (your portfolio of invisible assets), the divine initiative of antecedent grace in time (common, efficacious, salvation and post-salvation grace–living and dying grace), the divine initiative of eschatological grace in time (dying grace, interim life, resurrection, judgment seat of Christ, escrow blessings for eternity, ruling during the millennium), and the divine initiative of eschatological grace in the eternal state (a new universe).
(5)  A good host provides three things: the prepared food, the anointing of the honored guest, and the overflowing cup.  The overflowing cup is the spiritual capacity righteousness for promotion plus the conveyance of your escrow blessings for time.
(a)  In the Absalom revolution, David will lose his beloved son Absalom, but he will not lose his spiritual skills, his promotion to king, nor his escrow blessings for time.
(b)  The table, the anointing, and the cup are often compared to hospitality in the ancient world.  The Lord Jesus Christ is the host at the table.  David is our Lord’s guest.  The cup of blessings is grace hospitality from our Lord.  The Host initiates grace hospitality; David responds with grace orientation.
(c)  Under the ancient laws of hospitality, it does not matter who is the guest, but it does matter who is the host.  Hospitality depends on the host, not on the guest; hence, the divine initiative of grace.  David as the guest is the recipient of grace blessing.  He will not lose the table, the anointing, or the overflowing cup.  He is separated from them, but has not lost anything.  David will not lose his cup.  His escrow blessings for time are assured.
(d)  What is true for David is true for you.  When you possess your escrow blessings because you have executed God’s plan, you cannot lose them.
g.  Verse six is the third metaphor–the military metaphor.  Ps 23:6, “No doubt about it, both prosperity [benefit, happiness] and grace will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
(1)  God is the aggressor in the divine initiative of grace.  When God pursues David, there is great blessing.  The momentum of offensive action on the part of the divine initiative of grace results in the blessing of grace pursuit.  For the believer who is faithful in the function of the spiritual skills, the divine initiative of grace results in the pursuit of grace in two categories.
(a)  The believer’s grace orientation to the divine initiative of antecedent grace in time.
(b)  The believer’s grace orientation to the divine initiative of eschatological grace in the eternal state.
(2)  The greatest offensive action in history occurs in the Church Age as the divine initiative of grace.  We are on the defensive against Satan, as per Jam 4:7; 1 Pet 5:9; Eph 6:13.  But the deployment of grace orientation on the FLOT line of the soul results in individual offensive action.  The FLOT line of the soul is not only designed for defensive action against Satan, but is at the same time a staging area for offensive action–the individual initiative of the Church Age believer.  This individual initiative demands consistent use of the spiritual skills for advance to the high ground of spiritual maturity and the greatest impact any one can have in history.  Christian offensive action is designed to utilize the divine initiative of grace to become a winner believer.
(3)  You do not have to look for grace.  In His fantastic mercy, God has provided prosperity and grace, and He pursues you with them.  Grace pursues us; we do not pursue grace.  Ps 89:20, 49 show that David was always pursued by grace.
(4)  “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” is a reference to the divine initiative of eschatological grace in the eternal state.  No one will ever be depressed in the eternal state.  Peter describes the house of the Lord in 2 Pet 3:13, “We are looking forward with confidence to a new heavens and a new earth in which perfect righteousness dwells.”
4.  Grace orientation is grace response to what God has provided in grace.  The response of grace at salvation is a one time decision: believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.  Grace orientation in problem solving devices involves daily decisions regarding rebound, metabolization of doctrine, and the deployment of the problem solving devices on the FLOT line of your soul.
a.  As the fourth battalion on the FLOT line of your soul, grace orientation is the believer’s response to the divine initiative of grace.
b.  The FLOT line of the soul is not only designed for defensive action against Satan, but at the same time the FLOT line of the soul is the staging area for individual initiative of the believer in offensive action to take the high ground of spiritual maturity.  The individual initiative of the believer demands the function of the spiritual skills for the advance to maturity.
c.  The fact we are pursued by grace means that grace orientation is one of two battalions (problem solving devices on the FLOT line of the soul) assigned to offensive action.  The other battalion assigned to offensive action is impersonal love for all mankind.
d.  The offensive action of grace orientation is directed toward all members of the human race.  The support for this offensive action is impersonal love for all mankind.

J.  The Distraction from Grace Orientation by the Arrogance Skills, 2 Cor 12:7-10.
1.  2 Cor 12:7, “And for this reason [the function of blind arrogance] that I should not begin to become arrogant, because of the extraordinary quality of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh for my benefit, an angel from Satan that he might torment me–that I should not begin to become arrogant!”
a.  The arrogance skills (self-justification, self-deception, and self-absorption) are the greatest distraction to the function of the spiritual life.  Even Paul had to be warned and protected from the arrogance skills.  Paul was so concerned about arrogance that he repeated himself twice in the same verse, “that I should not begin to become arrogant.”
b.  The thorn in the flesh was not eye trouble, malaria, migraine headaches, insomnia, epilepsy, baldness, speech impediment, being single, or Jewish persecutions.  Paul does not complain about it.  Paul tells us in verse ten what the thorn in the flesh was: people testing (he was slandered a lot), thought testing (there was a lot of unusual pressure on him), injustices (persecutions), and troubles.  This demon could not possess Paul, because all believers are indwelt by God the Holy Spirit.  The thorn demons probably worked through unbelievers.  The thorn in the flesh produces preventative arrogance skills and momentum from the spiritual skills.
c.  Paul was so concerned about the thorn in the flesh, he prayed for it to be removed.  But this was the wrong thing for which to pray.  There is a reason and purpose for every thing that happens to the believer.  Prayer is not the solution.  Prayer is not a problem solving device; it is the result of the problem solving devices.  Whatever the function of the thorn demons, it brought Paul to the status of preventative arrogance.
d.  The filling of the Spirit never demands that you justify yourself.  When we sin, fail, or are trying to excuse our sinfulness, we try to justify our sins.  This is self-justification.  Then we deny our sins or superimpose our own flaws on others through projection.  This becomes self-deception.  Then we become preoccupied with ourselves as a part of self-absorption.  This is the cycling of the arrogance skills, which moves the believer away from sanity, Rom 12:2-3.
(1)  Biblical documentation for self-justification and self-deception.
(a)  Ezek 7:10, “Behold the day.  Behold it is coming.  Your doom has gone forth.  The rod of discipline has budded, because arrogance has blossomed.”
(b)  Prov 16:18, “Arrogance precedes destruction, and before a fall, there is a lifestyle of arrogance.”  This lifestyle of arrogance is a recycling of the arrogance skills.
