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Chester McCalley Volition 1

All scripture references are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted
Before we begin in Psalm 119, let me say a few words about what we are going to be doing
tonight and Sunday. Our whole teaching structure here revolves around, as you know, the
teaching of books systematically. For instance, we are going through Romans at 10 and 11
o’clock on Sunday. We are going through Psalms at 7 on Wednesday; 6 on Sunday. And we
proceed through the particular books in order. Whenever we pull out a doctrinal category, we
usually do it in connection with a book. I feel that we are in Psalm 119 to the place - or will
be tonight – and also in Romans 6 to the place where we need to pull out a very, very
important biblical doctrine and cover it. And it is one that I have never covered, because I
don’t feel like I have been prepared for it. And that is the doctrine of human volition as it
relates to the sovereignty of God. Anybody who has been around any bible teaching for any
time understands the importance of this issue.

Now why is this a good time to teach it? Several reasons:

First, this is a good time to teach it. This is very subjective, simply because this is the first
time I have felt up to tackling it. If you were with us when we went through the systematic
theologies, like anthropology – the doctrine of man – and you look at that and look for
something about the human will and how does my responsibility to decide and act and use
my will function? You will find in those tapes an enormous gap. The reason for the gap is
very simple: I simply do not like to teach what I am not at home with. I have felt up until
this last year that I simply did not have the background to tackle it. I have done a lot of work
on it this past year, and so, subjectively, I feel like this is a good time because I am ready.

Second, because of the two studies we are in. Look, for example, at Psalm 119. We are in the
daleth section of the Psalm. We will get down tonight to as far as verse 30, but notice verse
30 asserts something very, very interesting in respect to the word of God. He says, “I have
chosen”. And the term used for “chosen,” “baachar”, is a word that is used in the OT for
election, for selection, for an act of will. It is used, for example, as the word when God says,
“I chose Israel”. So it is a word that is full of will; it is full of volition.

The interesting thing to note is that as we come to the end of the daleth section, the Psalmist
is saying “I have taken a deliberate volitional move toward the word of God. That is
particularly interesting, because in the context, notice, for example, back at verse 27, he said,
“Make me to understand the way of Thy precepts.” In other words, he is admitting that if
God doesn’t teach me, and if God doesn’t open up my understanding, I’ll never see it.
Therefore, what did he do? He said, since only God can open my eyes, I am now going to tell
God that and ask Him to teach me and I’m going to take my seat and I’m going to wait on the
Lord to open my understanding. He didn’t do that. He says, “I need your understanding” and
in verse 30 he understood the place of volition. What is that? If I am not taught by God, I am
not taught at all, therefore, I will do what? Sit? No. I will choose. And there is an act of the
will. I will choose the way of truth. And so you have coming into the Psalm a strong

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assertion of the will of the Psalmist. You’ve got the same thing in – well, look at verses 30,
31 & 32. They are full of His will:

Psalm 119:30-32
30 I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.

And this, of course, was volitional. He was not forced into this, he did it by an act of his will.

31 I have stuck unto thy testimonies

And that just reeks of what? Determination!

O LORD, put me not to shame.

32 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

So notice you’ve got plenty of volition in Psalm 119.

Now our other study is coming out of Romans 6, so let’s go to that. Notice why this is an
appropriate time to approach the doctrine of volition or the will of man.

Our first point tonight is why study volition now? The first reason we gave is simply because
of the place in our current study, where we sit right now in current studies. Out of Psalm 119,
and notice that we have a clear concept of a will and the volition acting in Romans 6:12.
What are the first three words? “Let not sin.” Now what is that appealing to? Your
emotions? That’s appealing to your will, isn’t it? It says, “don’t let sin.” And when we refuse
to allow something we are exercising our will.

Romans 6:12-13
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield
yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments
of righteousness unto God.

So notice he is looking at choice. And he is saying I want you to exercise your will in the
direction of a certain choice. And again, we are coming up with the concept in our current
studies of the importance of the will.

A second reason why we need to study the will and why it is important now is because of two
very dominant current trends. In other words, the first reason is why we need to study
volition now in the studies we are pursuing in Romans and Psalms.

The second one says why we need to study volition, especially in the light of current events.
Especially in light of where we are in the 20th Century. These two current trends are: 1)
Religious trends. I am going to attach a term here that is current enough in people’s thinking
today that it will work well. We are seeing a rise in what we are going to call “neo-

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Calvinism”. The reason I put “neo” on the front of it is because I think if John Calvin, the
Reformer, would hear some of the conclusions of some that purport to be Calvinists are
coming across with today, I think he would resurrect on his own and come back and correct
things. I am not saying here that this is a rise of Calvinism; it is a new kind. The new kind
you may have run onto, but the new kind involves, what I think can be identified as at least 8
things. If you have not met or encountered any of the new Calvinism, I think you will.

