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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Perfect freedom (i.e. doing anything you please)

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” (1Cor. 10:23).
“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (1Cor. 6:12).

I used to wonder what Paul meant by “all things are lawful for me.” Either it was the perfect recipe for lawlessness, or it was perfect freedom. Was Paul saying he could do anything he wanted to do? That sounds like antinomianism.

I believe what Paul was saying is that he could do anything he wanted, but not everything he wanted was the best for others or for himself. But, everything he wanted to do was OK by the Law. Let’s first break this down. The first half of my first paraphrase says that Paul could do anything he wanted. Anything? Yes, anything. Who did Paul think he was, king?

Paul was a king. King Paul! Paul was to the New Dispensation what Moses was to the Old Dispensation. They both expressed the law of each respective dispensation. Moses was a king.

“Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob. And he was king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together.” (Deut. 33:4,5).

How were they kings?

Jesus made them kings. Christ filled them with His Spirit, and with that came perfect wisdom to craft the will of God and the freedom to teach and lead. “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2Cor. 3:17). Our Lord knows how best to run a government. He knows that love with all of its elements will keep a nation united and free. When He fills His kings with His Spirit, they learn the best way to run an organization and a nation. Then they have perfect freedom to do as they please, because they do as God pleases. They please God. This is what we see with King Saul when he was anointed. Samuel told him, “And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee…and [thou] shalt be turned into another man. And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee.” (1Sam. 10:6,7). Saul could do anything that he wanted because he had the heart of the Lord. He had the Spirit of the Lord for his spirit. Saul was in Christ and Christ was in Saul. Saul was a new creature in Christ and his old man was dead. Jesus was in his heart, and therefore as long as Jesus was in his heart, Saul would only do right.

“Ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.
Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him.
Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousnness is righteous, even as He is righteous.
He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this prupose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (1Jn. 3:5-9).

King Saul had perfect freedom to do his will, to do as he pleased. Now that is perfect freedom—accomplishing what you want to do without any external restrictions. That kind of freedom is sought out by everyone on earth. But the world does it for selfish reasons, therefore they must be restrained. They must have a law that is higher than them. But, they don’t want any restraint. They certainly don’t want any of God’s restraints. They want power—absolute power, so that no one can tell them what to do or forbid them what not to do; and they want to destroy everyone who tries to tell them what to do. By nature, power corrupts; and, absolute power corrupts absolutely. That absolute power is abusive and oppressive, brutal and ruthless; that’s why absolute power is what Satan always installs on every throne that he controls.

But absolute power is not what Samuel was speaking of to Saul. The new king of Israel would be without external restraint, but God would be the king’s restraint. There would be restraints, but only internally. As long as the laws of God remain fresh in the thoughts of the king, they will have God’s intercession for the king’s work of leadership. This is not what the world’s rulers have because they aren’t anointed by the Creator and the self-sacrificing Redeemer, who anointed King Saul. Possessed by God, the human does as he was designed to do. In God’s image and under God’s control, he works out righteousness, love, holiness. He has the constraint of the Lord’s Spirit, the constraint of love. And love fulfills the whole Law; the Law hangs on love. The commandments are founded upon love; and they are decorated by love. The Law sat in the ark under the mercy seat. The ark around the Law was gold plated; and the mercy seat was solid gold. Mercy has lots of value to God. Justice forms the foundation of mercy and mercy beautifies justice. Justice and mercy together make the throne of God.

Jesus made His kings follow-ons to Himself and to Adam, the two original Monarchs of Earth. If the Garden of Eden is the size as New Jerusalem, then Adam’s throne was the size of Washington State; that is, 71,000 square miles of every necessity satisfied for life and love.

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed.
And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads….
And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (Gen. 2:7-10,15-18).

“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.” (1Cor. 15:45-47).

Yes, Paul and Moses have ruled over the human race because the human race has a conscience, and both Moses and Paul wrote to the conscience. They owned the world as did Adam and Abraham and all the champions of righteousness and faith—that is, righteousness from/through/by/springing out of faith. “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law [self-righteousness], but through the righteousness of faith.” (Rom. 4:13).

When Paul stood before kings and governors, he was not speaking up to them. If he had stood before Caesar Augustus he would have played the part of a slave or criminal in manacles. But, Paul would have been as respectful to the Caesar as he would to the street urchin beggar. Paul would have intelligently, and from the heart, defended himself in a way to woo Augustus Caesar to God, as he did King Agrippa, which was amazingly beautiful (Acts 26:1-27). Paul’s eloquence came from the heart and soul of Christ’s Spirit. And the king was so moved that he said to Paul, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” (vs. 28). But, although in manacles, he still would have been head and shoulders higher than Octavius. The only advantage Augustus would have had was his regal attire, his washboard stomach breast plate, and his multitude of courtiers. Nero was the Caesar that Paul stood before, and, judging by his public speaking to King Agrippa, the greatness of the holy apostle must have towered over the self-importance of that evil dictator.