(c)  Prov 29:23, “A person’s arrogance will bring him low; but a lifestyle of humility will attain honor.”  Humility is grace orientation.
(d)  Self-justification and self-deception is the subject of 1 Jn 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin [self-justification], we are deceiving ourselves, and the doctrine is not in us.”  Self-justification says, in effect, “I am right, everyone else is wrong.”
(e)  Gal 6:7, “Be not deceived.  God is not mocked.  Whatever a person sows, that will he also reap.”  Self-deception ignores this principle.  Hos 8:7, “They that sow to the wind reap the whirlwind.”  Prov 22:8, “He who sows wickedness, reaps trouble; and the rod of His wrath is ready.
(f)  Gal 6:3, “If anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”
(2)  Self-absorption draws heavily from the arrogance complex of sins for application to experience.  The arrogance skills perform a similar function to the spiritual skills.  The arrogance skills make application of the sins of the arrogance complex and the sins of the emotional complex to experience.  It is actually a blessing for growing believers to be around these kind of people, because it forces you use your grace orientation toward them, which helps you grow up spiritually.  The things that you want to get rid of and do not like are the very things that take you over the hump to the high ground of spiritual maturity.  Do not complain about adversity from these kinds of people.
(3)  For example, the arrogant sin of bitterness is applied to experience through self-absorption.  Bitterness is a reaction sin of arrogance.  If you are bitter against anyone, you are cycling arrogance rather than functioning under the spiritual skills.  People who are bitter inevitably think they are all right and the other person is all wrong.  Bitterness is a reaction sin of arrogance.  Bitterness, as an arrogant sin of self-absorption, refuses to take the responsibility for one’s own bad decisions from a position of weakness.  When you stop taking responsibility for your bad decisions, you are divorcing yourself from reality, you will enter into denial, and eventually you must go to self-deception.  Malice is a recycling of bitterness and motivates revenge.
(a)  Jam 3:14, “If you are bitter and jealous and have strife in your right lobe, stop being arrogant and lying against the truth.”
(b)  Eph 4:31, “All bitterness, both anger and wrath, both quarreling and slander must be removed from you along with all malice, but become kind toward one another [grace orientation], compassionate [impersonal love], even forgiving each other just as God also by means of Christ has forgiven us.”
(c)  Heb 12:15, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.”
(d)  1 Tim 6:4-6 describes the believer functioning under the arrogance skills.  “He is arrogant and understanding nothing; he has a morbid obsession about controversies and verbal conflicts [they have to win an argument; they have to be right], from which originate jealousy, strife [you become a trouble maker], abusive language, evil suspicions; consequently, constant friction between persons of depraved mind [this is describing a Christian marriage] and deprived of doctrine, who assume that the spiritual life is a means of profit, but the spiritual life is a means of great profit, when accompanied by contentment.”
i.  Trouble makers are self-deceived and will justify themselves come what may.  They think they are right because they have a certain biblical doctrine, and that doctrine is already being covered over with scar tissue, because they are wrong.  They are wrong because there is no grace orientation.  Grace orientation is the first battalion on the FLOT line of the soul as a problem solving device to retreat when you begin to cycle arrogance skills.
ii.  Every time you cycle the arrogance skills you depriving yourself of doctrine, because you are building scar tissue on the soul exactly as the Exodus generation did.
iii.  The arrogant believer assumes that if you are spiritual and line up with God, then God is going to bless you and you will not have any adversity.  There is blessing in the spiritual life, but not always the way the arrogant believer thinks.  If the Lord had answered Paul’s prayer to take away his adversity, then Paul would never have reached maturity.  Contentment is sharing the perfect happiness of God, a problem solving device.  The profit is in using the problem solving devices.
(e)  Jam 3:16, “Where jealousy and strife exist, there is unruliness [in the soul] and evil deeds.”
(f)  2 Cor 12:20, “For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there may be strife, jealousy, anger, flared tempers, disputes, slander, gossip, arrogance, disturbances.”  Where a congregation of believers are dominating by the cycling of the arrogant skills, it is a congregation in confusion.
(g)  Jam 4:2, “You continue to lust and do not have [doctrine]; you murder; furthermore you are jealous; consequently, you are not able to obtain [the problem solving devices]; instead you fight and quarrel.  You do not have because you do not ask.”
(4)  The solution is given in Gal 5:25-26, “If we live by means of the Spirit, let us also advance by means of the Spirit.  Let us not become arrogant, challenging one another, being jealous of each other.”
2.  2 Cor 12:8, “Concerning this I implored the Lord three times, ‘Make it go away from me.’”
a.  It is not wrong to pray for people that are sick and it is not wrong for people who are sick to pray for help, but prayer is not a problem solving device.  You were designed to learn and utilize the spiritual skills and deploy the problem solving devices on the FLOT line of your soul.
b.  We live in an age of the greatest power that has ever been given to the ordinary believer.  The power at your disposal is phenomenal, but you will never touch it without straightening out your values and functioning on a consistent basis with the spiritual skills.  You do not need a miracle from God; you have far superior power to miracles.  God does not need to perform miracles, when He has given us assets that were pioneered and tested by Christ in the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union.  You have more power available to you than all of the Old Testament miracles put together.
c.  Offering this prayer three times was an abuse of prayer by Paul.  Paul prayed intensely and urgently for this suffering to be removed.  Paul was wrong to use prayer because this called for the use of the problem solving devices.  If God had answered Paul’s prayer, Paul would have missed out on one of the greatest blessings of life–spiritual maturity–and it would have set Paul back in his spiritual life.  The Lord did not even answer Paul until after he had prayed the wrong prayer three times.
d.  What the Lord does not remove by way of intense suffering, He intends for us to resolve through the ten problem solving devices on the FLOT line of our soul.  You do not pray about adversity, you use your problem solving devices.  Four problems hit Paul at the same time and he lost control of the FLOT line of his soul.  Stress had temporarily gotten into his soul.
e.  Prayer is a vehicle for use of certain problem solving devices.  Prayer is not a problem solving device.
(1)  “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me,” relates the problem solving device of rebound to prayer.
(2)  Prayer is a vehicle whereby grace orientation makes application to our experience.  “Coming boldly to the throne of grace” means that it is the problem solving device that makes prayer effective, not prayer solving a problem.  The solution comes through grace orientation, not through prayer.
(3)  The faith-rest drill uses prayer, Mt 21:22, “Everything you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.”