One of the first things you will see with this is a great stress on the sovereignty of God. Now
that’s good, isn’t it? As long as we annunciate that God is the supreme being of the universe,
He is the supreme ruler, He is in control of things, this is a tremendously comforting doctrine,
isn’t it? To know especially in these days that things are not running rampant out of control,
but there is a real God on the throne. Therefore you say, well that’s good. Yes, I agree, that’s
good, however, I think that we will be able to establish that the new emphasis we are getting
on the sovereignty of God lacks something very, very definite. It lacks an emphasis on the
sovereign God as being personal.

What do we mean by that? When we talk about God being personal, as over against what is
being taught by some of the neo-Calvinism, it is sort of like God is a machine. He says, “This
fits over here, and this is over here, and this is over here.” We sort of cower back in the
corner and we say, “Well, look, God has all these cogs and wheels set up.” Therefore, when
you begin to think of someone in control of everything, does that make him closer to us or
does that tend to extend distance? What can we control? And you begin to see the
sovereignty of God and you begin to emphasize distance, which is true. Yet, we are going to
find out that the God who is sovereign in the Scriptures is extremely personal. And He is
going to say, “Everything is in my control. I want you to respond to Me. I want you to know
that I have feelings toward you. I want you to know that I can be angry. I want you to know
that I can, in one sense, weep with you and still be the sovereign God.” When you get an
emphasis on sovereignty that omits the personal nature of God you have something that is
very cold and formal. I feel that with some of the new Calvinists, this is coming on in this
particular manner. We will deal with this in more detail.

Second, I think that there is a very general misunderstanding of human volition. I talked with
someone here about a month ago and I mentioned the word volition and it was almost like I
had said something bad about God. He said, “You don’t believe man has a will, do you?”
Therefore, in this type of thing, you are having a down play of human volition and,
consequently, coming out of that is a resultant lack of recognition of responsibility, that we
really have responsibility. If we have some notion in our mind about the sovereignty of God
that belittles human responsibility, then we seriously need to correct that.

There is a third thing that is coming on with neo-Calvinism, and that is a false measure for
fellowship, and in some cases, even salvation. Not always, but even salvation. When we talk
about a measure for fellowship, if we are going to have a communion and a union with other
believers, what is the basis of our fellowship? Let’s suppose that a person understands
something about the life of Abraham and says, “I think the narrative says he went up to this
place and then down here.” Someone else comes along and say, “No, I don’t. I think if we

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put it together, Abraham probably went up here first and then went up there.” Would you
break fellowship on that basis? Obviously not, would you?

So we must have some basis of fellowship, and basically, the measure of fellowship that is
being purported by many in the neo-Calvinist emphasis is, very simply, the five points of
Calvinism: TULIP.

T – Total depravity
U – Unconditional election
L – Limited atonement
I - Irresistable grace
P – Perserverance of the saints

In fact, I had this experience not long ago. Someone called who had formerly come to Beth
Haven and asked, “Do you believe in the five points of Calvinism?” You could sense by the
tone of voice that if we were ever going to get along together, I had better. So I handled it in
like manner. I said, “The five points of what?” He said, “The five points of Calvinism.” I
said, “I don’t know. What are they?” You could read that if you did not buy those five things,
that was the measure of being able to have fellowship with one another. Some are even
saying, if you can’t buy those five things, there is even a question of you salvation. Now, can
you really derive that from Scripture? But that is being purported in some areas. That is part
of the reason that this study on volition is important.

Number 4: I am making a judgment at this point, so I want to be very careful. In the neo-
Calvinism, I see this: sort of a Gnostic arrogance (meaning “we know, you don’t. And we
will pray that you will come to know like we know.). Sort of, “You haven’t seen these truths
yet. We’ll be patient until the Holy Spirit opens up your eyes also.” I feel that is arrogant and
it certainly flavors of Gnosticism. Again, that is a value judgment and I am not lumping all
people into one thing; that is simply something that I have observed.

Number 5, and here is something very important to watch for: A swing away from the study
of the text in favor of the writings of the Reformers. Now, let me say the Reformers wrote
some excellent things. The Reformers were some of the greatest men in church history; very
great men. So it is a swing away from the study of the text in favor of the writings of the
Reformers, or more modern writers, such as that of A.W. Pink.