It was one king speaking to another. But, the same can be said of every soul that the King of kings has humbled and lifted up. They all speak like kings. Of John the Baptist Ellen White wrote:
 
“He looked upon the King in His beauty, and self was forgotten. He beheld the majesty of holiness, and felt himself to be inefficient and unworthy. He was ready to go forth as Heaven’s messenger, unawed by the human, because he had looked upon the Divine. He could stand erect and fearless in the presence of earthly monarchs, because he had bowed low before the King of kings.” Desire of Ages, p. 103.

Humility is the prerequisite to being one of God’s kings. They have been awed by Him, they fear Him and know their place. But their place is to sit before the God of love; and sitting there, hearing his word, gives them perfect joy. They are loved, and love gives them power over a world that receives only accusations from the god they serve. “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength because of Thine enemies, that Thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.” (Ps. 8:2). God’s kings speak with authority from the heart of a child. How can that ever be bad? Never!

All become kings who have wrestled with the Law that stands as tall as a 14 story skyscraper, “an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.” (Rev. 21:17). Since angels are more than three times the height of a man, 144 cubits may be actually 700 feet tall. When we are awed by the great representative of the Father—His Law, His holy Hedge—we are candidates of His Son’s grace. Once our hearts are subdued by both His Law and grace we become dynamos that God can use to take back a world ruined by spiritualism and humanism.

King David said, “I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, Thy law is within my heart” (Ps. 40:8). The kings of God are redeemed. They have the earnest of the eternal inheritance with God and His powerful persence of love.

“That [they] should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom [they] also trusted, after that [they] heard the word of truth, the gospel of [their] salvation: in whom also after that [they] believe[d].” (Eph. 1:12,13).
“And because [they] are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into [their] hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Gal. 4:6). With the “Spirit of Christ” (Rom. 8:9) they are “enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and [are] made partakers of the Holy Ghost” (Heb. 6:4). They are “sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of [their] inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession.” (Eph. 1:13,14).

They are sealed with the power and mind of the holy God. His goodness and mercy fills them and follows them. They are like Jesus, the anointed One and the sealed One. “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed.” (John 6:27). Jesus wants His children to be sealed, too! “Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given Me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.” (Isa. 8:18, cf Heb. 2:13; Isa. 9:6).

Once sealed, they have a new heart and mind. No longer vexed by the devil, they have liberty to think clearly and deeply. Apart from the omniscient Holy One, everything is foolishness. “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom...” “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men.” “Christ...is made unto us wisdom....” (Jer. 9:23; 1Cor. 1:25,30). The Spirit of God has graciously healed His children; and their gratitude to Him has no bounds. Now they are free to choose like God in their own lifestyle and in others who love to be with them and be like them. Everything is lawful to them because they have the Law of love in their hearts. And love doth not behave itself unseemly. Their choices are God’s will. They think, act, look like Jesus. They are true representatives of the great King. They give Him glory. They are honored and feared by all.

“The early Christians were indeed a peculiar people; Their blameless deportment and unswerving faith were a continual reproof that disturbed the sinner’s peace. Though few in numbers, without wealth, position, or honorary titles, they were a terror to evildorers wherever their character and doctrines were known.” Great Controversy, p. 46.

“He that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” (1Cor. 2:15).
 
The exceeding privilege of being sealed and exalted to a child of the King through the Spirit puts the man and woman of God stronger, wiser, taller than everyone around. They are kings (the males and the females). They are settled in God’s love and they know that He accepts them and walks with them.

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (Rev. 1:5,6).

“He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father. And I will give him the morning star.” (Rev. 2:26-28).

“I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isa. 58:14).
“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the LORD.” (Isa. 54:17).

“Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before Me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as My mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them.” (Jer. 15:19).
“If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” (John 15:7).

These are wonderful promises with equally wonderful conditions. We are kings so long as we live in Jesus’ presence and under His influence by His words that we willingly keep in our minds. He says to us, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63). His people reign in the earth because their flesh is not the mode of operation in their minds. The Spirit of God gives them their mode of operation; and It can only inhabit hearts and minds that don’t have self as another resident.

Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it;
And that ye may prolong your days in the land, which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give unto them and to their seed, a land that floweth with milk and honey.
For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs:
But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:
A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.
And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul,
That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.
And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.
Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;
And then the LORD’s wrath be kindled against you, and He shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.
Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:
That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.
For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to cleave unto Him;
Then will the LORD drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves.
Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.
There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the LORD your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as He hath said unto you.
Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day.” (Deut. 11:8-27).

And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:
The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto Himself, as He hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in His ways.
And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.
And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
The LORD shall open unto thee His good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in His season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.
And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:
And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.” (Deut. 28:8-14).

The kings of God scare the devil. “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.” (Rev. 16:12, cf Rev. 1:6).
“But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.” (Dan. 11:44, cf Dan. 12:1).

The kings of God strike fear in everyone who inhabits Satan’s kingdom, the devils also, and even Satan himself. The kings of the east are anointed with the Spirit of God and with His love. They have calm demeanors from a spirit of mercy, but they also preach righteousness from the housetops. They bear not their sword of the Spirit in vain. They have put their trust in God, and He has given them the witness that He has put His trust in them (see 1Jn. 5:10,11). They love the Law of their God, and He has authorized them to do as they please. Their pleasure is to please God. The Spirit of Christ is in them; and their pleasure is to see righteousness reign in the earth. Because “if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” (Rom. 8:10). When the “Spirit of Christ” (Rom. 8:9) controls us, our sin-marinated flesh no longer controls us, and we are alive because we are justified and new creatures.

“Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art My servant: I have formed thee; thou art My servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of Me.
I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee.
Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel.
Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, and He that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by Myself;
That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish;
That confirmeth the word of His servant, and performeth the counsel of His messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof:
That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers:
That saith of Cyrus, He is My shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.
Thus saith the Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;
I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:
And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
For Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel Mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not know Me.” (Isa. 44:21-45:4).

The greatness of God’s kings is that they do no oppression. They have His Spirit and His love restrains them from overdoing justice. Love, consideration, compassion keep them back from carelessly bringing damage to any soul. Being filled with His wisdom, they divine His will and speak only that. Thus, they are prophets of the Lord, and He “confirmeth the word of His servant, and performeth the counsel of His messengers”.

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” (Gal. 5:13).
“Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation: and Thy right hand hath holden me up, and Thy gentleness hath made me great.” (Ps. 18:35).
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22,23).

Liberty in the Spirit is balanced with righteousness restrained—judgment. Though they have the power to afflict more justice, they refrain themselves in the hope of restoring the sinner. This is what we hear Paul doing in the church at Corinth after he came down hard on a church member who humbled himself before Paul’s rebuke (see 1Cor. 5:1-5):

“Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.
To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” (2Cor. 2:6-11).

“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2Cor. 3:17). The prophets and kings, judges and patriarchs of God have their high positions because the seed of truth has lodged itself in the soil of their heart.

“And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment” (Gen. 18:17-19). Abraham lived the Law of God before the Lord proclaimed it—because he had Jesus in his heart, and obeyed His Law by faith. “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Gal. 3:). And that kind of obedience—obedience by faith— was “blessedness” (Rom. 4:9). Blessedness.

“And it shall be, when he [Israel’s kings] sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.” (Deut. 17:18-20).

Being priest and king of the New Testament church, Paul understood the Law, not only in its written words, but also in its spirit. So, he wasn’t throwing out the Law when he counseled: “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.” (Rom. 14:13-15).

With the words of Christ and the Spirit of Christ, we have everything we need in order to know righteousness and truth, to “discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.” (Mal. 3:18). Christ’s words without His Spirit, or vice versa, Christ’s Spirit without His words, ends in error and leaves us wide open to Satan’s upside-down interpretations by which he calls righteousness sin and sin righteousness. Paul knew perfectly well how important the laws of health and cleanliness are to God. He wrote, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (1Cor. 9:27). And as king of the Gentile churchs, Paul studied the scriptures and meditated on them every day, as Jesus commaded through Moses. Yet, he also saw that law-keeping just for the sake of keeping the rules was not the right motive. Obedience must be by faith. And Moses would have agreed, as anyone can see by reading his book of Job. Job was an upright man, but was strongly rebuked by the Lord for exalting himself and his good behavior, instead of glorifying God (see Job 32:1; 33:8-30; 34:5-7,12-17,31-37; 35:2,14,15; 40:1-8; 42:6). Love, faith, and the Spirit are the overarching guides for righteousness. “Now therefore, I pray Thee, if I have found grace in Thy sight, shew me now Thy way, that I may know Thee, that I may find grace in Thy sight: and consider that this nation is Thy people. And He said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said unto Him, If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.” (Ex. 33:13-15).

