Freedom is the ability to choose one’s actions.
People are quick to blame God when things go bad, even faulting him for having the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden because, being omniscient, he knew full well that human beings would eat the fruit and become captive to sin.
The reality is that the tree gave us freedom – defined as “the power to determine action without restraint.”
I often keep my kindergarten granddaughter at my place.She says she loves being here with me. Why? She has lots of creative activities at her disposal, and because the items for the activities are already stored in her play space, she doesn’t have to wait on me to give permission or resources. She has the freedom to chose if she wants to make soups or cakes from the ingredients in her kitchen cabinet, paint pictures, string jewelry, play with her dolls, choose a snack to eat, play outside. All the time having Nana to talk to, get help from, feel secure with and loved by.
I love our rapport. She’s responsible because she shares my values. Neither one of us demands that we always get our own way. We respecting each other rights and needs.
Can you apply that to a relationship between God and humans?
- Freedom is not being able to do whatever you want.
- Freedom is being able not to do actions being forced on you.
Freedom is not being oppressed by evil either from an outside force or an inner uncontrollable drive to use drugs, overeat, or self harm in any way.
Without the opportunity to choose, provided by just one fruit tree, humans would have been drones, always under the control of our Creator. But God isn’t a control freak. In contrast to the bad guys, he doesn’t force anyone to submit to his control.
We make choices because of the intended desired consequences. In Mrs. Adam’s case the intended consequence from eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil was becoming the authority.
Separation from Creator God’s authority – not only from oneself but from his authority over others who have malevolent intentions towards us – is plainly the unavoidable consequence of being one’s own authority.
God clearly stated this consequence when he introduced Adam to the tree.
“And the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath / spirit of life, and man became a living being…of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it surely you shall die / become separated from the source of life .” (Genesis 2)
Not only does the same passage that defines life as God breathing life / his spirit into a human allow us to logically induce that death is God taking the breath / his spirit out of a human, this is frankly stated elsewhere.
“Remember now thy Creator…man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets…Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit / breath shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:1-7)
In other words, the Singularity Creator formed our ancestor and brought him-her to life with his own spirit. Then he gave mankind the opportunity to choose.
- Stay linked in to his power and authority
- Or disconnect.
We can deduce from this primary premise that both desired and undesired consequences can result from choices we make. In Mrs. Adam’s case, it was discovering that
- humans are in fact powerless to sustain life by ourselves, and that
- we don’t know enough to be our own authority, but
- our only real choice is deciding which higher authority we will trust.
Knowing and following spiritual laws that define the right way vs the wrong way to act, like knowing and following the laws of physics that define stable vs unstable processes, prevents chaos and saves lives.
We understand this is auto mechanics – to keep the car running we must replenish the gas in the tank, oil in the engine, air in the tires. The same idea is expressed in business, social work, ecology, politics, etc. as Systems Theory.
In systems theory, it is argued that the only way to fully understand something is to understand the parts in relation to the whole. Systems thinking concerns an understanding of a system by examining the linkages and interactions between the elements that compose the entire system. By taking the overall system as well as its parts into account this paradigm offers us fresh insight that is not accessible through the more traditional reductionist approach.
The opposite of Systems Theory is Chaos Theory.
And this is what the Adams brought to all of creation as the unintended consequence of their choice to eat the fruit.
“For the earnest expectation of the creature / creation waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature / creation was made subject to vanity / instability / ineffectiveness, not willingly / from what it had willed or chosen, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
Because [creation is one interconnected system] the creature / creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation [science is just catching up with this] groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:19-23)
What about you? Do you like having a good life, being productive, meeting your goals and having your plans come to fruition?
“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: that thou mayest love / identify with, unite with the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
There is always the most basic toggle option to every decision we face:
- align our plans with the Creator’s / Author’s system design by doing things right – i.e. be right-eous,
- or not.
“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth…And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve.” (Joshua 24:14-15)
Cain is a good case study of freedom gone awry. He knew that God had ordained blood sacrifices for the remission of sin, the transmission of a life for a life most evident in the physical sense of eating the meat of the sacrifice, but he chose instead to promote the quality of his hard work with a fruit basket. And this simply wouldn’t work, but he refused to admit it.