When you begin to see yourself, instead of digging into the text of Romans, reading lots of
books, and your attachment to the text decreasing, and your saying, “X author says that
Romans says this”. It is one of the things that I will occasionally hear around here, and it is
very bad. “Chester says,” which means what? Nothing! If it evolves down to just the opinion
of an interpreter and I have not convinced you that that is what Paul is saying in the book of
Romans, then we really haven’t taught yet. You will find with these people a great deal of
shifting away from a real interest in the text so that you almost want to say, “Why don’t you
take the book that you are so enamored with and put it aside and go home and diagram
Romans 6?” That is a very, very serious fault that is emerging in this.

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Number 6. You certainly have among neo-Calvinism, a surrender of solid biblical
eschatology, when, by the way, we desperately need it. Now you can’t make the mistake in
prophecy of saying, “Here’s an event that happens and that event matches this event in the
Bible.” But it would be quite interesting, would it not, to find out in tomorrow’s newscast,
that Saddat had suffered an apparently fatal wound and come through with a miraculous
recovery. If you know the prophecies of Daniel, you know that that sort of thing is going to
happen in the Middle East situation. We desperately need eschatology, concepts of the
Lord’s return and so forth, today, and I will assure you that Calvinism, even classic
Calvinism does not deal with that area. That is not to be critical of how much progress the
Reformers made, but it is simply not there.

Number 7: There is a complete failure to see the distinction of the Church and Israel, the
difference of, or between Israel and the Church. We belong in the Church to a unique body
that is not Israel. These things will come out as we go along.

Eighth, placing the believer back under the Law. The way that is done is so clever. There
statement would be this: “We are not saved by the Law, we are saved by grace!” Good, isn’t
it? We are not saved by the Law, we are saved by grace. However, grace enables us to keep
the Law. Therefore, under a grace terminology, you have done a flip-flop and pulled yourself
right back under that type of thing. We will be dealing with that little statement, especially
coming into Romans 7. How valid is it to say that you are saved by grace, not by the Law,
but when God’s grace gets hold of you it makes it possible for you to keep the Law. We will
find in reality that is nothing more than a return to the Law once again.

I think you can see in all these things, the relationship of God’s sovereignty, God’s will and
man’s will is very, very important for us to understand. So there is a religious reason for
studying this, and that is the rise of neo-Calvinism.

The second reason it is important is secular. That is, we do have today massive resistance to
the idea of personal responsibility. Case in point, and it is only one of many, but it is fresh
with us. Have you wondered what happened to Hinckley? It’s been a while since he shot the
president. Have you noticed that the issue is not did he do it? Is that what his attorney’s are
going to plead? Are they focusing on can we establish that he was there? Can we connect him
with the crime scene? Can we establish that he did it? Do you think his attorney’s are going
to plead that kind of thing? That they are going to prove that he didn’t do it? Have you
noticed? What have we been waiting on? Not proof that he did it. What have they been
working on? Not did he do it, but why did he do it!

You watch in the secular world, when someone commits a crime today that that usually
becomes the focal point. We don’t care if he did it, the issue is why did he do it? Rather than
saying he did it and is therefore responsible, we begin to put all these things around the
person that provide for an excuse. How many excuses to we have? Granted he did it, but
society is to be blamed. Have you ever been run over with that one? And I’m supposed to be
guilty someway. What is that saying? It’s saying let’s not put responsibility and say he did it
because he chose to. Let’s recognize that, though he did it, there are other things other than

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personal responsibility; society can be blamed. If you had been brought up in the conditions
he was brought up in…. What is that saying? It is removing responsibility. If you really
understood the cause he was involved in that caused him to kill, it was a good cause. Or
worse yet, he was a member of a suppressed minority, wasn’t he?

So we bring all these things to the area of simply a lack of responsibility. Christian doctrine
can correct that. If individuals would take the responsibility for family, for marriage, for
children, that the Word of God lays on us and that we will try to cull out in this particular
study… School gives youngsters lunch. Why? Because somebody is not assuming
responsibility for the raising of children.

Not too many years ago we had something called modernism. Modernism was simply a
movement that rejected much of the historicity of Scripture. For example, when the Scripture
says that Christ was raised from the dead [modernism says] that’s not true. That was the
thrust of modernism. Or, let’s put it this way: Modernism rejected the indicative mood of
Scripture. What is the indicative mood? It is the mood that states fact. What is a lie? A lie is a
misuse of the indicative mood. You said, “I was there.” “Was” is a past indicative. Indicative
means I am telling you the truth. The Scripture says Christ was raised. That’s the indicative
mood and modernism says it’s not so. There is a rejection of the indicative mood of God’s
Word.