(4)  Jude 20, “Praying by means of the Holy Spirit,” indicates that the filling of the Spirit as a problem solving device is related to prayer.
f.  Prayer is a function of our royal priesthood whereby we fulfill petition for our own needs and make intercession for others.
g.  Thorn in the flesh suffering is designed for development and utilization of grace orientation on the defense line of the soul.  Paul’s suffering in 2 Cor 12:7-10 is designed to be part of the principle of Rom 8:28, “For we know that to those who love God, He causes all things to work together for good, even to those who are called on the basis of a predetermined plan.”
(1)  Paul’s thorn in the flesh suffering is the divine initiative of grace.  It is a grace gift from God designed for the function of the problem solving devices, specifically grace orientation.  You must face a thorn in the flesh experience prior to reaching maturity.
(2)  Thorn in the flesh suffering is a case of God working all things together for good.  Therefore, the deployment of grace orientation and personal love for God the Father are the two things which go together in this concept.  God will cause the thorn suffering in Paul’s life to work together for good, not through prayer, but through the function of the problem solving devices.
(3)  God’s plan calls for suffering for blessing in order to execute His protocol plan for the Church.  It is inevitable that we will have spiritual combat experience, and we will be either winners or losers at that point.
(4)  It is the combination of thorn suffering and the deployment of the problem solving devices on the FLOT line which executes the protocol plan of God.  We are mandated to take the defensive against Satan and take the offensive in the spiritual life by growing up spiritually.  If you are going to grow up, you are going to do so through grace orientation on the FLOT line of your soul.  The spiritual life is offensive; it is designed for advancing.  However, you maintain the defensive against Satan.  Spiritual combat is not a matter of prayer, but a matter of using the problem solving devices.  People misuse prayer by asking for things they already have or asking for things they should not have.
(5)  Execution of the protocol plan of God not only glorifies God but also creates the invisible hero, the unique product of God’s grace.
(6)  If God answered Paul’s prayer and removed the suffering, it would destroy the only offensive action that Paul had to take the high ground of spiritual maturity.  The offensive is the day-by-day function of the spiritual skills, not against Satan but toward God.
(7)  Spiritual momentum from the spiritual skills glorifies God through the execution of His plan, will, and purpose.
h.  It is part of God’s plan for Paul at this time to combine his suffering with grace orientation and personal love for God the Father, in order to make the final advance to the high ground of spiritual maturity.  Out of this will come the greatest blessing of Paul’s life.  When you have finally been trained for combat, God sends you the most difficult suffering of your life so you can use the problem solving devices, not prayer.  Paul asks God to make it go away.  If God had done what Paul had asked, God would have had to remove the blessing.  To answer Paul’s fervent prayers would have set Paul back in his spiritual life.
i.  The function of the problem solving devices on the FLOT line of the soul take precedence over any system of prayer or begging God for the removal of the suffering and adversity involved.  Suffering is your friend, not your enemy.  You do not want suffering for blessing to be removed.  Use your problem solving devices.  Certain categories of suffering for blessing are absolutely necessary for spiritual momentum for the execution of the protocol plan of God and glorifying God.  When you pass this kind of a test, the elect angels are standing and cheering for you.
(1)  There is far greater power in the problem solving devices deployed for action against suffering than the power of suffering to destroy the spiritual skills with the arrogance skills.
(2)  Therefore, what suffering God does not remove, He intends for us to bear; not through prayer, which is not a problem solving device, but through problem solving devices, especially grace orientation.
(3)  The problem solving devices are designed to deal with every category of suffering in life.  Therefore, in many cases, the suffering is designed for blessing.  Every category of suffering is designed through the problem solving devices to add momentum and blessing to your spiritual life.
(4)  Remove the suffering and you remove the blessing.  Take suffering out of your life and you have destroyed your momentum.  When you pray “Oh, God take the suffering away,” you are a loser in the spiritual life because you have rejected the grace of God by not using the problem solving devices.
(5)  Suffering is designed by God as a field training exercise, preparing us for every crisis in life.  The removal of suffering is not a solution, but the means of using the ten problem solving devices for application to the suffering.  The solution is in using the problem solving devices.  God intends for us to go through suffering with flying colors.  Paul’s three prayers were asking God to make him stop advancing to maturity–to take the suffering away so he would not have to use the problem solving devices.  God was not about to answer this prayer.
(6)  David won the battle before the battle began through the use of problem solving devices, not because he prayed.  The battle is always won before the battle begins when you have ten problem solving devices on the FLOT line of your soul.
(7)  In suffering, the solution is not prayer, but the function of the ten problem solving devices deployed on the FLOT line of your soul.  The divine initiative of grace delivers in suffering, not from suffering.
(a)  You never pray to God, where you have failed to use your own volition.
(b)  Prayer has many wonderful and fantastic uses, but is not a problem solving device.  Effective prayer is a result, but never the means of spiritual momentum.  Like all forms of Christian service, prayer is a result of the spiritual skills and spiritual life.
(c)  Prayer is a vehicle for the function of the basic problem solving devices: rebound, filling of the Spirit, faith-rest drill, grace orientation, doctrinal orientation.  Prayer is effective because of the function of the problem solving devices.  Prayer has no effect without them.
(d)  Believers who pray for a miracle never understand the power and grace of God.  Miracles are performed by the sovereignty of God without the help of believer’s prayers.  The believer who prays for a miracle does not understand the grace of God.  Most people praying for miracles are recycling the arrogance skills and are losers full of self-absorption.
j.  Paul made the wrong application of prayer.  He used prayer as the wrong solution for suffering.  Paul is doing a right thing in a wrong way.  Prayer is not a problem solving device.  The answer is not prayer but the function of grace orientation on the FLOT line of his soul.  Paul’s prayer is tantamount to a retreat from the FLOT line of his soul.  The solution to suffering is the divine initiative of grace–the provision of the three spiritual skills.
k.  Concluding Principles.
(1)  Suffering is not your enemy.  Suffering is your friend, when it is designed by God for your blessing.  You want your friend to stay so you can use the problem solving devices.
(2)  The divine initiative of grace includes the principle of suffering for blessing.  The greatest advances in the spiritual life are made through the barrage of suffering.  No one is ever strong by avoiding the barrage of suffering.
(3)  The divine initiative of grace includes spiritual momentum through suffering, not spiritual momentum avoiding suffering.
(4)  When the believer is functioning through the spiritual skills, suffering is designed for his blessing and for his advance.
(5)  When suffering is designed for blessing, suffering is your friend, not your enemy.