“And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the L1ORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering [undoubtedly indicated, as with Elijah, by fire from heaven consuming the sacrifice]: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and [contrasting back to “if thou doest well”] thou shalt rule over him.” (Gen 4:3-7)
The reality is that no human, in our own ability, can always do well. Neither can we atone for our myriad commissions of un-right and omissions of right behavior, more simply called sins, against God’s creation and creatures. No amount of penance can cancel out the harmful things we’ve done, or reparations give back immaterial things like lost time, lost opportunities, unborn children.
We understand this in human relationships.
The same truth applies to our dealings with God.
It’s a relationship.
The only way we can have a positive relationship with him is one in which we
- repent of the bad choices we’ve made that caused harm to ourselves, our relationships with other, and with our source of life,
- admit our inability to always choose right actions and our commission of many unright actions against the Creator,
- believe his promise and ability to fix it in some way,
- put our faith in his promise to restore us to the status of immortal son of God at the resurrection, like the first Adam and a host of other exemplars, in the face of seemingly impossible odds, not the least of which being continual failures to live up to God’s standards, and physical death.
Of all the choices we make in this life, the one that matters most is the same one made by the Adams.
- I am going to reject the Singular Source of Life and make myself the authority in my life despite my evident powerlessness to ensure desired results OR
- I am going to acknowledge the fact of an ultimate powerful immortal Supreme Source of Life through
- the evidence provided in his creation,
- the provenance provided in his written word
- the witnesses of his physical manifestation and resurrection
- and submit to his authority in my life thereby placing myself under his protection now and in the hereafter.
It’s that simple.
Notice, the Adams didn’t have the Gospel of John, they never heard the name “Jesus”, and they didn’t have a clue about his death and resurrection. They weren’t Jewish either. So how could they be saved?
There is a common teaching that there are different ways of being saved during different eras of time with “works” of sacrifice and following laws required for pre-Christian salvation and work-free gift of grace for Christians. If we stick with a hermeneutical analysis of the Bible we see that there has always been just one way of being saved from sin and its consequences – put your faith in the word of the LORD Creator to the first generation of humans that he would provide a Savior, to whatever extent he has been revealed throughout the course of human space-time. For the Adams and their son Cain, he was only a vague promise as the seed / offspring of the woman who would destroy the death-dealing serpent, and for thousands of years later details were only gradually added.
- “the faith grounded and settled…
- the hope of the gospel,
- which…was preached to every creature which is under heaven…
- to fulfil the word of God;
- Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations,
- but now is made manifest to his saints:” (Colossians 1:22-26)
How could the gospel, which we currently understand as being the essence of Christianity, have been “preached to every creature which is under heaven,” even during the first century of Christianity?
And what about the clear statements in the New Testament, such as:
“by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:10-12)
Doesn’t that make Christianity an exclusive club?
Not if we understand and apply etymology.
Yeshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus. It means “Yahweh [the Lord] is Salvation…” The Bible doesn’t give preeminence to one language (or translation) over another. We are not commanded to call upon the name of the Lord exclusively in Hebrew [or English]. Nor does it matter how we pronounce his name…
Acts 2:21 says, “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (ESV).
Actually the Hebrew name is Yeshua. The letter J wasn’t even added to the English alphabet until after the first publication of the King James Bible in 1611, replacing I or Y when it was used. Now, who would want to confuse the name of YHVH’s Savior?
Interesting that the name Isaiah, or יְשַׁעְ- יָה means Yah is Salvation. “A remarkable feature of the name Isaiah is that it consists of the same two elements as the name Joshua (יהו- שע) the Hebrew…name for Jesus”, just in reverse order.
Jesus Christ himself and his disciples relied on Isaiah’s prophecies to validate him as the ultimate YHVH’s Savior. This should cause us to to understand that our faith rests on the manifestation of YHVH / Immortal Creator however he chooses, not on a religious creed.
“Then they that feared the LORD / YHVH / Creator spake often one to another: and the LORD / YHVH hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD / YHVH, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD / YHVH of hosts / armies, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God / Elohim and him that serveth him not.” (Malachi 3:16-18)
According to this passage, the Adams were saved. And from this prototype we can induce that other people in other cultures around the world, separated by space-time from the New Testament, who never heard “the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth”, never heard that he was “crucified, whom God raised from the dead”, are saved. Yeshua = Yahweh / YHVH = Creator’s Savior is who the Christianized “Jesus Christ” claimed to be. And not only Savior, but Creator himself.