Now, we’ve made a little shift today, and today, with the rejection of personal responsibility,
either through a perverted kind of Calvinism, or through the secular rejection of it, what are
we doing? When we reject personal responsibility, we are now engaged in rejecting the
imperative mood of Scripture. Wouldn’t you know it would all get around to grammar!?

The imperative mood is an appeal to will. When someone says do that, they are not saying
feel a certain way. They are saying I want you to activate your will in a certain direction. So,
while it is not so much a rejection today of the indicative mood (Christ was raised), there is
very much a move to belittle the imperative moods of Scripture that gives us an appeal to the
will.

Now let me make one other point in getting into this and completing down through verse 30
in Psalm 119. I simply want to add these as a couple of personal reservations that I have. In
going through this study, I would really appreciate your helping me with my biases, because I
think they are good ones.

Number one, we must not be labeled as Calvinists, Arminians, or any other system of
theology. You ask why? Are theological systems God-made or man-made? When we say,
here is the doctrine of sin..a,b,c,d….where did I get that? Is our bible indexed under subjects
or under doctrine? I think if God had permitted, I’m sure man would have done it that way.
He would have had it all categorized neatly under Christ, the Holy Spirit, and would have
made it into a neat systematic system. Theology and systematics is man-made. It’s a good
thing, but it is man-made. Therefore, the system is accurate if based on accurate exegesis of
most of Scripture. No! Of what? It’s going to have to be based on all Scripture.

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What would you do if you said, “I am locked into being an Arminian” and you came to a
passage that said this point in that system of theology was wrong? Now, you would like to
say you would give it up. But that is very catchy; systems tend to grasp us and therefore, I
would not be willing to be labeled by anybody Calvinist, Arminian, dispensational, or
anything else. What are we trying to be anyway? Calvinists? We are trying to be biblicists,
aren’t we? We are trying to determine Scripture, and so let’s try to keep away, and we will in
our study, from the label of Calvinist and Arminian.

I have a third hang-up here, and maybe I’m picking at nothing. But I would like to ask a
question. By what right should any human name be placed over a body of scriptural truth?
What is the proper name that goes over a body of scriptural truth? Who is the author of that?
The only rightful name to go over a body of scriptural truth is this is God’s truth. As a matter
of fact, though I do it, I would frankly even have some objection to saying that’s Pauline
theology. It really isn’t, is it? Whose theology is it? It’s really God’s theology. Frankly,
maybe it’s just a hang-up with something minor, but I really have a problem with taking
biblical truth and then hanging a human name over it as though this human developed this
particular truth.

Those are personal reservations. They may be biased and colored and so forth, but I just at
least wanted you to know that they are there.

What are the values that we can expect from a study of the will of man and the will of God?
First, I’m being a little subjective, here because these are some of the things in this study
over the last year that have helped me greatly, and I think there is not a whole lot of
difference between me and you, in terms of our humanity and our growth and need for
growth and so forth. So I think that what is beneficial to me probably will be to you also.

I have found this: an understanding of the relationship of my will to the will of God has
resulted in increased ability to make a decision. After all, if we are looking at the study of our
decider, and get God’s perspective on our decider, then that ought to make our decision
making a much easier process. We will have at least one study on the concept of relating to
the will to how you make a decision.

Why would making decisions create difficulty with a Christian. Admittedly, the object of the
Christian life is for my will to do what? My will to line up with God’s will. Now, if it’s just a
matter of using my will, making a decision is no problem, just whatever you will, will it. But
when you come into the area of divine viewpoint versus human viewpoint, that is what he
has in mind in these two verses.

Now, down to verse 29: KJV says, “remove me from the way of lying”, which would kind of
look like, what is this author of this Psalm doing? Is he saying, “Lord, I really fib a lot.
Deliver me from that.” That is not the meaning of the word. The word for “lie” simply
means deception. So he is talking about the way of deception, against the way of truth. In
other words, way of deception – human viewpoint; way of truth - God’s viewpoint.

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Notice what he says. When he says remove, the word, “cuwr”, which is a hiphil, cause me to
be removed, cause me to be moved from me the way of lying. Now notice what he is not
saying. He is not saying “remove me from deception.” He is saying “remove deception from
me.” What is the difference between remove me from the way of deception as over against
remove from me the way of deception? Where is the way of deception pictured, external or
internal? Internal, isn’t it? He is simply admitting I’ve got it in my bones. Ingrained in me is
the human viewpoint that is the way of deception. Take it out of me; I want surgery that
would remove human viewpoint.

