One Key Point Regarding Abraham 1

Abraham is a wealthy herdsman in Canaan.

But the people in Canaan who know the personal facts about Abraham…despite his worldly wealth and success…might still look down their noses at him for failing in this one culturally all-important area of not producing a male heir.

In the eyes of the people who are totally ignorant of the promises of God to Abraham…who are unaware of the divinely crafted program that Abraham is walking in…that displaces all other considerations in importance…the inhabitants in Canaan might think there is something amiss with Abraham…that he is going about life all wrong…in that he has not been able to contrive the culturally accepted way…of taking-in additional wives to Sarah…to produce a male heir that is suitable to pass along his wealth to…and that will continue his name forward for posterity.

This issue of producing male heirs is important to everyone at that time-period in history…yet Abraham outwardly appears to be curiously inactive in an effort to procure more wives and produce children.

Yet the real truth…behind the scenes…of the storyline of Abraham is that the Creator of the universe…God…ascribes to Abraham righteousness based upon the faith and patience of Abraham in trusting…through adverse appearing outward circumstances unknown to other people…in the truthfulness of God’s promises to him (Gal. 3:6; Heb. 11:19).

The key point here…is that it is God…not Abraham…who is the intentional author of this adventure of faith life-script dilemma for Abraham.

It is God who has purposely set this all up…this twenty-five year detour around worldly conventional expectations…within the dramatic storyline details of the life-script calling of Abraham to become the “father of faith” (Gen. 17:17).

The big question for biblical scholarship…and for practical Christian discipleship today…is why God would do this?

What is so important about a long time-period of waiting for the birth of Isaac…inserted by God as a fundamental element into the life-scripts of Abraham and Sarah?

Completely contrary to popular conventional normalcy and thinking…the narrative story of Abraham does not go in the direction of an ancient version of the American Dream…of Abraham and Sarah in Canaan starting a large family according to conventionally normal expectations.

The God-composed journey of faith life-script for Abraham…goes intentionally against-the-grain of conventional expectations for normal life (Gen. 17:1-8, 17)…against-the-grain of our supposed entitlement to pursue the worldly universal aspirations of the American Dream of success, fame, and fortune…however we culturally and socially define this.

Examining some additional biblical narrative stories of faith will help here.

Joseph possesses the innate capacity to manage the nation of Egypt as governor during a great famine…but he finds himself at the age of 30 in Pharaoh’s prison…as a result of being falsely accused by the wife of Potiphar of sexual assault.

What could be going worse in terms of outward appearances for Joseph…just a few months prior to Pharaoh’s dream and Joseph’s interpretation…just before this supernatural insertion of massive events that change Joseph’s life…and that miraculously confirmed his two dreams as a teenager in Canaan (Gen. 37:5-11)?

Why this extended time-period of years of adversity in the life-script of Joseph…in this unusual version of graduate management training in leadership and humility…before being elevated up into the position of governor in all of Egypt?

As Moses tends sheep in Midian…he has essentially become a “nobody.”

Moses is no longer a prince in Egypt.  Moses is a colossal failure in worldly conventional terms…as he and Aaron walk towards Egypt to confront Pharaoh and demand the release of the Hebrew slaves…with nothing more than a shepherd’s wooden staff…the strength of God’s word at the burning bush…and the promise of an old and faded reputation.

David is the youngest and therefore the least culturally valued son of Jesse…when the prophet Samuel arrives to find and anoint with oil…the next king for Israel.

But as David is pursued for his life by the current and established King Saul…with several near misses…people looking at David from age 20 to 30…might consider him a disappointment and a failure.

How can this adversity be the case for the daring young man that courageously killed the Philistine giant Goliath…is anointed by Samuel the prophet to be the next king…and is the son-in-law of King Saul?

Esther and Mordecai have the best of positive intentions for their current capitol city Shushan…and for their people the Jews…in their deadly struggle against Haman the Agagite…and are locked into a totally unanticipated combination of circumstances in a battle for their lives…that is not anything like pursuing the American Dream…in terms of worldly conventional normalcy.

Again, why is God the author of this challenging life-script for Esther, Mordecai, and the Jews in exile…not Himself being the source of the evil that first propels the storyline…but as the brilliant scriptwriter finding the perfect finale response…for the end of the story?

Is there a good explanation behind this storyline theme of adversity that precedes victory…that is universal in the biblical stories of faith?

The great prophet Elijah bitterly complains to God that he appears to be all alone…in his criticism of the evil king and queen…Ahab and Jezebel…in their apostasy of worshipping the idol-god Baal.

Elijah faces adversity like few others in the Bible.

The prophet Jeremiah is certainly going against-the-grain in denouncing the wayward condition of Israel at that time…a condition so bad that it resulted in the eventual removal of the nation into foreign exile.

Daniel is a faithful, loyal, and exemplary civil servant in exile…yet he finds himself spending a long night in peril in a den of lions…as the result of a deadly scheme of revenge powered by the jealous envy of a small group of men high-up in the government…colleagues of Daniel.

Jesus is the Son of God…the Savior…the light of the world.

Yet without the wide separation from worldly conventional thinking that fueled the violent rejection of the person, the teaching, and the ministry of Jesus by the religious and political leadership in Jerusalem…as well as a portion of the populace siding with this leadership group…then there is no cross of Calvary, no Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for lost sinners, no glorious resurrection on Easter morning, and no redemptive salvation for mankind.

The roots of Christianity come out of deadly adversity…the emphatic rejection of Jesus Christ demonstrated through the cross at Calvary…and not from the broad gate of Matthew 7:13…not from a peace-seeking compromise with worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…not in a coronation of the King of Isaiah 9:6…to be fully actualized in the near future at the second coming of Christ.

When Paul gives his final testimony to his fellow countrymen in Jerusalem…Paul receives a total and complete rejection as the people throw their garments and dust into the air in violent protest against Paul…saying: “Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live” (Acts 22:22).

Journeys of Faith are not “Religious” 2

The calling and mission-plan for the apostle Paul is about as far from worldly conventional normalcy and thinking as is possible.