We have taboos and sacred cows; and they look like truth that God gave us. But, taboos and sacred cows are man-made traditions that tell us what to do and what not to do. And they have no love and redeeming principle to them, no matter their complex sophistication or their sleight of hand marble-under-the-walnut shell type convoluted scientific nothingness. They are not self-denying and redemptive, therefore they are very appealing to the unrepentant soul, as Cain’s was. Yet, that being said, the rules that God gave for our good have higher rules that can temporarily override the basic rules. But, not without much deliberation. This principle of overrides never creates taboos and sacred cows. Every higher law is perfectly compatible with the subordinate laws. Woe to the man or organization that treats even the basic rules of God lightly. Woe to them who discard the least commandment because they are obedient to what they call the greatest commandments. They will “not live out half their days.” (Ps. 55:23).

So, Paul was not wrong to use the higher law of keeping unity through love, rather than individuals fighting to make their personal victories mandatory on everyone. The old standards remain intact; the higher victories remain the goal. But, part of the higher standards are adding to your virtue knowledge, to knowledge temperance, to temperance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity. (see 2Pet. 1:5-8). Paul’s conclusion: “Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.” (Rom. 14:22). Whoa!

Notwithstanding that side of the coin, because righteousness has boundaries and protection of everyone, man, beast, personal property, et cetera, God’s kings must keep order and discipline everywhere they go. While they do not abuse with careless justice and truth, neither will they enable with careless mercy and grace. As their Master Jesus was perfect in balancing truth and grace, they do likewise “having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience.” (2Cor. 10:6).

“Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour…. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” (Lev. 19:15-18).

This “do as you please” concept does not preach a lawless gospel because it has great promises with conditions. It’s not a dreamland. Neither was Eden a dreamy paradise because it also had conditions. Neither grace without Law nor promises without conditions are good, healthy, or realistic.

The religion of grace without truth as a counterbalance is a proud religion that won’t allow for conditions. It’s a spirituality that has not bowed before the Most High but wants “its” blessings (not “His” blessings) without humbling itself. Grace without truth, mercy with justice, is spiritualism, and Satan owns the souls who are willingly under that regime.

Undoubtedly, the freedom that God wants to give His children puts them higher than the proud world. It is true liberty. But it isn’t an out-of-control liberty. The prerequisite of a meek stance before the Law keeps them back from oppressing others. This is true grace—the grace of God. They are peacemakers in the earth. They are OK with authority and a chain of command. Service, redemption, and restoration are their central orientation. Self is lost in love. Dictatorial dogmatism does not enter their thinking.

So, we talked about Paul’s declaration, that all things are lawful to him.

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” (1Cor. 10:23).

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (1Cor. 6:12).

What about the second half, that everything is not expedient, or not the best for himself and others and God? The greatness of the kings of God comes from His gift of discernment in given situations. This is not situational ethics, which is founded upon atheistic. This is about using Spirit-driven judgment, judging how to apply the Law and the laws properly. Only the spiritual have this ability. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” (Gal. 6:1).

The expediency Paul spoke of is about the principle of “good, better, best”. Even if an action looks good or is good, there is usually room for improvement. And all along the way of improving, the goal should be to provide the best interpretation of the laws so that the souls that God is reaching are not unnecessarily offended by His servants. The kings of God are experts at interpretation of the Law. That is why Jesus makes them apostles and prophets, judges and kings. They keep the benchmark true, even when situations and conditions change, and Satan bends societies and cultures here and there over time to trip up the church of God in its effort to evangelize the world.

Paul taught principles of righteousness, good for all time and everywhere on this world, principles which God gave Adam’s children, all of us made of one blood. Moses taught the same principles, as did David, and the Anointed One when He walked the earth. Their vocabulary sounded different, but they all blended truth and grace perfectly. They all placed God above His intelligent creation, but not out of their reach. Trusting and obeying Him was preeminent. Ultimately, peace on earth and holy characters was the goal.

Dear reader, receive an education that few get. Line up all the lessons of the kings and priests of God in the Bible, compare those lessons, analyze them. That’s what the kings, et al did with those who came before them. Submit to the consequences that God has given you for Adam’s sin, for your sins, and everyone’s sins in between you and Adam; there are wonderful lessons from consequences, too.  “For the work of a man shall He render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways. Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment.” (Job 34:11,12). Let’s compare it all; it’s all holy and just and good. Let’s receive a very deep, broad, and high education in righteous, loving leadership straight from the Almighty.

And let’s all become kings in the earth.

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