But, negative surgery is not adequate. What do you need to have? Suppose we were devoid
of human viewpoint, would we be in good shape? No, because notice the latter part of verse
29 is you have to have something positive. “Grant me” – the word grant “chanan” is a word
that means to be gracious. “Graciously grant me your law” would be the idea. So, he is not
looking at himself and saying, take away human viewpoint, and Lord you owe me
something. No, he is saying, if I ever get things put together correctly and look at things from
the standpoint of truth it will only be because of the grace of God. In other words he is not
laying claim on God, he is simply saying be gracious toward me.

Now we come to verse 30 and we have the sequence of application coming in now. What is
it? Verse 30 – determination that you will be exposed to it, followed by the sequence coming
down in 30 and 31 that will end up in the occupation with it.

Notice coming down to verse 30 his exposure to the word, or the starting of this sequence
that we just went through tonight. What does it start with? How are we going to get this thing
going? What are the first 2 or 3 words of the study that started the sequence of exposure, of
understanding and occupation? Here’s what starts it: “I have chosen.” It starts with the will.

Now, is the understanding of the importance of the will inherent here? Can’t you see how
Satan would like to say, “You’re going to do some bible study? Fine. Sovereignty of God?
Good. Study that and let me bring you to some conclusions. God is in absolute control of
everything. So whatever comes about is His will anyway. Therefore, you don’t need to
activate your will. God’s going to do what He wishes anyway.” And what has he done? He
has clipped us off right at the very beginning point that is going to start the exposure to the
word, the understanding of the word and it will end up in occupation of the word that is the
only thing that Psalm 119 will ever make us stable.
So you can see why Satan is going to attack in the area of the will and either get us in the
direction of we exercise our will irrespective of God’s will, or we don’t think we have one
and under some concept of the sovereignty of God throw in the towel and the will is
deactivated and, this is typical, isn’t it? I don’t do as much study in the Word as I ought to. I
know I should, I know I need to and I’m really asking God for the desire. And you are
sinning! As though you had no will whatsoever. Approach to the Word of God is a matter of
will.

I will admit I have prayed that. I will also admit that God didn’t do one single thing for me in
giving me a desire. I’ll tell you how it works, though. There is a sequence that works every
time. Obey God first and then the enjoyment of the Word follows. If we are going to wait to

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get all whipped up to enjoyment of the Word, it will never happen. I think I have told you
many times, the only thing that gets me through that door is an act of will. It’s a tough one
many times, because we’ve had some beautiful days outside, haven’t we? I want to say, I
don’t really feel motivated. And it would be sin if I did it for the wrong motivation, wouldn’t
it? So I’ll wait and drive around in the car and get motivated. That’s shabby. That’s not the
way it works at all.

The issue is not how you feel about it. The issue is that’s where you belong, now do it. Obey,
and when you obey, God rewards with the blessing that follows. I hope that we will be able
to get some of these areas clarified in the study of volition. I think it will be a very important
study for us.

By the way, let me disavow myself of one other thing. No, I don’t have solved the
relationship of the sovereignty of God and the will of man. But I think we can get hold of
some real good things that will help us tremendously in that area. I would appreciate it – I’ve
been taking the last two weeks and doing nothing except studying this particular area, and
sometimes when you get into a thing it’s easy to get so enthusiastic you get a little
imbalanced. I would appreciate the prayers of the saints that we get a good, balanced study of
this and get some good preparation with it for our study on Sunday and however long this
thing takes.

Father, we’re thankful tonight for Your word, and we pray that in an age that we find every
excuse in the world, from the physical to the environmental to the psychological for not
studying Your word and not exercising our will in the way You have commanded it, may we
have the courage to face ourselves and recognize we are all excuse makers and recognize that
You have a plan for us and it involves our physical bodies, it involves our emotions, it
involves our mentality, and it also covers the exercise and the use of our will in the proper
way. Therefore we pray that you will deliver us from the ideas of human viewpoint that are
about us and that are also in us and along with the Psalmist, we pray that You would grant us
Your truth by Your grace. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Chester McCalley Volition 2

All scripture references are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted
Those of you who were here on Wednesday evening know that we are going to start on a
series involving our teaching in Romans and in Psalms, since all our teaching here revolves
around books. Going through Romans as we are, going through Psalms as we are, whenever
we teach a particular doctrine it is in connection with a particular book. We are at a very
appropriate place to pick up on a doctrine, and we established that in Psalm 119 on
Wednesday when the psalmist comes down to the place where he says, “I have chosen Your
word.” The word for chosen “baachar” in Hebrew, is one of the strongest words you can
have for election. It is used for God’s election of Israel. The emphasis being made there is
that, in relationship to the word of God the Psalmist had made a choice.