The incredible mixture of high scholastic erudition…being taught by the renowned rabbi Gamaliel in Jerusalem…and the contrary ingredient of radical humility obtained by Paul in the supernatural revelation of Jesus as the Christ…in a blinding light on the road to Damascus…producing an indispensable ingredient of humility in Paul’s evangelical mission to the polytheistic, idol-worshipping Gentiles in the Greco-Roman world of the first-century…is premeditated, advance preparation that has the end-goal of creating new Christian churches…and writing his New Testament letters…that does not exist anywhere within the contemplation of ordinary, commonplace, worldly conventional aspirations (1 Cor. 4:9-13).

None of the callings of God recorded in the Bible are on the list of things defined by worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…as things we want in life…as things that people are normally pursuing in life…with the possible exception of Ruth and Hannah.

Jesus said in The Sermon on the Mount: “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.  Is not the life more than food, and the body than raiment?” (Mt. 6:25).

This is a commonsense Christian apologetic argument for the uniqueness of the biblical narrative stories of faith…which actualize…in some measure and on some varied level…the altogether unique concepts of The Sermon on the Mount…above and outside of…and in many cases in total contrast…to worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

These biblical narrative stories of faith would never be the product of humanistic literary invention.

How could…or would…a human literary genius invent the concept of God-sovereignty in the life-scripts of the positive people of faith recorded in the Bible?

How could any human being invent this unconventionality?

It must originate from the viewpoint…from the direction…of God alone.  Any other explanation is shallow and nonsensical.

 

We do not see first, second, and third-graders in elementary schools out in large numbers picketing their schools on the weekends…with signs reading: “Down With Division”…or: “No More Multiplication”…or: “Forget Reading…Play Video Games”…while shouting chants of “Unfair” and “Heck No…We Won’t Go!”

Children at that young age have no idea of the importance of reading, writing, and mathematics for their upcoming adult lives.

Grown-ups set the agenda for our early childhood education…and as children we go along with this…through childlike faith placed in our parents…our teachers…and in grown-ups in general.

There exist no other practical options in childhood education.  Adults are…by default…simply in the position to know more than children…to have the knowledge and the facts…in this critical area of what we need to learn as children…to get from where we are as children to where we need to get to…as we grow up into adults.

How is it that we would then assume to know anything about godliness?  Godliness belongs exclusively to God.  It is not found anywhere within conventional human living and thinking.

Godliness must come from top-down…not from bottom-up.

Godliness is defined and actualized through the biblical narrative stories of faith…coming from the singular perspective of God.

A surprising thing about the biblical narrative stories of faith…for the most part…is that they are not religious in nature.  This should also get our attention.

The Old Testament lists 613 laws…including the Ten Commandments…and has religious observances and celebrations like the Passover.  Male circumcision begins with Abraham and Isaac.  The Old Testament has the animal sacrifices in the temple conducted by the priests.

The New Testament has the Lord’s Supper communion for believers…and water baptism.

But the biblical narrative stories of faith themselves are not built around anything like pilgrimages to “holy sites,” or the veneration of relics, or the sale and possession of paper documents like indulgences insuring salvation, or elaborate religious rituals like a universal practice of praying toward a geographical location every day (Dan. 6:10).

The biblical narrative stories of faith provide no opportunity for salvation through the self-effort of “good-works” and the “self-realization” of religious practices and rituals.

Through God-composed journey of faith life-scripts…God goes boldly into the realm of human life…cutting across the grain of the conventionality of our standard dreams, goals, and aspirations…according to His higher ways and thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9).

In the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness it is recorded in Luke 4:6-8:

6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.

7 If thou therefore will worship me, all shall be thine.

8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

“Worshipping only God”…tells us that this present world still belongs to God.  Worshipping only God is the correct optional choice for human beings…and it is an option we can willingly choose.

God can craft life-scripts having events and circumstances that cross-over into human life in any way that He chooses in order to set-up the context for biblical faith to actualize.

Judging from the narrative stories of faith in the Bible…this novel and innovative approach goes much deeper than the religious rituals designed for worship.

The calling of David is to become a king.  Joseph’s calling is to become a governor.  Abraham is called to become the “father of faith.”

Moses is called to deliver the Israelites from Egypt.  Ezra is called to rebuild the temple.  Nehemiah’s calling is to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem.

Jeremiah is called to stand within the gates into Jerusalem and preach the messages God gives him.  The calling of Gideon is to expel the Midianite invaders.  Daniel is called to be a prophet and a leader of the Jews in exile.

Peter is called to lead the early church in Jerusalem.  Paul is called to preach the new gospel message to the Jews and Gentiles scattered throughout the Greco-Roman world in the first-century.

These journeys of faith inexplicably have little connection to religious practices and rituals…an odd, interesting, and transcendent feature…which looking back in hindsight we might expect to find in life-scripts leading toward “spiritual adulthood”…composed by a “grown-up” God for us…who obviously knows more about godliness than we do…and has set-out a course for life and for study for each of us…taking us through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ…through the narrow gate of Matthew 7:13-14…described in The Sermon on the Mount.

Journeys of Faith are not ” Religious” 1

Another compelling apologetic evidence for the existence of God and the truth of the Bible…also possessing inspirational value…is that the biblical narrative stories of faith starting with Abraham in the Old Testament…do not align with what we normally want in life according to worldly conventional thinking.

But equally revealing is that the callings of God in the Bible are not “religious” in nature.

According to modern conventionality…we want the best education, a great job that we enjoy working at…with a high salary…so that we can afford to travel and take vacations…and to purchase the things that we want.

We want to buy a house in a good location, have a loving marriage, raise a family, have friends, enjoy hobbies, play sports, have good health, drive a nice automobile, send our children off to college at Harvard, NYU, or Oxford, have a secure retirement, and avoid warfare and natural disasters.

There is nothing wrong with any of these goals, aspirations, and expectations.

They are commendable and admirable when translated into any culture…starting in ancient times going forward…progressing up to today.

But these goals, dreams, aspirations, and sentiments are not anything like the underlying themes of the life-scripts of the biblical narrative stories of faith.

They are in two entirely different zones of reality.

This should raise some red-flags…should get our attention in the apologetics debate now centuries old and still going strong…in determining the origin…human-invented or divine…of these biblical narrative stories of faith.

This particular nail-head cannot be hit by a hammer too many times.