(6)  The spiritual skills plus suffering for blessing equal momentum in the spiritual life, which results in the execution of the protocol plan of God for the Church.  This is where you take the offensive in the spiritual life.
(7)  Execution of the protocol plan of God for the Church results in: glorification of God, invisible impact for Christ, conveyance of your escrow blessings for time and eternity, and going through your very own death-shadowed valley in the most magnificent way.
3.  2 Cor 12:9, “Then He assured me for my benefit, ‘My grace has been and still is sufficient for you; for My power is put into effect [made operational, accomplished, carried out, fulfilled] in the status of weakness [grace orientation].  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may reside in me.’”
a.  “My grace has been and still is sufficient for you” is an idiom, meaning, “You need nothing more than My grace.”  God assured Paul that he was on the right track in his spiritual life.  He only needed to go back to grace orientation to handle the problem.  It is not prayer that handles the problem of suffering, but the problem solving devices.  There is no effective prayer without the problem solving devices in your soul first.
b.  Grace orientation is the believer’s response to the divine initiative of grace.  Grace is all that God is free to do for mankind without compromising His essence or nullifying His attributes.  Grace is undeserved suffering, undeserved support, which God freely gives to all mankind.  Grace is the divine system that permeates biblical theology and all human experience.  Grace does not start with mankind, but originates with God.  Therefore, grace is not earned, deserved, or merited by human works, human resources, or human ability.  God’s grace precedes human life on earth, and is, in fact, part of His divine essence.  Motivated by divine love, God’s grace takes the initiative in eternity past and, combined with divine omnipotence, provides the most fantastic things for you as a believer.  “My grace has been” is the divine initiative of antecedent grace in eternity past, “and still is” is the divine initiative of antecedent grace in time.
c.  Grace orientation responds to the divine initiative of antecedent grace in eternity past as well as in time.  Grace orientation is the response of metabolized doctrine to the divine initiative of antecedent and eschatological grace.  In the grace policy of God, the divine initiative of grace always precedes the grace response.  This is true in common grace, efficacious grace, logistical, living grace or post-salvation, dying grace, and eschatological grace.
d.  Which comes first, the problem solving device or prayer?  Rebound, the filling of the Spirit, the faith-rest drill, grace orientation, and doctrinal orientation must all be operational in the soul before God will even listen to your prayers.  A personal sense of destiny means you are using prayer effectively.  Personal love for God the Father is the motivation for prayer.  Your prayers are never answered where you do not have impersonal love.  Sharing the happiness of God is self-motivation for effective prayer.  Occupation with Christ is the only way you can ever understand certain areas of prayers.
e.  The divine initiative of grace related to the power of Christ is the issue in 2 Cor 12:7-10 and in Phil 4:13, “I have the power [portfolio of invisible assets] to attain all things [execution of protocol plan of God] through Him [Jesus Christ] who keeps on pouring the power [filling of the Spirit and metabolized doctrine] into me.”  The filling of the Spirit is a grace gift from the Lord Jesus Christ to the royal family as the first power option of the protocol plan of God.  The second power option is the infallible word of God, which is called “the mind of Christ” in 1 Cor 2:16.  These two power options are the power which our Lord keeps on pouring into us and were given to us as a matter of grace.  This is why when we are weak (not depending on our own human ability, talent, power, personality), we are strong.
(1)  As a result of the heritage of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union, we have two power options and one great precedence.  Whether you ever use these three or not is optional; it depends on whether you learn, understand, or are interested in learning these things.
(2)  You are the only one who can live your spiritual life.  No one else can live it for you.  But you cannot live it without divine power and precedence, the divine power of the divine initiative of antecedent grace in eternity past and in time.
f.  The Lord’s power is made operational or put into effect in the status of weakness.  This is not the weakness of the loser, but weak in the sense of grace orientation.  Grace orientation looks at your suffering the way it looks at your blessings–from the standpoint of the FLOT line with the problem solving devices.  You have the capacity for both blessing or suffering.
(1)  Weakness emphasizes the status of the believer with grace orientation on the FLOT line of his soul.  When you have grace orientation on the FLOT line of your soul, you recognize your own inability to solve your problems, and, above all, anyone else’s.  Grace orientation is the total absence of human merit and human ability to solve problems.  Once you have grace orientation on the FLOT line of your soul, then you use the power and precedence of Christ.  Grace orientation is self-motivation of the believer to use the power of God through the spiritual skills.
(2)  The grace of God excludes all human power, all human dynamics, all good works as leverage.  When you use good works as leverage, you use it in two directions: toward people and toward God.  They use their life as leverage to manipulate other people and God.
(3)  Grace depends on who and what God is, not your attempt to redecorate God to suit yourself.  You have not been called to redecorate people to suit your taste.  Human solutions are no solutions.
(4)  Grace is the total absence of human merit or ability to solve problems.
(5)  The divine initiative of grace provides for the deployment of problem solving devices on the FLOT line of the soul.
(6)  Therefore, grace orientation is the self-motivation of the believer to use the power of God through the three spiritual skills.  The power is located in the first two spiritual skills; the precedence is located in the third spiritual skill.  You can have power and precedence or you can have pride and prejudice, and no one can make that decision for you.
g.  The final statement in this verse is an elative conclusion.  It is one of the greatest statements on the grace of God that has ever existed.  The word “elative” describes a grammatical construction and a very rare classical Greek idiom.  The elative conclusion puts grace in its proper perspective.  An elative is a combination of a superlative and a comparative adjectival or adverbial form denoting inclusion and exclusion.  The superlative always takes the position of what is included and the comparative always takes the position of what is excluded.  The superlative always tells you what is God’s solution and the comparative tells you what is not God’s solution.  In this passage, grace orientation is included as God’s solution and prayer is excluded as not God’s solution.
(1)  Elative is grammatical nomenclature for a combination of a superlative and comparative to denote superiority, inclusion, and exclusion.  What is excluded (human solutions) is never a part of God’s plan.  What is included is grace.  Human solutions and divine solutions are mutually exclusive.
(2)  The elative emphasizes solution to suffering rather than reaction to suffering.  Paul’s prayer for the removal of suffering is reaction to suffering, the dominance of self-absorption plus the arrogance complex of sins.  All wrong solutions intensify suffering.  Illustration: adversity converted into stress.
(3)  The power of the elative is dramatically portrayed in the fact Paul says boasting in weaknesses (grace orientation) is better than prayer.  This is not true when you are using prayer properly and the divine solution of the problem solving devices on the FLOT line of the soul.  Boasting in weakness is a testimony to the deployment of grace orientation on the FLOT line of the soul.  Boasting is grace orientation, recognition of helplessness.  Prayer for the removal of thorn suffering is the wrong approach; it is a human solution.  Suffering for blessing is something for which you cannot pray.  You can pray for illness, sickness, all kinds of problems and difficulties, but not for a thorn in the flesh.
