The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice.Psalm 97:1a (KJV)
What is commanded is right, and what is not is wrong.Williamson’s summary of the Regulative Principle
This has profound implications for Church worship and government.
To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in You I trust,
Do not let me be ashamed;
Do not let my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed;
Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.
Make me know Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.
Remember, O Lord, Your compassion and Your loving-kindnesses,
For they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
According to Your loving-kindness remember me,
For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.
Good and upright is the Lord;
Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in justice,
And He teaches the humble His way.
All the paths of the Lord are loving-kindness and truth
To those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.
For Your name’s sake, O Lord,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.
Who is the man who fears the Lord?
He will instruct him in the way he should choose.
His soul will abide in prosperity,
And his descendants will inherit the land.
The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him,
And He will make them know His covenant.
My eyes are continually toward the Lord,
For He will pluck my feet out of the net.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
For I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
Bring me out of my distresses.
Look upon my affliction and my trouble,
And forgive all my sins.
Look upon my enemies, for they are many,
And they hate me with violent hatred.
Guard my soul and deliver me;
Do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You.
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
For I wait for You.
Redeem Israel, O God,
Out of all his troubles.
This passage makes for a great, personal prayer–or the basis of one.
Lamedh (Lah-med) and Mem are the Hebrew letters for the next 2 sections of Psalm 119.
These are verses 89 to 96 and 97 to 104 respectively.
Forever, O Lord,
Your word is settled in heaven.
90 Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations;
You established the earth, and it stands.
91 They stand this day according to Your ordinances,
For all things are Your servants.
92 If Your law had not been my delight,
Then I would have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget Your precepts,
For by them You have revived me.
94 I am Yours, save me;
For I have sought Your precepts.
95 The wicked wait for me to destroy me;
I shall diligently consider Your testimonies.
96 I have seen a limit to all perfection;
Your commandment is exceedingly broad.
לְעוֹלָ֥ם יְהוָ֑ה דְּ֝בָרְךָ֗ נִצָּ֥ב בַּשָּׁמָֽיִם׃
לְדֹ֣ר וָ֭דֹר אֱמֽוּנָתֶ֑ךָ כּוֹנַ֥נְתָּ אֶ֝֗רֶץ וַֽתַּעֲמֹֽד׃
לְֽ֭מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ עָמְד֣וּ הַיּ֑וֹם כִּ֖י הַכֹּ֣ל עֲבָדֶֽיךָ׃
לוּלֵ֣י ת֭וֹרָתְךָ שַׁעֲשֻׁעָ֑י אָ֝֗ז אָבַ֥דְתִּי בְעָנְיִֽי׃
לְ֭עוֹלָם לֹא־אֶשְׁכַּ֣ח פִּקּוּדֶ֑יךָ כִּ֥י בָ֝֗ם חִיִּיתָֽנִי׃
לְֽךָ־אֲ֭נִי הוֹשִׁיעֵ֑נִי כִּ֖י פִקּוּדֶ֣יךָ דָרָֽשְׁתִּי׃
לִ֤י קִוּ֣וּ רְשָׁעִ֣ים לְאַבְּדֵ֑נִי עֵ֝דֹתֶ֗יךָ אֶתְבּוֹנָֽן׃
לְֽכָל תִּ֭כְלָה רָאִ֣יתִי קֵ֑ץ רְחָבָ֖ה מִצְוָתְךָ֣ מְאֹֽד׃
O how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
98 Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies,
For they are ever mine.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the aged,
Because I have observed Your precepts.
101 I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word.
102 I have not turned aside from Your ordinances,
For You Yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are Your words to my taste!
Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 From Your precepts I get understanding;
Therefore I hate every false way.