This particular issue cannot be explored from too many different angles or viewpoints…being central to the biblical narrative of truth inserted into the human marketplace of ideas…amidst a worldly secular sea of multiple competing narratives all telling us the direct opposite thing…to go our own way in life…separate and apart from God.

Becoming the “father of faith” by traveling from one city to a new region that in the future will be called the Promised Land (Heb. 11:8)…according to the promise of God to Abraham that He will start a new nation of people physically and spiritually…through Abraham…as numerous as the dust of the earth…does not fall anywhere within any ancient version of the list of what we normally want in life…described above.

Being sold into slavery into ancient Egypt…in order to begin a novel and innovative graduate MBA program lasting 13 years in business management and leadership training for Joseph…within a God-composed journey of faith life-script…that eventually leads to becoming a divinely inspired, first-rate governor of Egypt during the crisis of a great famine…again does not come anywhere near the list of normal goals and aspirations listed above.

What about the backstory of the uniquely innovative preparation for the calling and mission-plan of Moses…initially educated and trained for leadership at the highest level in Egypt…yet spending 40 years in exile as a shepherd of sheep on the hillsides of Midian…prepared to become the deliverer of the Israelites as slaves in Egypt…and the “shepherd” to lead his people across the desert and to the boundary edge of the Promised Land?

We will not find this life-script theme of extraordinary goals and grandeur-of-mission on any conventional list of things we normally want…and aspire to…in life.

Would anyone normally want to be the king of Israel in ancient times like David…if it involved the arduous route of 13 years of near-death escapades fighting the Philistines and evading the deadly opposition of King Saul?

We might if we were David…but the narrow way God designed for David is not on the list of things defining a conventionally normal life.

The life of the apostle Peter is a great example of the contrasting dichotomy of self-sovereignty according to worldly conventional thinking…versus a totally different life-script according to God-sovereignty.

Jesus sees the future potential in Peter to lead the early Christian church in Jerusalem…just as God sees a hidden potential in all of us…because He created us.

But during the period of time after the resurrection of Jesus…and before His ascension…Jesus does not instruct Peter, James, and John…and the other disciples to sign-up to attend rabbinical school in Jerusalem and then fit-in with the Jewish religious community…to join-in with the status quo…to “go along to get along.”

Peter is called to stand up on Pentecost to powerfully preach Jesus Christ as Savior and Messiah to thousands gathered in Jerusalem…through the power of the Holy Spirit…at the risk to his life in the very city where a short time ago Jesus was crucified.

Peter and John are then enlisted…through the cascade of events following the miraculous healing of the crippled man at one entrance into the temple called the Beautiful Gate (Acts 3:2)…to stand and testify before the august and intimidating Sanhedrin council in Jerusalem…again at the risk of their lives…and boldly proclaim Jesus as Savior, King, and Messiah…to the very religious elites who rejected Jesus and instigated His death on the cross…only weeks earlier.

This is not the horizontally conventional, worldly recommended normalcy…of mass conformity to mediocre standards…by any definition.

Some Scriptural Conflicts are Resolved within the Narrative Stories of Faith 2

Predestined election and free-will choice are not in conflict in the biblical narrative stories of faith…because election and choice are fused together in the storylines…using the different reality equations of the timeless existence of God…and our dimensions of time and space.

In my opinion therefore…this resolves the seeming theological dispute between the scriptures that alternately support predestination, foreordination, election, free-will choice, the universal outreach of salvation, and the numerous (13) “whosoever’s” in the New Testament…all blended together into a harmonious synthesis…bringing together two entirely different roles…of God and of people…set within the two entirely different time-frame realities…of timelessness in the Spirit featuring the divine foresight of God…and humans within the earthly fourth dimension of time spread-out over the here-and-now.

I believe this method of biblical interpretation…derived from the narrative stories of faith…makes the case for the eternal security of salvation from the side…the viewpoint…the perspective of a timeless God having divine foresight.

God’s promise of eternal life is true and eternally unchangeable at the precise moment of the occurrence of the believer’s new birth in the Spirit…because this promise of God occurs on both the timeless side…of God…and also spread-out within our dimension of time (Heb. 11:1)…yet both simultaneously at the same moment in time…in heaven and on earth.

This I believe is what I experienced during the first few weeks following becoming a born-again Christian at age 18…many years ago now.

My spirit rejoiced in a supernatural way with “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:8) that it had received eternal life…the angels in heaven rejoicing along with me (Lk. 15:7) which would not have been the case if salvation is contingent…if salvation can be lost over the course of a God-composed life-script that has the final outcome in doubt…as if God is limited by our dimension of time…which He created…rather than having the timeless foresight we can recognize in scripture…played-out in the biblical narrative stories of faith…wherein the people of faith are successful overcomers without exception.

This I believe is what Paul is describing in 2 Corinthians 1:22 and Ephesians 1:13-14…a timeless God who knows the ends from the beginnings (Isa. 46:9-10)…and can seal our eternal security at the start of our salvation because He already sees what we cannot yet see…the end-point of our God-composed and God-assisted…journey of faith.

The biblical narrative stories of faith are controlling here…have the final say…in resolving the issue of the eternal security of Spirit-born salvation.

Biblical narrative stories of faith…that could not plausibly come out of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…as human literary fiction…and that have positive outcomes requiring timeless foresight on the part of the non-fiction script-writer God…makes the argument from the biblical narrative stories of faith…that our salvation is eternally secure.

This gives today’s Christian the assurance to be able to step-out into their own unique God-composed journey of faith life-script…and make the mistakes we are bound to make…without jeopardizing our eternal salvation…our born-again status.

This also again makes the argument for the divine origin of the Bible…in the supernaturally blended mixture of conflicting realities coming from two different time-frames…that only God could resolve…that only God would even know about…and far too complex and unconventional to be the product of human literary imagination.

If God is operating from the direction of timeless foresight in terms of predestination and election…and believers are living in the fourth dimension of time which enables the free-will choice to engage with God in a Hebrews 11:1 journey of faith spread-out over some interval of time…this not only clarifies what today’s Christians are supposed to be doing in terms of seeking-out God and pursuing our individual callings…but also gives perspective in recognizing the enormous amount of thought and work that God put into the universe…to be able to provide us with a journey of faith discovery into the knowledge of good and evil…spread-out over time…that can be experienced through specific events and circumstances in a physical environment.