We are also coming to the same concept in Romans chapter 6, looking down, for example, at
verse 12. We have had the teaching so far on what the Cross did in respect to our sin nature

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and now in 6:13 we are to do something about it. We have the following words in verse 12:
let not sin, therefore, reign. The prohibition on letting sin reign is an appeal to our will.
Consequently, we are going to pick up on the subject of the doctrine of volition.

We said Wednesday evening, when we went through systematic theology we went through
the section on man and his nature. If you will look back in those tapes, there is an enormous
gap in the area of what do we say about the human will. The reason for the gap is very
simple: the gap is in the notes and the gap is in the teaching because the gap was in my mind.
Consequently, I have spent the last year trying to do some work in the area of volition. Let’s
give a definition to what we mean by “volition”. We mean capacity to choose. Volition is the
capacity to choose. It is especially appropriate where we are in our study right now.

Let’s list some of the values coming out of understanding what Scripture has to say about our
volition, or our capacity to choose.

1) We ought to get from this increased ability to make decisions. If our Christian
experience is a normal, this is one of the first problems we meet in the Christian life,
for a very simple reason: before you were a Christian you weren’t thinking about
lining up my will with God’s will. You either weren’t concerned that God had a will,
or for that matter maybe had never even thought about the fact that God had a will.
However, once you become a Christian, what is really the key to success in the
Christian life? The key is alignment of my will with the will of God. When that
enters the picture this decision making process can become very difficult. As a matter
of fact, you can see some believers who get frozen just like a block of ice right here.
Why? Well, I’ve got this option and this option. I can’t find a verse for it. But I want
to align with the word of God or the will of God, but God doesn’t seem to be telling
what His will is on this issue and I don’t want to make a mistake. So what do we do?
We either will freeze ourselves in indecision and sit back and say I hope God will
chip off a little of His omniscience and let me know on this issue. So we wait and
wait and wait and defer decision.

Or we can slide into the other area of decisions, waiting for some kind of feeling to
emerge that will tell us what God’s will is. That’s not necessary if we understand
volition as it is presented in Scripture. I think I can say as emphatically as anything,
God really wants us to make decisions! There are some parameters and guidelines for

that that we are going to deal with, but just for an overview, I think the doctrine of
volition will help us to make better decisions and increase ability in that particular
area.

2) The second thing we want to get is the moment we talk about the will of man and
then think of the will of God, we call the will of God His sovereignty. So we should
get an increased understanding of the sovereignty of God. That is so critical, because
on the sovereignty of God very often when we begin to emphasize it and teach it we
inevitably end up with the kind of mentality that says, well God is on the throne, He’s
working all things after His own purpose, which is true. Therefore, there is not a

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whole lot of reason for prayer, because after all, God is going to do what He is going
to do anyway, therefore, why ask for it? You’re not going to change God’s mind,
because He’s sovereign. Some go to that extreme, or in the other area, failing to
recognize that we really have responsibility as believers to do certain things. I know
that some I have talked to go so far in the area of sovereignty – or confusion in the
area of sovereignty – that the imperatives of Scripture that appeal to our will are
totally neglected. And that is certainly an imbalance. So we should get a better
understanding of responsibility.

3) We should have an increased understanding of personal responsibility.

4) This one I was not aware of as clearly as has come into the picture in studying this
particular area of volition. The will functions as a definite means of self-control. We
begin to find out that some of our predilection toward certain things is merely a
matter of lack of self-control. Occasionally we see someone who has a lot of self-
control, and what do we say about him? “He’s really got a strong will.” What we are
emphasizing is that this person has managed to get his volition, his capacity to decide,
his capacity to choose to rule over his emotions. That is a very, very important thing
and I think we will find some real helpful material from God’s word in the will as a
means of self-control.

5) The relationship of thoughts to choices. The way that this is a little bit different, we
often say, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” We are relating thoughts to
conduct. And that is true; our thoughts have a definite bearing on our conduct. What
do our thoughts have to do with our will, our ability to choose; capacity to choose?
We will find out that what we think has a definite bearing on the function of our
decider, on the function our chooser.