מָֽה־אָהַ֥בְתִּי תוֹרָתֶ֑ךָ כָּל־הַ֝יּ֗וֹם הִ֣יא שִׂיחָתִֽי׃
מֵ֭אֹ֣יְבַי תְּחַכְּמֵ֣נִי מִצְוֺתֶ֑ךָ כִּ֖י לְעוֹלָ֣ם הִיא־לִֽי׃
מִכָּל־מְלַמְּדַ֥י הִשְׂכַּ֑לְתִּי כִּ֥י עֵ֝דְוֺתֶ֗יךָ שִׂ֣יחָה לִֽֿי׃
מִזְּקֵנִ֥ים אֶתְבּוֹנָ֑ן כִּ֖י פִקּוּדֶ֣יךָ נָצָֽרְתִּי׃
מִכָּל־אֹ֣רַח רָ֭ע כָּלִ֣אתִי רַגְלָ֑י לְ֝מַ֗עַן אֶשְׁמֹ֥ר דְּבָרֶֽךָ׃
מִמִּשְׁפָּטֶ֥יךָ לֹא־סָ֑רְתִּי כִּֽי־אַ֝תָּ֗ה הוֹרֵתָֽנִי׃
מַה־נִּמְלְצ֣וּ לְ֭חִכִּי אִמְרָתֶ֗ךָ מִדְּבַ֥שׁ לְפִֽי׃
מִפִּקּוּדֶ֥יךָ אֶתְבּוֹנָ֑ן עַל־כֵּ֝֗ן שָׂנֵ֤אתִי׀ כָּל־אֹ֬רַח שָֽׁקֶר
If you don’t know, this is a post that helps you the reader to become more acquainted with where I – the author of this site – stand on various topics and theological points. Keep reading to see where I stand on today’s topic.
Redundancy & Absolute
I will start this topic off by saying that I think, and have long thought, that the term “free will” to be rather redundant. To have a will by nature means to have an ability to make choices. Adding “free” to the beginning of this does not make one suddenly more able to make choices.
However, I have found one group that proposed such an idea that one could have absolute freedom and they taught that free will meant that man had the ability to choose absolutely free from all constraints. This flies in the face of not only natural experience but Scripture.
Why do I say this? Simple. Natural experience tells us that our choices are always constrained by our circumstances. Our circumstances present us our options. Certainly, we could always choose to act according to some other option and thereby refuse to deal with our given situation but that too is bound by the reality we find ourselves in. I may wish to choose to fly out of this reality, but as a mortal man, I have no such empowerment to do so and is therefore not a viable choice. I thereby spend my time not dealing with the situation at hand (effectively ignoring it) by whiling my time away dreaming of a reality that does not exist.
Also, we are bound by God’s will and that means bound according to His overarching plan as we have expressly been told in His Scripture. Therefore, our wills are always subject to or circumscribed by God’s will.
So, yes, we have a will. However, it is never absolutely free as there are always constraints beyond our control. We do the best we can with what we have. We are never outside God’s governing will and His will operates always according to His own character.
God’s Will & Fatalism
With what’s been already said, this likely raises some questions. I do not intend this article to be any sort of extensive treatise but let me try to briefly address some of those points in the following question.
How does fatalism relate?
For starters, God’s will is not the same as fatalism.
There is much mystery involved in the topic when it comes to how exactly our wills work in regards to God’s. Even so, it is clear that God’s plan and will rules over all. However, it is also clear that we as humans make and are responsible for our own choices. Another tidbit for thought is the fact that none of us are here by accident. We are each here according to His greater plan. We can infer from this that we have a part to play then as part of this plan.
As I mentioned earlier, our wills are circumscribed by God’s will. If you think of God’s will and plan as a big circle. Mankind is contained within the circle and can only exercise their wills within the bounds of that circle. This makes all the more sense when you consider everything about creation was ultimately created according to His purposes and plan. At the very least, this is how I picture the scenario of God’s will in my mind’s eye.
Now, back to fatalism. Fatalism tries to make this much more simplistic. It, to over-simplify the topic as there exists a variety of nuanced beliefs, simply makes everyone out to have their own script for their lives that they must follow and there’s no breaking out of it. Who wrote the script? This is where the different belief systems vary the greatest on the topic. Nevertheless, fate and fatalism are not concepts or beliefs that are part of Christianity. We are each part of God’s plan but we are not each on rails following a script.