I include this brief argument for eternal security because confidence upfront in our salvation is essential for end-times Christians entering into the type of adventures of faith depicted in the Bible…that make up the apologetic and inspirational case for the divine origin of the Bible…being articulated and advocated in this book (Daniel 12:1, 10; Mt. 24:21-24).

Some Scriptural Conflicts are Resolved within the Narrative Stories of Faith 1

In my opinion, many of the scriptural debates and conflicts we still have with us today in biblical interpretation…are adjudicated and resolved by God within the events, details, and storylines of the biblical narrative stories of faith.

This provides us with a somewhat new and innovative methodology for biblical interpretation…which I do not think has been fully utilized in the recent past…at least on the big issues that divide Christians.

This then also identifies one motivation for why spiritual opposition in high places (Eph. 6:12) has been so vehemently attacking the credibility of these biblical narrative stories of faith for hundreds of years.

Take for example, the New Testament issue between predestined election versus free-will choice…related to the all-important question of the timing in our lives of our eternal security of salvation…vitally important as a practical matter in our Christian discipleship.

Isaiah 46:9-10 tells us that God lives in a timeless environment.  The apostle Peter tells us that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pet. 3:8).

The biblical narrative stories of faith could not consistently and universally have all of its faith characters…all reach positive final outcomes in their individual life-scripts…having “happy” endings…unless the God who wrote their life-scripts and orchestrated their adventures of faith… knew in advance through divine foresight that they would eventually succeed and not fail.

Because there is not the slightest hint of trial-and-error, make-it-up-as-we-go, evolutionary progression in any of the biblical narrative stories of faith…being in essence fully developed life-scripts that are functionally perfect and complete…right out of the box…no instructions and no tools required…then the only two explanations for this scriptural phenomenon is that either these stories are entirely human fiction…with manufactured positive endings…or that the composer is God…inhabiting a timeless existence…having divine foresight…wherein He can compose life-scripts where He knows ahead-of-time the ends from the beginnings (Rev. 13:8; Isa. 45:21, 46:9-10, 48:3; Mt. 24:2).

The biblical narrative stories of faith do not have ten different Abrahams…all vying to become the top-most “father of faith” through a survival of the fittest, trial-and-error competition to determine the winner…so this explanation is ruled-out.

The same can be said for all of the other positive characters of faith in the Bible.

None of the biblical people of faith appear to have Plan B and Plan C back-up candidates in waiting…in case people like Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, or David completely fail in their callings.

One commonsense argument for the timeless foresight of the God of the Bible…is that the timeline schedule for the appearances and mission-plans for each task in the Old and New Testaments…has milestone calendar dates that must stay on-schedule…thus eliminating any trial-and-error suspense regarding the eventual success of the people of faith in their specific callings.

If multiple substitute people were needed to fill-in when the primary main characters failed in their missions…through trial-and-error that added time to the timeline…this might conceivably push the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ ahead in time to the 4th, 6th, or even 10th-century A.D., at a time beyond which Roman crucifixion was no longer in use…and thus ruining the prophetic details of Psalm 22.

Therefore, one compelling argument for the divine origin of the biblical narrative stories of faith…and for resolving some seemingly conflicting scriptural interpretations…is that God has this incredible capacity of divine timeless foresight.

God created Abraham…composed his journey of faith life-script…and knew ahead of time that the one-and-only, singular person Abraham would go all the way to the finish-line…mistakes and shortcomings accounted for…to achieve final overcoming victory in a unique life-plan God invented for Abraham and for the benefit of us…that took the measure of his soul and produced a personal relationship with God along the way.

Yet all the time throughout his journey of faith…Abraham has complete free-will choice.  Abraham is not a machine.  He is not a pre-programmed robot.

To be able to experience love…to be loved by God and to return this love toward God…within the context of events and circumstances within his very complex journey of faith life-script…Abraham must exercise his free-will choice to follow God’s plan to the exclusion of his own plans.

This is one brief example of the mystery of how God blends and adjudicates the seeming disparate conflict between His divinely timeless foresight…and our free-will…through the storylines of the biblical narrative stories of faith.

Two Distinct Worldviews Argue for the Divine Origin of the Bible

One obvious yet subtle observation about the narratives stories of faith in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible…that strongly argues for their divine origin…is that it is God who takes the initiative in calling people into their varied missions.

In the biblical narrative stories of faith…people uncharacteristically respond to God’s enlistment into unique storyline callings…rather than the other way around.

The life-script agenda of premeditated, purpose-saturated events are proactively set by God…not engineered by the actors themselves.

This enlistment by God into the dynamic vehicle of a journey of faith…composed and introduced outside of human imagination and invention…is the diametric opposite of a worldly typical journey of self.

Journeys of faith composed by God as recorded in the Bible… actually displace our free-will tendency to stubbornly go in our own direction…to do things our way (Isa. 55:8-9)…instead with the novel alternative concept of a life-script having an entirely new trajectory of events and circumstances…that now include faith and trust in God’s higher ways and thoughts…above and to the exclusion of our own.

By what stretch of the imagination would this unconventional dynamic be the sole product of human literary invention?

Obviously, we have the capacity within our human nature to respond to God and to enter into a walk of faith…otherwise there would be no narrative stories of faith in the Bible at all.

Without the in-built, internal ability to answer the callings of God and to follow His lead into adventures of faith…there would be no biblical narrative stories about Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Ruth, Hannah, Esther and Mordecai, Daniel, Peter, or Paul…to name only a few.

            But the fundamental question is: where did this singular capacity for God-sovereignty in our lives originate from? 

Who or what actualized it into the reality of recorded experience…that it enters into the rational realm of human phenomenon to the point of being recorded in the Bible as an orderly and intelligible alternative worldview to the conventional worldview of going our own way…if not by or from God?

Discussion of either a divine or a human origin in this area…rises above mere uninformed circular reasoning and speculative conjecture…when the worldly unconventional element of God displacing our ways in our lives with His ways…is introduced as the main factor into the equation.

There is no frame-of-reference…no known reality of experience…within worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…that could possibly inspire the utter originality of either a real or even a literary fictional journey of faith…following the leading of a God-composed journey of faith life-script that displaces our ways with god’s ways.