All of that we said on Wednesday, and now we are ready to really start into the body of the
Doctrine of Volition and we will simply call the first part an introduction to it. Under the
introduction, we will have three parts. The first part will be the importance of understanding
the doctrine of volition. Incidentally is there any believer here that has never had any kind of
mental struggle between God is sovereign and I’m supposed to make choices and in your
own mentality really had a tough time with the thought, “Well, if God is in control of
everything, what does my decision have to do with it at all?” I think this ought to help clear
that up. So that, the importance of the doctrine is:

1) Because in this area we have massive confusion. As a matter of fact, this little issue of the
place of man’s will typically divides, at least since the Reformation, Christianity into camps
almost. You’ve got people who are called Calvinists. And over on the other side, someone is
called an Arminian. Perhaps if you are from a Reformed background, that would be
Calvinist. If you are from more the Methodist side, that’s an Arminian type thing. What is
one of the key issues, if not the key issue, is why we put people into these classifications.
What big issue has risen to make a Calvinist a Calvinist, and an Arminian an Arminian?
What, basically are we thinking about? Basically you are talking about the issue of man’s
will versus the sovereignty of God.

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Incidentally, if you read Arminius you will find out he was a real good Calvinist! But
nonetheless, these two areas are basically what you have the typical division into.
Consequently, you have some that come down heavy on this side, and some that come down
heavy on the other side. Consequently, I doubt you would have to go very far in Kansas City
today before you would see some church named “Free Will Baptist.” How in the world did
they get that name? Well, because they were dealing with an issue that, to them, became
really big. That is, they felt you were saying man has no will responsibility and consequently
we want a banner, a doctrine. And the banner and doctrine we want people to see is that man
has a free will.

Now we want to ask some questions. Does he? Or does he not? We will address that in a
direct way and try to give a direct answer to it. On the other hand, in response to this sort of
thing, you will have people today who call themselves the “Sovereign Grace” people. That
represents an emphasis over on the other side. If you had Calvists and Arminians in the past,
you’ve got the sovereign grace people over and against the free will emphasis.

Then you will have some that come along and say, no we’re not wording it right. Man
doesn’t have a free will, he’s a free agent. Apart from what that may mean, it at least shows
that you are dealing with the problem and trying to get something into a reasonable focus. So
one of the important areas is we have lots of confusion on this particular issue and we want to
try to do something about it.

The issue then, is the relationship of the will of man to the will of God. I am not going to be
afraid to try to approach the question, how do the sovereignty of God and the free will of
man, or the will of man relate to one another? I am not promising a solution, but I think can
promise some very good answers, if we will follow very carefully the Scripture on this thing.

2) The second reason is because many believers have problems making decisions. Should I
go ahead and make a decision or should I wait on God for more information? Anyone ever
dealt with that one? It’s a very real problem that believers face. Or, since God is in
sovereign control, should we just sit back and relax and enjoy the ride? I’m sure we’ve had
that thought come to mind. So basically, how does all of this relate to the exercise of my
will? Again, if I can say anything emphatically, and we’ll establish it later, God really wants
decisions out of us. He really wants the activity of the will, and I think it is one of the great
weaknesses in balancing that out with the proper view of the sovereignty of God. That
basically is the importance of it.

Second, Let’s call this some of the aspects of this doctrine. By the way, in case you are new
to Beth Haven, when we use the word doctrine, we are not talking about the Apostle’s Creed.
When we talk about doctrine, it is simply a Greek word that means “teaching.” When we talk
about doctrine, we are just saying, what does the Bible teach on a certain subject? What we
are starting to look at is what does the Bible teach on the subject of my capacity to choose?
Or, what does the Bible teach about volition? A very important question.

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First of all, on this second point of introduction, this is where I discovered why I was not
getting anywhere for a long time in being able to understand and present what the Bible
taught about our capacity to choose, or the doctrine of volition. It is very simply this: My
problem was I was going to the text and trying to study human volition and you will never
learn human volition by studying human volition in the Scripture. It must be tied in with
other things. Volition cannot be understood by itself.

In other words, it is one of those things that can be understood only in relationship to
something else as to how it functions. It would be very much like a person who had never
seen an engine before and you took out one small piece of the engine and said, study it and
tell me how this functions. I’m sure you could look at it forever and the reason you will not
understand how it functions is that you’ve got to see how it ties into this, and into this, and
into this. Then you understand it. That is volition. Volition cannot be understood by itself; it
relates to other things. Those other things are made up of three elements. Without these three
elements any attempt to study volition are going to be very futile.

1) We cannot understand human volition or human will until we understand divine


will. That’s where we are going to start today. But that isn’t all of it.
2) There is no understanding of human will until we understand satanic will.
3) Then we can come down to human will.

