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Doctrine of Blessing by Association

August 1, 2010

The Doctrine of Blessing by Association
1.       Definition of blessing by association:

a.       Once a believer reaches spiritual maturity, God begins to pour blessings upon him, so that these blessings overflow to those around him. Sometimes God pours out blessings on those who are simply advancing spiritually.

b.       Often, God blesses those people with whom this mature believer (or growing believer) is associated.

c.        Sometimes the mature believer himself will be a blessing in a variety of ways to those with whom he associations.

2.       There are 6 categories of blessing by association:

a.       Spiritual periphery: those associated with mature believers in the local church, in prayer meetings, in prep school (Sunday school), on a deacon board, or on a mission board, or in association with any Christian service organization.

i.         A caveat: when a church does not fulfill its function of teaching the Word of God, God may not bless that church directly. However, there is a normal happiness and blessing which comes from fulfilling the laws of divine establishment. Some churches teach morality, which does not advance its members spiritually, but it does cause them to line up with the laws of divine establishment. So, believers (and unbelievers) within a church may have better lives in general, but it is simply because they are trying to be moral and living according to the laws of divine establishment. This is not a matter of God blessing the members of that church, but simply a matter of natural law.

b.       Family periphery: husband, wife, parents, children, in-laws, relatives. Even unbelievers or negative believers are blessed by association with the mature believer in their family periphery.

c.        Social periphery: friends.

d.       Geographical periphery: those associated with the mature believer in a neighborhood, city, country, state, and nation. Mature believers within a nation preserve that nation. This is known as historical impact. “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness [preservative qualities] be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” (Matt. 5:13). See also Gen. 18:26–33.

e.       Professional periphery: businesses, stores, schools of all types, hospitals, medical clinics, law firms, engineering firms, branches of military service, law enforcement agencies, banks, various financial institutions, insurance companies, athletic teams, symphony orchestras, etc. You can be the janitor for a huge corporation, and that corporation can prosper because you are the janitor there (assuming you are a maturing believer).

f.        Blessing by association after death: In certain cases like parents to children. The righteous man who walks in his integrity—blessed are his children after him (Prov. 20:7). This can extend to the second and third generations, and in rare cases to the fourth generation. One might argue that Abraham’s great spiritual blessings continue down today to the Jews.

i.         The only great nation in the Middle East is Israel, by far, despite the terror attacks and bombings. This is a combination of many things: God blesses them because of their genetic association with Abraham, because believers live in Israel, because believers pray for Israel, and because they adhere to morality and the laws of divine establishment.

3.       One of the unique aspects of you, as a believer, in reaching spiritual maturity, is that God will use you as a channel of His blessings. When you are saved, the potential for temporal blessings is set up via the grace pipeline (the channel by which God’s righteousness blesses the righteousness which He has imputed to you at salvation). Gen. 15:6 Psalm 24:5 Matt. 5:6 Rom. 4:6

4.       We have already studied Abraham and the Jews as a conduit of blessing: “I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you.” (Gen. 12:2).

a.       Jews are a special case of blessing by association. God only chose one genetic-specific group of people to bless throughout human history (and God blesses those who bless Israel as well).

b.       If one had to choose one nation in the Middle East to live in, most knowledgeable people would choose Israel, as they provide the greatest environment and the greatest amount of freedom in the Middle East. Everywhere else, there is religious tyranny and oppressive governmental tyranny. Christians and Jews are routinely taken to court and even executed for their crime of having the wrong faith.

c.        The Republican party was cursed because they willingly associated with anti-Semites for many years. As a result, this party produced two good Presidents from 1900–1975 (Coolidge and Eisenhower) and a lot of mediocre ones (Harding and Nixon). Furthermore, this party, for the most part, had comparatively little power in the 1900’s. One of the greatest presidential candidates ever was defeated, in part, because of anti-Semitism (Barry Goldwater, who was beaten by one of the worse presidents in American history). As antisemitism was being rooted out of the Republican party, Republican presidents went from bad (Nixon), to okay (Ford) to great (Reagan). It was William F. Buckley who began to weed out the antisemitic element of the Republican party.

5.       God blesses people and nations and companies directly and/or indirectly because of their association with a mature believer.

a.       An example of indirect blessing by association: a vice president who is a mature believer, might bring in a great deal of business for the company that he works for, and, as a result, that is a blessing to that company. That is blessing which spills over from the vice president to the companies and those employed by the company (indirect blessing).

b.       However, a mature believer may work for another company as a janitor, and God may bless that company directly because of the janitor. That is, God may cause that company to become extremely prosperous. It is not spillover from blessing to the janitor, but blessing directly from God to that company.

c.        Lot, in association with Abram, received both direct and indirect blessing from God.

6.       People are blessed by association with leaders who are mature believers, in such areas as business, military, athletics, marriage, family and church. Blessings overflow from the leader to those under the authority of the leader. There are examples throughout Scripture, Lot is blessed by his association with Abram; Israel was blessed as a nation under David; David’s army was blessed by being under David. Proverbs 11:11 says that a leader who is a mature believer blesses the city-state, but association with the reversionist destroys the city-state. Proverbs 11:11 A city is built up by the blessing of the upright, but it is torn down by the mouth of the wicked.

7.       The mature believer is not to speak ill of those around him, even if they are negative toward Bible doctrine or the gospel or if they reject divine establishment truth. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them (Rom. 12:14). If we do not have mental attitude sins against those who are unbelievers, then we do not interfere with their response to the gospel.

a.       A client nation is a nation through which God works.

b.       Unbelievers will use the life, actions and verbal sins of believers as excuses to reject the gospel of Jesus Christ.