This concept of hearing the voice of God in the Spirit and following His leading into a walk of faith…does not exist anywhere outside of the biblical narrative stories of faith…or outside of the biographies of Christians living in the church age…in either ancient history or today in the 21st century.

This provocative concept will not be found in Shakespeare, Twain, Steinbeck, Hemingway, Agatha Christie, or in the recent historical fiction novel A Column of Fire by Ken Follett about the growth of religious tolerance in the middle to late 1500’s in Europe.

The concept of hearing God’s voice and following His lead…after the pattern given in the Bible…is not part of the great philosophical ideas of the Enlightenment…nor will it be found as a current topic of discussion in world history, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, or even in religious studies classes in secular universities and colleges around the world.

Yet this concept…of God displacing our thoughts and life-plans with His higher thoughts and ways…starting with Abraham the “father of faith” as he walks from Haran to Canaan…is one of the most ancient, innovative, and brilliantly imaginative ideas in all of human experience.

Our capacity within human nature to follow God into a walk-of-faith life-script that displaces our way with God’s way…differentiates two distinctly opposing worldviews that separate out into the extreme ends of the spectrum-line…self-sovereignty on one end and God-sovereignty on the other.

Atheists and skeptical critics of the Bible assert that the biblical stories of faith are fiction…are part myth and part literary imagination…historically because these stories run contrary to the philosophy of naturalism…which excludes the miraculous.

This is a paradigm in recent past centuries that was predominant in philosophy…but is now debunked by the theistic implications of the incredibly large amounts of complex and specified information in DNA, the Cambrian Explosion, the Anthropic Principle, and the Big Bang…complex and coherent systems of information inexplicable by gradualistic natural processes alone.

The big question here is how would a concept…of following God into a walk-of-faith life-script…which is so contrary to our other innate, natural tendency to go our own way…to do things our way…to be independent, autonomous self-rulers…how would this ever get started?

Within the closed-system of worldly conventional life that we observe and experience every day…what could and would introduce this second alternative side of our nature that brings to life this novel and innovative game-plan of a journey of faith?

As Abraham the biblical “father of faith” travels from the city of Haran to the Promised Land of Canaan…with each step he takes God is displacing whatever normative life Abraham would have lived in Haran according to its culture and conventions…with a life-script containing the critically new element of faith in God…a life-script Abraham would never have imagined in his wildest dreams.

And with each step Abraham takes towards Canaan and away from Haran…the atheistic starting hypothesis that this story is human invented fiction…that God does not exist and therefore could not have spoken to Abraham…is a door that is closed by reason of the sheer innovative novelty of the setting aside of autonomous self-sovereignty…that this storyline introduces into the marketplace of great historical ideas.

The start-up initiative here…the through-line in every narrative story of faith in the Bible…is with God.

People of faith in the Bible react positively to God’s enlistment of them into a scheme of events and circumstances that stretch them…in terms of a relationship with God and in self-sacrificing service to others…and that measures their souls…far beyond anything they could have invented or contrived on their own.

The creative origin of this concept…along with the imaginative unconventionality of the concept itself…is supernatural.

The concept of the cross of Christ (Lk. 22:42) embedded within the life-scripts of the people of faith in the Bible…starting with Abraham…that reveals our innate capacity to follow God into a walk-of-faith…is inexplicable within the atheistic philosophies of naturalistic materialism and scientism.

Biblical Faith 3

Moving along in the Bible…certainly the life-story of Joseph in Egypt…demonstrates over his lifetime the innate, in-built capacity to successfully manage the sheep herding family-business in Canaan…but the series of extraordinary events that leads to Joseph governing the entire nation of Egypt during a great famine…as a Hebrew foreigner…falls outside of not only the human capacity of Joseph to contrive and self-orchestrate…but falls outside of his ability to even imagine ahead of time.

The information-content that describes the person and life-plan destiny of Joseph…placed inside him like a seed…finds brilliant fulfillment through his God-composed life-script…that begins with his innate talents and abilities…tinged with the arrogance of being his father’s favorite son…that must first fall into the ground and die for a period of time as a servant-slave in Potiphar’s house…and as a falsely accused felon in Pharaoh’s prison…before this divinely composed life-script for Joseph can actualize into concrete reality.

Moses will not commence the deliverance of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt…by killing an Egyptian and hiding his body in the sand…incorrectly assuming by this action that his Hebrew “brethren” (Acts 7:23-28) would recognize and acknowledge his calling to deliver them from bondage.

No human power on earth could deliver the Israelites from bondage as slaves in Egypt.

But at the burning bush the innate abilities created within Moses match-up with the God-composed life-script calling for Moses…and he enters into the spectacular and larger-than-life destiny…through faith and trust in God…and not in himself…that according to Hebrews 11:6 cited above…pleases God…and benefits a large number of people.

Who else in the Bible falls into this same pattern of an information-rich seed first falling into the ground to die…before rising out of the ground to become an apple, orange, or avocado tree…to realize their in-built potential?

Joshua has good reason to fear the heavily fortified, walled cities of the Canaanites…that he has been tasked by God to militarily conquer.

God says to Joshua several times throughout this campaign…to conquer the Promised Land: “Fear not, neither be thou dismayed” (Josh. 8:1).

Yet Joshua and the Israelites have to learn the hard-way on two occasions…about the difficulty of the transition from self-sovereignty to God-sovereignty (Josh. 7:3-5, 9:14-15).

Certainly David knows intimately about the concept of a seed falling into the ground to die…rising up to become a specific “tree” with a specified purpose and destiny…bearing much fruit.

Even though David is anointed at the age of seventeen by the great prophet Samuel to become the next king in Israel…David somehow understands that he cannot help-out God to fulfill his calling…when on two occasions David could have taken the life of King Saul (1 Sam. 24:4-7, 26:8-12).

It would be safe to say that…like Joseph in Pharaoh’s prison three months before God gives the famine dream to Pharaoh…David’s low-point at Ziklag (1 Sam. 30:6) comes at the end of the long process of a seed dying in the ground.

Both Joseph and David rise-up into their respective destinies…having their innate talents and abilities still intact…but now redirected within the narrow gate and the hard way of God-sovereignty (Mt. 7:13-14)…to be now able to “bring forth much fruit.”