(a)  Paul was using prayer as leverage to try to get God to do Paul’s will, not God’s will.  He used prayer as leverage to try and superimpose his own will over the sovereignty of God.
(b)  Paul’s three intensive prayers converted a legitimate spiritual function into an instrument of legalism and blasphemy.
(c)  This is why God the Holy Spirit must often make intercession for us in prayer.  Rom 8:26-28, “And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes with groaning too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what is the thinking of the Spirit, because He makes intercession as a substitute for the saints on the basis of the will of God.  Now we know that to those who love God He causes all things to work together for good, to those who are called according to His predetermined plan.”
(d)  There is no effective prayer apart from the problem solving devices deployed on the FLOT line of the soul.  The problem solving devices are the only accurate and legitimate means of the application of doctrine to experience.
(e)  Prayer is not a problem solving device; for prayer depends on the problem solving devices for its effectiveness.  Prayer is not designed to manipulate other people or to use leverage to manipulate the sovereignty of God.
(f)  Under the sponsorship of the problem solving devices on the FLOT line of the soul, prayer becomes a very powerful instrument for Christian service and for your own petitions to God.
(4)  Better to boast about weaknesses than to pray for the removal of suffering for blessing.
(5)  Paul cannot boast in the divine solution, because the divine initiative of grace is designed for weakness.  Therefore, Paul would much rather boast in that which lines up with grace.  By boasting in his weaknesses, Paul is using grace orientation.  He recognizes that only God can do anything about his thorn suffering.
(6)  The elative emphasis provides shock emphasis, i.e., boasting is better than prayer in this case, because the thorn suffering is suffering for blessing.
(7)  Boasting in weakness emphasizes the doctrine of power and precedence.  Grace orientation says in effect that the divine solution is based on the function of divine power and precedence.  The divine power is located in the first two spiritual skills and the precedence is located in the function of the humanity of Christ in Hypostatic Union.
(8)  Paul is boasting in the helplessness brought on by the thorn in the flesh suffering.  Paul is now boasting in the fact that there is no human solution, no prayer solution, and no manipulation of God through leverage.
(9)  The function of grace orientation on the FLOT line of the soul is the divine solution which glorifies God.
(10)  The divine initiative of grace is designed to glorify God, never mankind.  Any time you can boast, it is not glorifying God.
(11)  The prepositional phrase “about my weaknesses” the dative plural of reference is like the accusative; for it extends the action of the verb “boasting” to human weakness.  The elative emphasis combines the superlative with the comparative to emphasize a very important point of doctrine: God has a monopoly on solutions that work.  Human solutions are no solutions.  The elative emphasis presents the fact that prayer for deliverance and miracles often becomes legalism and arrogance.  How dare you ask God for a miracle when He has provided for you the greatest portfolio of invisible assets in history.  That’s arrogance.  God has provided for Paul the solution, and it is not prayer.  The prayer for the removal of the thorn is the blasphemy of ordering God to follow Paul’s desire and judgment in the matter rather than God’s sovereign wisdom and judgment in the matter.  By boasting about his weaknesses, Paul acknowledges his understanding of the grace solution of God and is saluting the grace solution of God.  What is relevant is not the fact that Paul is hurting.  What is relevant is the fact that God has provided the solution.
h.  The word “weakness” emphasizes the total helplessness of the believer to solve the problems of life through human ability, human viewpoint, human works, or human merit, therefore, no human leverage to manipulate God through prayer, morality, legalism, or the emotional complex of sins.  Paul used prayer as an instrument of legalism.  “Weakness” emphasizes the status of the believer in the deployment of grace orientation on the FLOT line of the soul.  “Weaknesses” means no illusions about human solutions to the problems of life.  Grace always depends on who and what God is, never on who and what mankind is.  Human solutions are no solutions.
i.  In boasting about his weaknesses, Paul is giving testimony to the doctrine of power and precedence, because the doctrine of power and precedence says that only the divine initiative of grace can solve problems.  “Boasting” is preceded in the Greek by the elative emphasis–by a superlative adverb and a comparative adverb.  It denotes the superiority of the divine solution and the exclusion of the human solution.  The elative emphasis is greater and more than, greatest and more than, best and more than.  Boasting about weaknesses, therefore, is a testimony to the exclusion of human ability to solve problems and the inclusion of divine solutions to solve problems.  Boasting in weaknesses is a testimony to power and precedence, the doctrine of the word of God, which is the very backbone of your spiritual life.  Both the power and the precedence came from the humanity of Jesus Christ during His First Advent.  He gave the filling of the Holy Spirit and Bible doctrine to Church Age believers.
j.  Principles.
(1)  Weakness in suffering demands the application of grace orientation to the situation for that suffering to be converted into blessing.
(2)  Suffering does not transmit or bear its meaning in itself, but suffering becomes a spotlight for focusing attention on the divine initiative of grace.
(3)  The issue in adversity is not the suffering but the divine solution, the grace solution, the deployment of the problem solving devices on the FLOT line of your soul.
(4)  Remove the suffering and you remove the solution.  You become strong through divine solutions.
(5)  Remove the suffering and you remove the blessing.  Asking God to take away the suffering is trying to make your will God’s will.
(6)  Remove the suffering and you fail to advance in the spiritual life.
(7)  Blessing is in the solution, not in the suffering.  You cannot have blessing apart from divine solutions to life.  You cannot have blessing and solutions apart from deploying the ten problem solving devices on the FLOT line of the soul.  The existence of suffering is the challenge to apply the divine solutions, therefore, if you remove the suffering, you remove the blessing.  No one takes the high ground of spiritual maturity without advancing through the barrage of suffering for blessing.  There is no way you can have blessings without divine solutions.  There is no way you can have solutions without suffering.
k.  The divine initiative of grace permits the suffering, and provides the grace solution, which creates blessing and glorifies God.  All divine solutions are grace solutions, which exclude human solutions.  God is definitely going to give you suffering for blessing, so that, through your daily perception of doctrine, you will deploy the problem solving devices on the FLOT line of your soul, and not try to use prayer as leverage to coerce God to make the suffering go away.  You do not solve your problems by praying for them, but by using the problem solving devices.  The Lord said suffering is not a matter of prayer, but a matter of grace orientation.