8.       Although the Roman government at first persecuted Christians, it was transformed into a client nation to God because of all the believers in the Roman empire. The Christian leader Tertullian spoke of believers throughout the Roman empire (circa a.d. 200): “We are but of yesterday, and we have filled every place among you, [your] cities, islands, fortresses, towns, market-places, the very camp, tribes, companies, palace, senate, forum; we have left nothing to you but the temples of your gods.”

9.       There is also guilt by association. The innocent suffer because of their association with the guilty. People are cursed by association with a reversionist. Even a mature believer can be cursed by his association with a reversionistic believer. Jonathan was the son of King Saul and Jonathan was a great man, who was able to defer to David and recognize that David would be king over Israel (Jonathan recognized this even though Jonathan was in line to become king of Israel). However, Jonathan died in battle with his reversionist father Saul. Another example is Sodom and Gomorrah. We have not studied this yet, but these cities have very degenerate people in them, and, for that reason, these cities will be destroyed (Gen. 18).

a.       Reversionism is reverting back to the sins and/or self righteousness of one’s pre-salvation life. A reversionist is a person who has reverted by to his sinful and/or self righteous life.

b.       A simple example of guilt-by-association is, a kid who gets drawn into a group who commit criminal acts. He may choose to hang out with this group, and they may choose to drive somewhere to commit a crime. He will suffer the legal consequences even though he may not have known what they were intending to do.

10.     The believer is both blessed and prospered because he is associated with Jesus Christ. The mature believer who is occupied with Christ is certainly blessed by this association. The disciples of Jesus are wonderful examples. It would be very difficult to find men who were less competent than these disciples, who would argue about which one is the greatest; and yet, later deserted Jesus when He was taken into Roman custody (except for John). These men, who lacked both courage and intelligence, became great men, most of whom suffered a martyr’s death. They were afforded a great deal of protection in their association with Jesus Christ, as Jesus once told Peter that Satan wanted to sift him like wheat. Peter’s association with Jesus Christ protected him.

11.     Sometimes the believer wrongly associates present disaster with past sins. This is cursing by imagination or cursing by having a guilt complex. Psalm 40:12 For evils beyond number have surrounded me; My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see; they are more numerous than the hairs of my head; and my heart has failed me. Rebound (naming your sins to God) is the believer associating his sins with the judgment of these sins on the cross. We deal with all sins by means of rebound.

12.     The believer is influenced by sexual association. In fact, a mature believer can be brought down and cursed by his association with carnal believers or degenerate unbelievers. King Solomon is an example of this. He was negatively influenced by the religion of the many wives that he had and, as a result, a great portion of his life was spiritually unproductive. 1Kings 11:2–9 Ecclesiastes

13.     The believer is influenced by social association. A believer can be influenced for evil or for good by the company he keeps. 1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals. When a young person gets caught up in a group which does drugs or crime, he will certainly become corrupted as well. A simple rule of thumb for the young believer: if a group of kids commit any sort of crime—including smoking marijuana—then you need to find new friends.

14.     Some blessing comes directly from the mature believer himself. The mature believer might share time or material wealth with those in need. God blesses the mature believer and he, in turn, pours out some of this blessing on others. Rom. 12:13 1Cor. 16:1

15.     Blessing by association explains why there is a call for separation from some believers and unbelievers. This is an entirely new topic, but suffice to say that God often calls for believers to separate from other believers; particularly from those who would bring you down (that is, attempt to focus your attention away from the Word of God). There is also a call to separate from unbelievers who are particularly carnal. If you had a drug problem, then it might not be the best thing for you to hang out with those who are presently using drugs.

16.     Blessing by association can explain why the wicked sometimes prosper. Psalm 73:3 Jer. 12:1

17.     An example of blessing by association is taught in Prov. 31:10–31 where a woman is a blessing to her husband, her children and to her community.

18.     There is also a mutual blessing by association. Much of the book of Philippians exemplifies this. The Philippian church was filled with maturing believers, so that Paul was blessed by being able to teach them, and they were blessed by Paul teaching them. 2Cor. 11:9 Philip. 4:15–16

19.     The preservation and blessing of the United States depends upon many types of blessings.

a.       Within the United States, there are many mature and growing believers; God blesses the nation because of the geographical association with them.

b.       In order to have mature and growing believers, there must be churches that teach the Word of God. The United States is blessed because such churches exist within its borders.

c.        Those who founded our nation based the founding principles upon Bible doctrine, so that we receive a heritage blessing from them. At the top of the original charters of many groups who settled the United States was to spread the good news of Jesus Christ (which is almost never taught in American history courses).

d.       Our nation supports the nation Israel, and because of this alliance, God blesses us.

e.       The United States also sends out missionaries throughout the world.

f.        So, there are dozens of reasons why our nation ought to be taken down; and those are 5 reasons why we have continued to exist with great prosperity. Even in the present-day recession that we are in, the poor of our nation are far better off than the middle class of most other nations.

20.     One of the internal struggles of the United States is between those who are anti-God, anti-Christian and/or anti-laws of divine establishment and those who adhere to the laws of divine establishment. The former faction seeks to turn the United States into a country of European-style socialism (which nations are under tremendous discipline due to cursing by association, among other things). Do you think that it is just an accident of chance that European countries have become flooded with Muslims?