Similar scenarios of seeds falling first into the ground to die…can be derived from the stories of Gideon (Jud. 7:2), Ruth (Ruth. 1:16-18), Hannah (1 Sam. 1:15-16), Elijah (1 Ki. 19:10), Jeremiah (Jer. 20:7-9), Esther and Mordecai (Est. 4:16-17), Daniel (Dan. 2:12-18), Ezra (Ezra 4:21-24), Nehemiah (Neh. 1:11), Joseph and Mary (Lk. 2:41-52), John the Baptist (Jn. 3:30), Peter (Lk. 22:61-62), James the half-brother of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:7), the disciples (Mk. 14:50), the early Christian church as a whole (Acts 8:1), the apostle Paul (Acts 9:3-9), and Jesus Christ (Lk. 22:42)…to name a few.

Self-sovereignty is incapable of “bringing forth much fruit” according to autonomous individualism…because human beings lack divine foresight and timeless foreknowledge.

Only God can write the extraordinary and unconventional biblical narrative stories of faith…matching the in-built personal capabilities of the people of faith…with callings that have supernatural missions, goals, and outcomes…that are only assessable through the biblical faith described in Hebrews 11:1 and 11:6.

Falling into the ground as a seed to die…picking up our cross to follow Jesus…entering in at the narrow gate (Mt. 7:13-14)…”hating” this life in terms of “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1Jn. 2:15-16)…are the necessary components of making the transition from self-sovereignty to God-sovereignty…in the realm of the kingdom of God where all things are possible.

In John 15:5 Jesus is recorded as saying: “I am the vine, ye are the branches:  He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

The amazingly curious aspect about the truth of the Bible and Christianity…and the existence of God…is that the supernatural participation of God in the biblical narrative stories of faith…that separates out atheists and agnostics into unbelief…is the very thing that creates the life within the God-composed journey of faith life-scripts.

The self-sovereignty of going our own way is the wide gate and the broad way of Matthew 7:13-14…that leads to destruction…because on that broad road of self-autonomy…God has no opportunity to make the connection between our created abilities…and the life-script He has written for us…that can bring forth much fruit.

Self-sovereignty is the way of rebellion and chaos…of thinking our ways are better than God’s ways…and is unacceptable in the kingdom of God…in a timeless eternity.

Only faith and trust in God will push through the adversity of falling into the ground as a seed…to first have our own will and ideas die…in order for God to raise us up according to our in-built capacity and destiny…to walk with Him through life along a supernatural path that has the unique and individual context to bring forth much fruit…as articulated in the brilliant John 12:24-25 verses quoted above.

Biblical Faith 2

There is a pattern that is discernable within the callings of the people of faith in the Bible…starting with Abraham’s detailed and highly specific life-script…all the way through to the calling and ministry of the apostle Paul…that authenticates the divine origin of the biblical narrative stories of faith…but at the same time also provides inspirational guidance as to what Christians today should expect in their callings and mission-plans from God.

Like the information that is contained within the seed that grows into an apple, orange, or fig tree…God as our Creator knows exactly the precise information He has placed within each and every human being.

The analogy that Jesus uses in John 12:24 above…of a seed first having to die in the ground in order to emerge as a tree or plant…as applied to the people of faith in the biblical narrative stories of faith…reveals to us over the long expanse of human redemptive history…different types of people, callings, and missions that match the in-built personalities, capabilities, and characteristics of each specific person…like the seeds for apple, orange, or avocado trees.

Like the farmer recognizing and knowing the type of seed they are planting…God knows what He has placed within us…to be able to enter successfully into an adventure of faith…and to fulfill our unique and singular missions…with His assistance along the way.

One question that is crucial here…is how does the apple tree know when it is time to stop growing…and begin to produce fruit…to produce apples?

This information is contained initially in the apple seed, and then in the individual cells of the apple tree.

The same is true for the born-again Christian today…no matter what is our calling and circumstances.

One thing that pleases God…according to Hebrews 11:6 cited above…is to be able to match-up the innate, in-built capacities He has created within us…with a God-composed life-script actualized within the events and circumstances of this present world…for our benefit and for the benefit of other people…through a relationship of mutual trust and faith.

This dynamic of an adventure of faith…is designed by God to last and to endure for eternity.

This insight of John 12:24-25…universal within every biblical narrative story of faith…is so deep…it eludes all naturalistic explanations for its origin in the marketplace of ideas…and completely surpasses the reach of the worldly conventionality of humanistic literary imagination.

This concept is found…in all of literature…exclusively only in the Bible…actualized in the innovative idea of our ways dying on our individual crosses…designed specifically to match our created abilities and desires-of-the-heart…alongside Jesus on His cross (Mk. 8:34-35)…God displacing our self-directed ways with His higher ways and thoughts…within a God-composed journey of faith life-script…brilliantly replacing self-sovereignty with God-sovereignty…which only God could do.

Let’s look at a few biblical examples for illustration.

I do not think it would be a stretch to infer from the life-script of God’s calling of Abraham…to confidently say that the desire to produce a family was a high-priority in the information-package divinely created within the “seed” that describes the person and life of Abraham.

Abraham has everything…wealth, possessions, servants, and a beautiful wife he loves…but he does not have a family upon arrival in Canaan.

At the very center of the God-composed life-script for Abraham is a promise of descendants as numerous as the dust of the earth…pinpointing at the outset of his calling…a divinely created, in-built desire-of-the-heart for Abraham…that is accurately utilized by God in fashioning Abraham to become…over time…and through a series of divinely crafted events…the “father of faith.”

Yet this same created, innate desire for a normal family-life also produces the context for the problem with Sarah, Hagar, and Ishmael…and later on sets-up the supreme challenge of faith for Abraham on Mount Moriah…that may be the most difficult test that any human being has ever been asked of God to face…other than Jesus Christ as the Passover Lamb of God in a human body…taking upon Himself the sins of the world…on the cross at Calvary.

In other words…God not only crafted the life-script adventure of faith for Abraham…but God as Creator placed within Abraham the unique information-content…the capacity to take this adventure of faith…according to God’s script and on His terms…all the way to a successful conclusion (Heb. 11:17-19; Rom. 4:3).