(1)  The elative conclusion emphasizes the fact that divine solutions are grace solutions which exclude human solutions, including the misuse of prayer.  The elative emphasizes the absolute doctrine that the divine solution is infinitely superior to both human problems and the human attempt to solve those problems apart from the use of God’s problem solving devices–the divine solution.
(2)  Grace solutions exclude all human solutions, including legalism, psychology, defense mechanisms, arrogance skills, the arrogance complex of sins, leverage, and manipulation.  When you use leverage and manipulation toward other believers, it is called legalism.  When you do so toward God, it is called blasphemy.
(3)  The elative conclusion emphasizes the fact that the deployment of the problem solving devices on the FLOT line of the soul turns the protocol plan of God into offensive action, takes the high ground to spiritual maturity, provides the believer with the divine solutions and momentum in the spiritual life, blessing in the spiritual life, glorification of God, and the dynamics of invisible heroship through the function of the spiritual skills.  The elative conclusion emphasizes the solution to suffering rather than reaction to suffering.
(4)  The elative conclusion emphasizes inclusion and exclusion–what the divine solution is and what the divine solution is not.  The divine initiative of grace permits thorn suffering and provides the divine solution.  The divine initiative of grace excludes blasphemy of trying to manipulate God through prayer, which turns prayer into an instrument of legalism.
(5)  Principles of Application.
(a)  Believers place great emphasis on quick solutions.  For example, people are no better in marriage than they are as people.  Therefore, the solution to marital problems is exactly the same as the solution to thorn problems–the elative emphasis.
(b)  The elative emphasis is the way of explaining what is the answer and what is not the answer.  The elative emphasis says divine solutions are the only solutions, and divine solutions are activated through the consistent function of the three spiritual skills.
(c)  Divine blessings come from divine solutions.  Divine solutions include grace orientation on the FLOT line of the soul.  Therefore, “My grace has been and still is sufficient for you.  My power is put into effect in the status of weakness.  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses.”  God’s initiative of grace permits thorn suffering and provides the perfect, unique, grace solution.
l.  “Boasting about weakness” is recognition of helplessness to solve the problem through human ability.  “Weakness” emphasizes the total helplessness of the believer to solve the problems of life through human ability, human works, and human merit.  “Weakness” also emphasizes the fact that good works and evil are never problem solving devices.  Weakness means no illusions about human solutions to the problems of life.  Neither prayer nor Christian service are ever effective without the function of the three spiritual skills.  “Boasting in weaknesses” is Paul’s recognition that power and precedence removes prayer as a problem solving device.  “Boasting in weakness” is grace orientation.  Better to boast in weakness than to pray for the removal of suffering for blessing.  The elative conclusion: the divine solution is the only solution.
(1)  Weakness is always searching for solutions, but always comes up with human solutions (which include the misuse of prayer and Christian service).
(2) Grace orientation motivates weakness to search for strength.  Therefore, out of weakness comes strength.  Human strength is incompatible with divine power, but human weakness is compatible with the power of God, when problem solving devices are making a reconnaissance to come to the divine solution for weakness.
(3)  Grace orientation is the strength of human weakness.
4.  2 Cor 12:10, “Therefore, on behalf of Christ I am content with my weaknesses, with vilifications, with adversities, with persecutions, with troublemakers; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
a. There is great power and strength in weakness.  “Weaknesses” here indicates the thorns, and is used here in the sense of helplessness, incapacity, and being powerless.  Weaknesses are the basis for the function of grace orientation.  Weaknesses is used here to present four categories of thorn suffering.
(1) Vilification means being the victim of someone else who is functioning in the arrogance skills, resulting in the arrogance complex of sins and eventuating in the emotional complex of sins.  This is being the victim of the antagonism of someone else.
(a)  There is a Christian bureaucracy which administers the first thorn through vilification, vituperation, or the function of malice.  It does this through hard core legalist believers recycling the arrogance skills.  They are totally immature believers.
(b)  There is a problem of arrested development of human maturity as unbelievers which overflows into post-salvation experience and becomes a great hindrance to that believer.  There are two basic failures in life which result in the arrested development of human maturity: the function of negative volition toward authority and the function of childhood defense mechanisms used in adulthood.  Defense mechanisms combine with the three arrogance skills to arrest your human advance to maturity.  As a believer, you become a member of a hard core legalistic bureaucracy, which administers vilification and vituperation to growing believers.  This can be called the post-salvation immaturity hangover.
(c)  The arrogant bureaucracy spends all of its time trying to straighten out everyone else.  They try to make others over into what they think people should be.  They are horribly critical of anyone who is not like them.  This bureaucracy exists in every church.  They are troublemakers.
(d)  What is the pattern of this immaturity hangover from childhood?  The function of the arrogance skills continue to follow the pattern of recycling with devastating results: perpetual sin nature control of the soul, the arrogance skills are parlayed into the arrogance complex of sins and the arrogance complex of sins result in the irrationality of the emotional complex of sins, the trends of the sin nature result in self-righteous arrogance and the stubbornness of legalism or escape into antinomianism, the stages of reversionism, and Christian moral or immoral degeneracy.
i.  The imbibing stage of the hangover is analogous to the problems of childhood, adolescence, and youth.  The drunkenness status is the use of defense mechanisms to deal with the problems of childhood and youth.
ii.  The defense mechanism which helped you as a child destroys you as an adult.  The defense mechanisms are part of the childhood inebriation, childhood factor.  Arrogance skills are part of the hangover in adulthood.  Being rejected and ridiculed by your peers, you build a wall of denial around yourself that keeps out reality.  Confrontation with other children leads to projection.  In denial, there is either no perception of reality or rejection of reality.  Because you are in denial, you never see yourself as wrong in anything.  Projection is the sin nature adjustment to human relationships involving all of the arrogance skills.  In self-deception, you fail to recognize that you have caused some of the problem between yourself and others.
iii.  Self-deception is closely related to rationalization.  Rationalization is a defense mechanism in which a person devises self-serving or reassuring but incorrect explanations of his or her own behavior or that of another person.  In this self-serving, you always explain your behavior as right and proper and justified, and that of someone else as wrong.  Whatever doctrine you have learned is damaged by continued use of the defense mechanisms as an adult.  Problems in adulthood bring you right back to childhood defense mechanisms rather than the use of the problem solving devices of the protocol plan of God.  This leads to dissociation.
iv.  There is a definite relationship developed between the defense mechanisms and the arrogance skills.  The arrogance skills become an almost automatic function for you to survive.  You solve all of your problems in day-dreaming.  This is self-absorption, autism, isolation, resulting in delusion.  You belong to a bureaucracy which will always function the same way–the administrating of thorn suffering through vilification of others.  Your motivation will be jealousy, bitterness, malice, implacability, revenge motivation, etc.  The result of autistic fantasy (day-dreaming) is unrealistic expectation.  This is how you get beyond your capabilities.
v.  As an adult, the false panaceas of life come into function.  The false panaceas of life result from failure to understand and utilize the problem solving devices as the only legitimate system for the application of doctrine to experience.  Delusion creates false panaceas such as prayer as a panacea to the problems of life.  You cannot recover in a day what you lost over a long period of time.  There is no permanent solution to the problems of life apart from the spiritual skills, especially the use of the problem solving devices.