Note: I do these posts not because I think I’m somehow superior in my views or anything absurd like that but out of a desire to be up-front and honest with my readers as to where I stand. Otherwise, you’d be left to figure things out by reading between the lines and/or guessing.
For more posts along these topics, use the above navigation to go to Simple Me . . . or click here.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sickJeremiah 17:9
The following is a brief explanation from a recent sermon given by Pastor Will Vega.
The world tells you to listen and follow your heart. But your heart is the seat of all your loves and desires. And therefore, your heart is not the best guide for your life.(emphasis added)
A sad person consumed with worldly sorrow is concerned about losing stuff–no matter how honorable or dishonorable that stuff is.Heath Lambert
Taken from his book, Finally Free which you will find on this site’s recommend Book List with its full title.
Definition of asceticism
1: the practice of strict self-denial as a measure of personal and especially spiritual discipline : the condition, practice, or mode of life of an ascetic: rigorous abstention from self-indulgence
Sacrifice, renunciation, asceticism, fasting, returning again to God … : these are inclinations fueled as much by instinct as by religious idealism. — Joyce Carol Oates
Crossing the Atlantic in a small sailboat is an exercise in asceticism, a test of what the human psyche can do without. — Sarah Ballard
2: austerity in appearance, manner, or attitude
His neatly trimmed white beard and runner’s physique suggest the asceticism of a mathematics professor, while his questioning mind signals a mistrust of surface impressions. — Bruce Schoenfeld
In contrast to the chaste asceticism of earlier modernist office towers, the AT&T Building incorporated traditional symbols of imperial power (Roman vaults and arches), prestige (a Chippendale-inspired silhouette), and old money (a huge golden statue in the lobby, which once stood on top of the old AT&T Building).— Witold Rybczynski
[adjective] 1640s, “practicing rigorous self-denial as a religious exercise,” from Latinized form of Greek asketikos “rigorously self-disciplined, laborious,” from asketes “monk, hermit,” earlier “skilled worker, one who practices an art or trade,” especially “athlete, one in training for the arena,” from askein “to exercise, train,” especially “to train for athletic competition, practice gymnastics, exercise,” perhaps originally “to fashion material, embellish or refine material.”
The Greek word was applied by the stoics to the controlling of the appetites and passions as the path to virtue and was picked up from them by the early Christians. Figurative sense of “unduly strict or austere” also is from 1640s. Related: Ascetical (1610s).
[noun] 1650s, “one rigorous in self-denial,” especially as an act of religious devotion; 1670s, Ascetic, “one of the early Christians who retired to the desert to live solitary lives of meditation, self-denial, and prayer,” from ascetic (adj.).
Definition #1 fits best with its use within Christianity.
The earliest Christian monks were a solitary sort referred to as the ascetics because of their choice to shove off the world and spend time in isolation (often in remote locations).
These early individuals did not typically stay there forever. It was from among these ascetics that many of the early church leaders where chosen. This behavior meant they simply could not stay out in the remote wilderness any longer.
Later monastics became something quite different as they were specifically named orders focused around particular ideals–mostly under the Roman Catholic church (though not all).
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know You are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs You are doing if God were not with him.
In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You should be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stand condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”John 3:1-21 – NIV
Today – Hebrew letters Yodh (pronounced like yohd, the vowel has more of an “oh” sound ) and Kaph (like the work cough)
These are covered in verses 73 to 80 and 81 to 88 respectively.
Your hands made me and fashioned me;
Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.
74 May those who fear You see me and be glad,
Because I wait for Your word.
75 I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are righteous,
And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
76 O may Your lovingkindness comfort me,
According to Your word to Your servant.
77 May Your compassion come to me that I may live,
For Your law is my delight.
78 May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie;
But I shall meditate on Your precepts.
79 May those who fear You turn to me,
Even those who know Your testimonies.