“I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him….because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them…If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do…believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode. And many resorted unto him, and said…all things that John spake of this man were true. And many believed on him there.” (John 10:30-42)
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:1-4)
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:” (Hebrews 1:1-3)
According to Jesus Christ himself, salvation is not found in believing in his Christianized name or even in him as a historic personage, but believing in YHVH, I AM, Creator God.
“Jesus answered them…I speak that which I have seen with my Father…the truth, which I have heard of God…I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me…[the proof being] Which of you convinceth me of sin?…Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he [his personhood, his soult] shall never see death [soul shall never be separated from God, the source of life]…If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God...Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I Am. Then took they up stones to cast at him:” (John 8:34-59)
Of course, these Jewish religious leaders were basing their rejection of Yeshua / YHVH’s Savior on their staunch monotheism.
“Thus saith God the LORD / YHVH / I am, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein; I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. I am the LORD / YHVH: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another.” (Isaiah 42:5-8)
“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it…And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life / those connected to the Source of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works…And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:11-15
Of all the works found written in the books, the one that matters most is our faith in Creators God’s gift of life. A reality-based / right / right-eous relationship with God is based on faith – believing and acting in accordance with the evidence that he is the Creator and we are his creation who can only live through sustained connection with the source of life.
This will come as a shock to the “name it and claim it” Christians who think praying a prayer is all that it takes, then you can go about your business as it suits you.
“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?…Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God…Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” (James 2)
Through faith – evidence of designer and sustainer – we understand that the worlds were framed / formed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh…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.” (Hebrews 11:1-6)
This passage is not defining faith as blind belief. It is not the opposite of believing science’s or philosophy’s or religion’s claims of unproven “evidence”. It is true science – making a logical deduction about things we can’t see from what we can see. Faith in a Creator, therefore powerful, life-giving and sustaining God, is based on the evidence of intelligent design in creation, available to everyone whether they have read a word of the Bible or not. The existence of religion throughout all cultures and time as worship and dependence on spiritual beings more powerful than humans is evidence of humanity’s innate consciousness of right and wrong,
“The just shall live by faith…For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead;” (Romans 1:17-20)
“the judgment of God is according to truth…Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil…For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these…shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another😉 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men. (Romans 2:2-16)
- We can’t see God or the future, but we can logically deduce the existence of a unfathomably powerful designer from the immeasurably and thoroughly interconnected universe.
- The Bible provides a history of humanity from the beginning of our presence on earth, never invalidated, giving a basis for trusting the account of the future fate of mankind.
- From our own personal experience we can believe the record that humans cannot, by ourselves, overcome our self-centered nature therefore constantly bring damage and destruction to ourselves and others, AKA “sin.”
When we finally admit the existence of, and our need for, the all-powerful Creator to rescue us from the problems we invariably find ourselves in, all we have to do is call upon him. We will discover him one-on-on and be saved from the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into in this life, not just from a future hell – IF we submit to his authority and power to allow that to happen. Obviously, if we continue to insist on doing things our way we’ll just keep getting the same results!
“As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD / Yahweh shall save me…He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me…Cast thy burden upon the LORD / Yahweh, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55)
“I am poor and needy…O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee…For thou, LORD / Yahweh, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee…In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me. Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord / Yahweh; neither are there any works like unto thy works. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Yahweh; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. Teach me thy way, O Yahweh; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.” (Psalm 86)
The opposite of faith in God’s revelation of his power and desire to bless us is not science. It is schizophrenia – AKA insanity by laymen – demonstrably inaccurate conviction in one’s own perception of reality, which bottoms out to utter arrogant rebellion against all authoritative explanations of reality in both spiritual and physical domains.
Well then, Richard Dawkins, if the Bible is just fiction and the God of Abraham is just an invented character, why do you make it your life’s work to discredit him? Why not vilify Simon Legree or some other fictional character? Your capriciously malevolent tirades against the Abrahamic God – note, no other historical gods most of whom demanded massive numbers of human sacrifices – betray that these are not your true feelings, but symptoms of a reaction formation defense mechanism against your anxiety that God is real. It would just be so uncool for a sophisticated, handsome man to believe in God, wouldn’t it? And the memes wouldn’t work so well to draw people to identify with them if they pictured a homely man, would they? Advertising.