What makes the biblical narrative stories of faith so extraordinary as to validate their divine origin…starting with Abraham…is that Abraham’s own ability to produce children of promise through Sarah…needed to fall into the ground to die like a seed…in order to rise up as a supernaturally endowed and beneficial life-story…that rises far above the worldly conventionality of self-produced outcomes through autonomous individualism (Gen. 17:15-19).

It would appear from the biblical narrative stories of faith…that the big-picture objective…is worldly unconventional to the core.

The big-picture objective gleaned from the biblical narrative stories of faith examples…is not to validate our worth and value according to self-reliant self-achievement (Mk. 8:36)…using our created talents and abilities…apart from God…but instead to validate an entirely different objective.

That entirely different objective is to create the unique contexts for biblical faith to actualize into personal relationships between people and God…at the height of our created purpose and destiny.

Can Abraham produce children…on his own…within worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…without God’s divine intervention…outside of the promises of God?

The answer is yes.

After the death of Sarah, Abraham took another wife…Keturah…who gave birth to Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.

We should not forget that Abraham produced Ishmael…his first son…through Hagar (Gen. 16:15).

But we do know…from scripture (Gen. 17:19)…that Abraham cannot produce Isaac the son of promise…outside of Sarah.

The three men that visited Abraham and Sarah in the plains of Mamre…recorded in Genesis chapter 18…the leader being called Lord by Abraham (I believe this was Jesus the Son of God)…confirms for us that in this critical opening scenario…introducing the biblical narrative stories of faith…this worldly unconventional and innovative component of God validates His divine participation in the affairs of mankind…clearly front-and-center…again for the highest imaginable reasons.

The life-story of Abraham does not validate the fact that Abraham is capable of producing a large and happy family-life on his own…according to conventional thinking…but instead that God can create the new reality of biblical faith as defined in Hebrews 11:1…having a gap in time between the initial calling of Abraham with God’s promise of descendants as numerous as the dust of the earth…and the fulfillment of this promise coming years later…that forms the context for this biblical faith to actualize into real human life experience.

Does the life-story of Abraham match the analogy that Jesus presents of a seed falling into the ground to die…rising up to produce much fruit?

Does the deferment…the postponement…of the birth of Isaac the son of promise…represent God dangling the desire-of-the-heart out of the reach of Abraham and Sarah for a period of time…for a capricious and ill-intentioned motive…or does utilizing this innately created characteristic in Abraham instead produce the unique context for biblical faith to actualize…to rise-up out of the ground to become a supernaturally created…fruit-bearing tree?

Does this concept…starting with Abraham…reside at the pinnacle of moral reasoning…at the very peak of importance…in the long expanse of human redemptive history?

Biblical Faith 1

In the biblical narrative stories of faith…God does not dangle a positive promise in front of people…initiated by Him…then withhold the fulfillment of that promise for some length of time…for other than the highest and most profound of reasons…having eternal import…premeditated and pre-planned before these biblical people of faith…were born (Ps. 139:14-16).

Biblical faith in God…as opposed to any other type of faith…is singularly defined in Hebrews 11:1 as:

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Five verses later…Hebrews 11:6 further defines biblical faith:

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

These two verses validate the divine origin of the biblical narrative stories of faith…starting in Genesis chapter twelve in the Old Testament at the beginning of the fully detailed and complex life-story of Abraham…to the close of the ministry of the apostle Paul in Acts chapter twenty-eight in the New Testament.

These two verses profoundly violate the philosophy of humanism as a worldview.

Only the real, living God…who possesses timeless foresight and foreknowledge (Isa. 46:9-10)…could create the inherent and innate capacities within people…then compose journey of faith life-scripts…having supernatural callings, missions, and outcomes unattainable through solely humanistic means…that match these created, in-built abilities and talents.

Certainly people today can internally read their own innate likes, talents, and abilities…and forge a career path…according to autonomous individualism…that leads to becoming a medical doctor, lawyer, accountant, engineer, teacher, scientist, auto mechanic, town mayor, stay-at-home mom, soldier, or movie actress.

But the goals and outcomes in the biblical narrative stories of faith require the input from a supernatural source.

Not only do the callings and missions of people like Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Ruth, Hannah, Samuel, David, Elijah, Jeremiah, Esther and Mordecai, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Joseph and Mary, Peter, John, James, and Paul…to name a few…contain supernatural goals and outcomes…but these goals and outcomes fall so far outside of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…are so foreign to worldly normal ambitions and aspirations…that they fall outside of human in-advance contemplation altogether.

If the biblical narrative stories of faith are to enter into our reality…into the marketplace of ideas…in the distant past and today…they must come through the proactive initiation of God…and not through human literary imagination or mythological, legendary fictional development.

An important point here of practical application…is that this component of the precise match between innate created abilities and the callings and missions in the biblical narrative stories of faith…initiated by God…makes a genuine calling from God…of whatever level of magnitude… assessable for every Spirit-born Christian today.

In fact, that is precisely the stated intention of God articulated through Jeremiah 31:31-34 in the prophesied future transition from the old covenant to the new covenant…that actualized in the first-century A.D. through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ…creating the new and living way for believers to have a personal relationship…to get to know God…”from the least to the greatest.”

This means that born-again Christians…no matter what their current status or situation…do not have to be afraid of being “too religious” or “too Christian”…in the fear that if we give our lives to Jesus Christ and begin to truly follow Him as disciples…that He will then ask us to do something wildly ambitious and over-the-top like becoming missionaries in the Amazon rainforest…being chased for our lives by natives with bows and arrows…and poison-tipped blow-darts.

The totally unconventional concept…that will not be found in any other religions, philosophies, and worldviews in all of human history…is that in God-composed journeys of faith life-scripts for new covenant believers…God matches our callings with our created in-built abilities and talents…and therefore would not ask us to enter into an adventure of faith above our in-built, bent-of-the-heart desires and abilities…to not only freely want to follow God into our destined purpose…but also to be able to successfully complete the assigned mission.

When God created the seeds for apple, orange, peach, and avocado trees…and for corn, wheat, and barley crops…for example…He placed within each unique type of seed the information that would not only grow into large-sized trees and farm fields as far as the eye can see…but would also produce very specific and different kinds of edible fruits and grains.