80 May my heart be blameless in Your statutes,
So that I will not be ashamed.
יָדֶ֣יךָ עָ֭שׂוּנִי וַֽיְכוֹנְנ֑וּנִי הֲ֝בִינֵ֗נִי וְאֶלְמְדָ֥ה מִצְוֺתֶֽיךָ׃
יְ֭רֵאֶיךָ יִרְא֣וּנִי וְיִשְׂמָ֑חוּ כִּ֖י לִדְבָרְךָ֣ יִחָֽלְתִּי׃
יָדַ֣עְתִּי יְ֭הוָה כִּי־צֶ֣דֶק מִשְׁפָּטֶ֑יךָ וֶ֝אֱמוּנָ֗ה עִנִּיתָֽנִי׃
יְהִי־נָ֣א חַסְדְּךָ֣ לְנַחֲמֵ֑נִי כְּאִמְרָתְךָ֥ לְעַבְדֶּֽךָ׃
יְבֹא֣וּנִי רַחֲמֶ֣יךָ וְאֶֽחְיֶ֑ה כִּי־תֽ֝וֹרָתְךָ֗ שַֽׁעֲשֻׁעָֽי׃
יֵבֹ֣שׁוּ זֵ֭דִים כִּי־שֶׁ֣קֶר עִוְּת֑וּנִי אֲ֝נִ֗י אָשִׂ֥יחַ בְּפִקּוּדֶֽיךָ׃
יָשׁ֣וּבוּ לִ֣י יְרֵאֶ֑יךָ ׳וְיָדְעוּ׳ ״וְ֝יֹדְעֵ֗י״ עֵדֹתֶֽיךָ׃
יְהִֽי־לִבִּ֣י תָמִ֣ים בְּחֻקֶּ֑יךָ לְ֝מַ֗עַן לֹ֣א אֵבֽוֹשׁ׃
My soul languishes for Your salvation;
I wait for Your word.
82 My eyes fail with longing for Your word,
While I say, “When will You comfort me?”
83 Though I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
I do not forget Your statutes.
84 How many are the days of Your servant?
When will You execute judgment on those who persecute me?
85 The arrogant have dug pits for me,
Men who are not in accord with Your law.
86 All Your commandments are faithful;
They have persecuted me with a lie; help me!
87 They almost destroyed me on earth,
But as for me, I did not forsake Your precepts.
88 Revive me according to Your lovingkindness,
So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.
כָּלְתָ֣ה לִתְשׁוּעָתְךָ֣ נַפְשִׁ֑י לִדְבָרְךָ֥ יִחָֽלְתִּי׃
כָּל֣וּ עֵ֭ינַי לְאִמְרָתֶ֑ךָ לֵ֝אמֹ֗ר מָתַ֥י תְּֽנַחֲמֵֽנִי׃
כִּֽי־הָ֭יִיתִי כְּנֹ֣אד בְּקִיט֑וֹר חֻ֝קֶּ֗יךָ לֹ֣א שָׁכָֽחְתִּי׃
כַּמָּ֥ה יְמֵֽי־עַבְדֶּ֑ךָ מָתַ֬י תַּעֲשֶׂ֖ה בְרֹדְפַ֣י מִשְׁפָּֽט׃
כָּֽרוּ־לִ֣י זֵדִ֣ים שִׁיח֑וֹת אֲ֝שֶׁ֗ר לֹ֣א כְתוֹרָתֶֽךָ׃
כָּל־מִצְוֺתֶ֥יךָ אֱמוּנָ֑ה שֶׁ֖קֶר רְדָפ֣וּנִי עָזְרֵֽנִי׃
כִּ֭מְעַט כִּלּ֣וּנִי בָאָ֑רֶץ וַ֝אֲנִ֗י לֹא־עָזַ֥בְתִּי פִקֻּודֶֽיךָ׃
כְּחַסְדְּךָ֥ חַיֵּ֑נִי וְ֝אֶשְׁמְרָ֗ה עֵד֥וּת פִּֽיךָ׃