Reality – truth – rightness – righteousness is for us to know and obey God and glorify God for what he has done. For us to glory in our own pathetic achievements is to be delusional, out of touch with reality.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened [brought to life] us together with The Chosen One / Messiah / Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Yahweh’s Chosen Savior / Messiah Yeshua / Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Yahweh’s Chosen Savior / Messiah Yeshua / Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Yahweh’s Chosen Savior / Messiah Yeshua / Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:4-10)
For us to believe that in the world to come we can claim the right to be subjects in God’s kingdom when we rebelled against him in this world is truly delusional.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit…Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:13-23)
“The LORD is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness. And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure...Now will I rise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself…And the people shall be as the burnings of lime: as thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire. Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might. The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the [permanently live with the neighboring] devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings [that forever don’t touch us]?
- He that walketh right-eously, and speaketh up-rightly;
- he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes,
- that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;
He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off…For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us…And…the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity. (Isaiah 33:5-24)
Every individual has the freedom to choose in what to trust to be saved from the blatantly destructive forces – AKA sin – in their lives: God’s revelation or their own judgment. The following quote about human prehistory from prestigious Perdue University is a shining example of this opportunity to choose.
The difficulties encountered in, 1) learning the truth from one who already knows it, then, 2) breaking free from an entrenched existing belief system is entertainingly depicted by Neo’s/ New man’s faltering trust in Morpheus / God dreams in The Matrix, but is in reality accomplished by placing trust in God’s Word. From day one, God has given humans the same message of salvation from sin and death.
“Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead: I also am formed out of the clay…I have heard the voice of thy words, saying, I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me…Behold in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man. Why dost thou strive against him?…If there be a messenger with him / man, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his [God’s] uprightness: then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit [eternal death]: I have found a ransom…He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness…if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; he will deliver his soul from going into the pit…to be enlighted with the light of the living. ” (Job 19:6-30)
“To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice [accepts and responds to, like a Nanny to the cries of her charge – “I hear you, I hear you!” as she hustles to the toddler’s side].” (Jesus Christ quoted in John 18:37)
As Job and other witnesses explain, being saved from evil, whether inflicted by others or present in our own inescapable impulses, means being restored to right -eous – ness: healthy physical, emotional, social, and spiritual functioning – in this world and the world to come.
But rather than re-pent / re-think his course of action, and be restored to the good life, Cain continued to rebel against God’s way of doing things, ultimately requiring his expulsion from orderly society in order to protect others from his wicked actions.
“And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain…What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth…And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.” (Genesis 4:8-16)
This wasn’t the end for Cain, however. God was merciful to him, a sinner.
“And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.” (Genesis 4:13-15)
It is only through God’s mercy and grace that anyone becomes righteous and qualifies for acceptance into God’s presence. It’s that blood sacrifice that allows a God of integrity to grant us redemption after we’ve sold ourselves into sin.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Yahweh’s Chosen Savior / Yeshua Messiah / Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in The Chosen One / Messiah / Christ: According as he hath chosen us [humans instead of angels] in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Yahweh’s Chosen Savior / Yeshua Messiah / Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; ” (Ephesians 1:3-7)
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Yahweh’s Chosen Savior / Yeshua Messiah / Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Yahweh’s Chosen Savior / Messiah Yeshua / Christ Jesus: whom hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past…that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua / Jesus.” (Romans 3:20-26)
We find that the people most willing to accept salvation as a gift of God are those who have reached the end of their own resources, and are facing the stark reality of their helplessness to save themselves from the misery of drugs, broken family ties, poverty – the worsening consequences of a spiraling decline of bad choices.
The people who have the hardest time admitting their need are the ones, like Job, who don’t do anything wrong according to their legalistic standards, meticulously following the rules. But! Notice how judgmental Job was, always assuming the worst about others. He was missing the point that right-eousness is not so much what you don’t do as it is what you do – losing your own sense of self-worth, entitlement, and value in order to merge your identity with a merciful God, whose greatest defining likeness is compassionate love.
God loves every individual no matter how contemptible in society’s estimation. Self-righteous individuals need sinners to whom they can contrast themselves to feel good, while God’s righteousness is to elevate each individual to equal standing with him.