(e)  The sin nature control of the life creates this arrogance bureaucracy.  This bureaucracy is made up of Christian moral degeneracy.  One of the functions of the pastor is to protect you from these Christians by teaching you the doctrine to see these people for what they are and how to use the problem solving devices to deal with them.  You cannot persuade the hard core legalist that he is ever wrong.  They are dogmatic, stubborn, and never wrong.  Self-righteous arrogance justifies everything they are doing.  Their self-deception develops false panaceas (e.g., that marriage and prayer can solve all the problems of life) and advocates utopian socialism as the solution to human suffering.  Self-absorption adopts human morality as the substitute for the dynamics of the spiritual skills and subsequent virtue.
(f)  The Christian bureaucracy rejects the doctrines of the infallible word of God as taught by the pastor-teacher.  Believers become agents for the administration of the first category of thorn suffering.  This bureaucracy also has an unbeliever part, as illustrated by Judaism.  God uses the wrath of the bureaucracy to praise Himself.  God uses the bureaucracy by letting them run amuck, because no one reaches maturity until he passes the thorn in the flesh suffering, which lasts over a period of time.  Believers out of fellowship with no interest in doctrine are the worst monsters in the human race.
(2)  The second thorn in the flesh is the outside pressures of adversity found in eight categories.  The second thorn suffering definitely requires that you have the ten problem solving devices on the FLOT line of the soul to prevent the outside pressures of adversity from becoming the inside pressure of stress in the soul.
(a)  The eight categories of adversity are:
i. Historical disaster or national trauma–economic depression, tyranny from crime, malfunction of law enforcement in the courts, vigilante distortion of law, riots, anarchy, anti-semitism, defeat in warfare, government encroachment upon the freedom of its citizens.
ii. Criminal disasters–murder, rape, robbery, burglary, victim of violence, terrorism, child abuse, kidnapping, incest.
iii.  To be a victim of malice, revenge, vituperation, vilification, rejection, injustices of various categories.
iv.  Loss of health–disease, pain, suffering, and terminal illness.  It is very legitimate to pray for the illness and suffering of others.
v.     The death of friends or loved ones.
vi.  Sufferings related to deprivation–economic disaster, warfare, revolution.
vii.  Weather disasters.
viii.  Rejection–a victim of discrimination, violence, abuse, oppression, passed over for promotion, loss of employment, a victim of unfairness, a victim of irrational and antagonistic government bureaucracy, a victim of the meanness of some group in general.
(b)  Adversity is what others and circumstances do to you; stress is what you do to yourself.  Adversity is inevitable; stress is optional.  Stress is the temporary destruction of your spiritual life.  Stress in the soul is tantamount to the sin nature control of the soul.  Stress in the soul overruns the command post of your soul (your right lobe that circulates metabolized doctrine in the stream of consciousness).  Stress in the soul contradicts the protocol plan of God for the Church.
(c)  The problem solving devices counterattack and drive stress out of the soul, so that the FLOT line is restored for accurate and legitimate application of Bible doctrine.  The FLOT line is restored by the rebound technique.
(3)  The third thorn in the flesh is persecution, which includes all manner of unjust treatment–husbands persecuting wives, wives persecuting husbands, bosses persecuting workers.  All of these categories had combined at the same time to test Paul.
(4)  The fourth thorn in the flesh is continued mental pain, perpetuated anguish in the soul, troubles brought on by a troublemaker.  Troublemakers are the products of the recycling of the arrogance skills.  They are totally preoccupied with self.  Do-gooders are great troublemakers.  All troublemakers demand attention, and if they do not get it, they react and make trouble.  All they care about is how they feel and the fact you are not giving them any attention.
(a)  Troublemakers are always trying to make up to you, be nice to you, and get your affection back.  They never understand the problem.
(b)  The believer has to bear the same anguish, the same mental pain, the same pressure again and again and again.  2 Cor 4:8, “We are afflicted, but not crushed.”
(c)  The worst troublemaker always works through other people to get to you, to hurt you.  They bring down on you all the people you love and admire.  When approbation lust is not satisfied with sufficient attention, the arrogant believer begins to manufacture trouble through good deeds or vilification.
(d)  The troublemaker eventually gets worse unless they use the problem solving devices, because they get farther from reality from emotional sins.  The recycling of the arrogance skills and subsequent function of the arrogance complex of sins produces both the neurotic and psychotic tendencies, coupled with the emotional complex of sins, which is a state of complete irrationality.
b.  “For when I am weak [helpless, powerless, incapacity], then I am strong.”  When we are weak, then we are candidates for divine help; for the function of the problem solving devices.  Weakness does not imply failure, but helplessness, being in a powerless state.  Weakness means inability to solve the problem through human resources, human ability, human works.  Weakness means total dependence on grace and power from God for the solution.  Weakness emphasizes the divine initiative of grace.  All human solutions are relative, and the relative solutions contradict the protocol plan of God.  Anything outside of the divine solution only intensifies the suffering and results in stress in the soul.
(1) Strength in weakness comes from solutions, divine solutions to suffering for blessing.
(2)  Blessing in suffering comes from the solution, not from the suffering.
(3)  The elative conclusion–the divine solution is the only solution.
(4)  The divine solution is grace delegated through the three spiritual skills which emphasize the deployment of the problem solving devices on the FLOT line of the soul.
(5)  Anything outside the divine solution intensifies the suffering and complicates the life with more stress.  Stress begets stress in the soul, when you use human solutions instead of divine solutions.
(6)  Stress in the soul perpetuates sin nature control of the life, overruns the command post of the soul, and puts your spiritual life out of action.  When you use prayer over problem solving devices, you intensify the suffering and receive no answer to prayer.
(7)  Strength in weakness is the monopoly of the divine initiative of grace, which began in eternity past with your very own portfolio of invisible assets and extends into time with consistent function of the spiritual skills, resulting in the invisible hero.  All invisible heroes have strength in weakness.