John 12:24-25 records the words of Jesus:

24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

In these verses…Jesus introduces a concept that is unique in all of human experience and literary imagination…yet is universally commonplace within every biblical narrative story of faith…including His own experience in Gethsemane, at Calvary Hill, and on Resurrection Day…that establishes a commonly understandable…down-to-earth context for the incredibly novel and unconventional statement in John 12:25…for a biblical-quality adventure of faith following God…on His terms…that will amazingly match our talents, abilities, and the innermost desire of our hearts.

The Mission of Jesus had nothing to do with the American Dream 2

God cannot make square circles, or married bachelors, or one-ended wood sticks, or make two-plus-two to equal five.

Even the Son of God…Jesus Christ in a human body…cannot live two different life storylines at the same time.

Jesus cannot be the Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for the sins of the world…and at the same time lead a Joshua or King David style military army to defeat the Roman army and rid the nation of Israel of Roman occupation.

Jesus cannot be a resounding Jewish national hero in a worldly sense in restoring military and political freedom to the nation of Israel in the first-century…and at the same time follow the worldly contrary life-script to be the humiliated and disgraced, yet blemish-free, Passover Lamb of God slain on a cross on Calvary Hill in Jerusalem…to inaugurate the new covenant salvation being offered to the entire world…Gentiles included…from that time forward into all eternity…as prophesied to occur in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53.

If we see Jesus…on the cross…as the Passover Lamb of God and our Savior…then we can place our faith in Him to compose our journey of faith life-script with the same creative ingenuity and consistent unity-of-purpose that He composed for His own brilliantly focused life-mission.

If we see Jesus on the cross as a failure and a disappointment in terms of fulfilling the positive, worldly materialistic aspects of the lower bottom half of the American Dream…then we will choose the self-sovereignty of going our own way…having no faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and creative composer of our life-script destinies.

The brilliance of the cross of Christ…that places it creatively outside the reach of human literary invention…is that it surgically separates the dichotomies of self-sovereignty and God-sovereignty…while at the same time maintaining…for mankind…the delicate balance between belief and unbelief…this being a spiritual engineering feat beyond human imagination and contrivance.  

The cross of Jesus Christ openly demonstrates the murderous end-point outcome of the autonomous individualism of going our own way apart from God…of self-sovereignty…yet does this in such a clever way that it leaves the open option of rejecting Jesus as Lord and Savior in our lives…at the key decisional fork-in-the-road split between self-sovereignty or God-sovereignty.

The worldly humiliation and the offense…of death by Roman crucifixion…is the very means by which Jesus the Passover Lamb…is slain for our sins.

What reaches the limits of inconceivable depth…light-years beyond what could be the product of human inventive, literary fiction…is that Jesus is the most wealthy and the most successful Person in all of human history…according to any conceivable standard…being the divine Son of God in a human body…the Creator and mastermind of everything in the universe including ourselves…who owns and has power over literally everything.

Jesus Christ can be and do anything He chooses.

If the sin-free, unblemished Passover Lamb of God atoning sacrifice…Jesus Christ…foreglimpsed in the ram caught in the thicket of bushes on Mount Moriah that became the substitute for Isaac (Gen. 22:13)…and depicted in the ancient prophecies of Isaiah 9:6-7 and Isaiah 53…if Jesus can perfectly live a divinely elevated life-script…being the Son of God while enjoying none of the outward advantages of the American Dream (Mt. 8:20)…this then opens up the opportunity to every believer who will accept God’s invitation to follow Him by faith into a biblical-quality adventure of faith…to experience life to the fullest according to God’s perspective (Mt. 5:3-12) within a divinely composed journey of faith for each of us…regardless of social, cultural, or economic status.

A God-composed journey of faith life-script is in an entirely different category…going in a different direction…entering in at the narrow gate of the cross as described in Matthew 7:13-14…as spoken by Jesus in The Sermon on the Mount…in a fundamentally different way of life from pursuing the American Dream…through our own efforts.

This is one of the most important…possibly the most important message coming from the Bible…relevant and applicable to modern, sophisticated mankind today…that Jesus Christ is not only our Savior and King…but also that He is the way, the truth, and the life…because He is the only person in all of existence who can craft journey of faith life-scripts for us that transcend above worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

Jesus can do this not only because He is our Creator God…who knows each of us intimately…but also because He lived just such an unconventional life-script Himself.

The narrative stories of faith in the Bible are therefore of enormous and incalculable worth.

For this reason they have been under attack for the last three to four hundred years…for their supernatural accounts of the interactions between people and God…and for their accounts of the supernatural events that were and still are today incorrectly criticized for being outside of the supposed closed-system of naturalistic materialism…a filled-with-holes, philosophical paradigm that no longer holds water…that does not stand-up…in this new, Information Age time-period.

The narrative stories of faith in the Bible go way beyond being thrilling bedtime stories for children, covering issues that are deadly serious in their sophisticated applications to life.

The fundamental difference between going our own way in pursuit of the American Dream…and instead partnering with the living God within a journey of faith that may result in an outcome that exceeds the goals, dreams, and aspirations of the American Dream (Gen. 41:37-44; Ex. 12:31-36; Josh. 11:23; 2 Sam. 2:1-4; 2 Tim. 4:6-8)…is a contrasting, discontinuous gap of two choices for human life…two distinct roads to travel…that far outpaces  the inventive imagination of human literary fiction-writing.

As the Pharisees, scribes, Sadducees, and lawyers stand around the cross mocking Jesus…their calculus concerning what to do with Jesus after He raised Lazarus from the dead…is something like an ancient version of: “nice guys finish last.”

They are completely unaware that God is using their worldview of self-sovereignty as the tool…through the cross…to provide salvation to all of the upcoming new covenant believers to shortly spring-up within the early Christian church.

Here God is exposing and demonstrating in action the self-indictment and condemnation of Satan…turned brilliantly back against him…in his original attempt to get Jesus to part ways from God-sovereignty…in the subtly and deceptively clothed offer of the power and glory of the kingdoms of this world…in the temptation in the wilderness.

At Calvary…God openly exposed the supposed virtue of self-autonomous individualism…as practiced by Satan…as nothing better than murderous rebellion.