5.  Summary.
a.  Once the believer is oriented to grace and has made Bible doctrine number one priority in the life, that believer is qualified to move on to the other problem solving devices.
b.  The thorn in the flesh is designed to prevent arrogance and to accelerate your spiritual growth.  What the Lord does not remove, He intends for us to bear through the function of the ten problem solving devices deployed on the FLOT line of the soul.  The thorn suffering is designed for the deployment and offensive action of these problem solving devices to take the believer to spiritual maturity.  There is far greater power in the problem solving devices deployed against suffering than the power of suffering to destroy the spiritual skills with the arrogance skills.
(1)  The problem solving devices deployed on the FLOT line of your soul through the function of the power options are designed to deal with every category of suffering in life, converting suffering into spiritual momentum and blessing, the glorification of God.
(2)  Remove the suffering and you remove the blessing.  Take suffering out of your life and you destroy spiritual momentum.
(3)  Suffering is designed by God as a field training exercise to prepare you for the real great crises in your life.
(4)  David faced crisis and won battles before the battle began through the deployment of problem solving devices on the FLOT line of his soul.  “The battle is the Lord’s.”  David did not use prayer in the crisis but the problem solving devices deployed through the consistent use of spiritual skills.  Prayer is not a problem solving device.  The problem solving devices do not depend on prayer.  Effective prayer is the result of the function of the problem solving devices and the spiritual skills.  Effective prayer is the result not a means of spiritual momentum.
c.  Suffering is not your enemy.  Suffering is your friend, when it is designed by God for your blessing.  God has made the wrath of man to praise Him.  The divine initiative of grace includes spiritual advance and momentum through suffering, not by taking the suffering away.  Suffering designed for blessing, combined with problem solving devices is designed to move you to the high ground of spiritual maturity.  Blessing is not in the removal of suffering but in solving the suffering, and the suffering is solved through the problem solving devices.
d.  The believer who begins with divine grace ends up with divine power.  Grace orientation is the believer’s response to the divine initiative of grace.  Grace excludes all human ability and power to provide equality for the execution of the protocol plan of God.  Grace excludes arrogance and legalism, to include using prayer as leverage to impose your will over God’s will.  Grace orientation responds to the four divine initiatives of grace for time and eternity through the consistent function of the three spiritual skills.  Since grace is the divine policy which originates from God, it cannot and it must not be compromised with human merit, human works, human ability, or legitimate human function like prayer.  The grace policy of God precedes grace response from mankind.  The divine initiative of grace provides equal opportunity for grace response from mankind; this includes equal opportunity for salvation by grace through faith and for the believer equal privilege and equal opportunity to fulfill God’s plan in time.
e.  Without the ten problem solving devices on the FLOT line of the soul, Paul has nothing left but helplessness and powerless incapacity, which he calls weakness.  Weakness does not mean failure, but helplessness.  No human ability, no function of prayer can resolve the problem.  Problems are resolved by what God has given to us–the ten problem solving devices.  Weakness emphasizes the believer’s helplessness to solve the problems of life through human ability, human works, and human merit.  Weakness means no illusions about human solutions, such as psychology, prayer manipulation, guilt manipulation, or the leverage of legalism.
f.  The elative conclusion denotes the inclusion of the divine solution as the absolute and only solution, while also denoting what is excluded as a solution to problems–prayer.  The divine solution is the only solution, and is related to the three spiritual skills.  Prayer is excluded as a problem solving device.  The elative establishes spiritual priorities in life.  Boasting in weakness is Paul’s recognition that the doctrine of power and precedence removes prayer as a problem solving device.
(1)  Paul cannot boast in his prayer life, his three ineffective prayers, which were an attempt to superimpose his own will over the sovereignty of God.  This is the blasphemy of leverage in prayer.  Believers who use leverage in prayer are involved in the arrogance skills and try to manipulate others.
(2)  Suffering minus problem solving devices results in irrationality and emotional sinning.
(3)  God would be totally unfair and not God, if He catered to Paul’s emotional blasphemy in this particular prayer.
(4)  The thorn suffering is God’s grace provision for Paul’s blessing.  The solution, therefore, is not in prayer for the removal of the suffering, but the function of the problem solving devices.  Under such conditions, suffering is your friend.
(5)  The emphasis on the elative is problem solving, grace orientation or boasting in helplessness.  Better to boast in helplessness than to pray for the removal of suffering.
(6)  The elative conclusion recognizes that the divine solution is the only solution; for the divine solution glorifies God.  Where grace is involved, God is glorified.  The elative conclusion emphasizes the absolute of Bible doctrine related to your spiritual life.  Human solutions are infinitely inferior.
(7)  The function of grace orientation on the FLOT line of the soul glorifies God, never mankind.  The believer minus the problem solving devices is bankrupt for solutions to the problems and adversities of life.
(8)  Blessing is in the solution, not in the suffering.  Take away the solution and the suffering will put you down every time.  Divine power is only available through grace orientation.  Divine blessing is in the divine solution, not in the suffering.  Take away the suffering and you take away the divine solution.  Take away the divine solution and you take away the blessing.  Take away the blessing and you take away your spiritual skills by which you and you alone live your spiritual life.
(9)  No one advances to the high ground of spiritual maturity apart from moving forward through this barrage of suffering.  The divine solution is an option that must be recognized daily.
(10)  Grace solutions always glorify the source of grace, which is God, whose grace policy permits the suffering and provides the solution.
(11)  Divine power is only available on a grace basis.  Each spiritual skill (filling of the Holy Spirit, metabolization of doctrine, function of the problem solving devices) indicates how the power of God resides in us.  When the believer begins with grace, he ends up with divine power.
g.  The thorn in the flesh is defined under four categories of weakness or helplessness: being a victim of vilification from others, having outside pressures of adversity, being the victim of unjust treatment in life, and having continual mental pain from being the victim of a troublemaker.  If you are positive to doctrine and deploy the problem solving devices on the FLOT line of your soul, you cannot blame the past for any present failure.  You cannot blame your parents, a former spouse, or anyone else for your current failures.  When the positive believer begins with grace, he ends up with divine power.  Strength in helplessness comes from divine solutions.  Divine solutions are delegated to us through the problem solving devices.  Anything outside the divine solution intensifies suffering in your life and results in more stress in the soul.  Strength in weakness is strictly the divine initiative of antecedent grace, beginning in eternity past with our portfolio of invisible assets and extending into time with the consistent function of the three spiritual skills.