Now, the listing we gave here, divine will – we give a name to this since it is absolute, divine
will is called sovereignty. But all sovereignty is, is another way of saying God has a will.
When we list these in this order, divine will, satanic will and human will, and recognize they
are all different, that simple listing explains why we live in a world with lots of conflict.
Have you been through a week without any conflict of will with anything else? Have you had
any conflict with the will of God this week? Granted, we have all had a conflict with that,
knowing what it is, but not quite getting human will in line with divine will. Have you had
anything that is satanic in nature that is pulling away from God’s will? In our newspapers, do
you have any sense that human wills seem to be bumping into one another and we are getting
conflict and tension out of that? This explains, really, history.

When we list them, divine, satanic and human, I wouldn’t be willing to turn that order around
for two reasons. First, this order reflects a chronology. In other words, this gives the order in
which these wills entered the universe. So we start out with a universe that is nothing but the
will of God, then we have with Satan at a point in time, an entry of a second will into the
universe. Then we will move from there down into the Garden of Eden and we will have the
introduction of the human will or volition into the universe. So this is a chronological thing.
Maybe we could put it this way: Both of these ends of the line here represent eternity. In
eternity there was only one will. That was the will of God. In eternity to come, there will
only be one will. In here, at a little interim called human history, you have a little blip where
God’s will is challenged. We are going to be saying this over and over again, it’s a very
important thing: God is absolutely sovereign in His will. But, He does allow His will to be
challenged. That is very critical. You can challenge the will of God if you wish. Satan
continually challenges the will of God. God allows that to happen. God will permit that.

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Eternity Past: God’s Will Alone Human History: Challenge Eternity Future: God’s
will Alone

Now you may ask, why does God permit His will to be challenged? We will get into that
later, but just note mentally as the first time we mentioned this, that though God is sovereign,
God is in control, that is not to say will not allow Himself to be challenged. He certainly will,
and we will certainly be able to demonstrate that that has happened.

So, this reflects chronology: a time when there was one will. Then we will come into the
entry of a second voice in the universe, the fall of Satan and the erection of his will against
God’s. Then we will plummet from there down into the Garden of Eden and I think Satan
really got a surprise at what happened in Eden. We will get to that later, but this reflects
chronological order.

The second thing it reflects is superiority in that the will of God is superior to the will of
Satan. And the will of Satan is superior – and we will define in what areas – to man’s will.
You say, well, that puts man down at the bottom of the pile. We’re in real trouble and might
as well give up. We’re crushed by God or crushed by Satan. We will find out that is not true,
either, but you will have to admit that Satan can will and has an effectiveness to his will that
we, as just pure human beings, cannot have. So you have a hierarchy here also going clear up
to the sovereignty of God down to the Satanic will which is more powerful than the human
will and so forth. These three are very important aspects of the doctrine in order to appreciate
what is involved in it.

Now, C is, let’s make some generalizations about will. Let me tell you what I’m doing. At
this point I’m teaching backwards. You don’t make generalizations and then run to the Bible
to see if you can support it; that’s backwards. What you do is to look at the Bible and get all
of your mass of information on the subject together. Then you say, in the light of all of this
information, we can conclude this. What I am doing is to give you some material to check
me by. I want to give you my conclusions first, then as we go through the study, I want you
to be checking back to these generalizations and see if they fit in light of the passages we are
working with.

Number 1. Human will is not free like Adam’s was. That is important because a logical place
to go would be when God created Adam and made him a being His own image, one of the
things He gave Adam was a will; an ability to make decisions. I don’t know how anything
could be clearer than that. God put him in the Garden and said, see that tree? Don’t. See
these? Do. What is that going to involve for Adam. Is he going to sit down and say I wonder
if I have a will? Could he choose that tree? Was he free to do that? Was his will free in the
sense that he could eat of that tree? If we say no, then we have to deny biblical history, so he
was free to do so. Incidentally, I think very interesting and profitable for today: What was the
first thing God did with man when He put him in the garden? The first thing He did, Genesis
1:28, He gave him responsibility. Dress this garden. Keep it. The very first assignment God

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gave to man is in a concept of personal responsibility to do things, exercise your volition in
line with the will of God.

So if we go back to our little outline here [God is saying] Adam, I have a will. I want the
garden cared for and looked after. I am going to ask you… When He asked Adam to do
something, was he appealing to Adam’s emotions? No, He’s appealing to his will. He said, I
am gong to ask you to dress it. I am going to ask you to keep it. I’m appealing to your
emotion and I don’t want you to eat of this tree over here. What is that simply saying?
Adam, you’ve got responsibility and it’s God saying I don’t want a puppet. What I want you
to do Adam is to line up your will with My will. As we will develop later on, Adam had a
fantastic opportunity to preach to the whole universe. Every morning when he got up, he
walked by that tree that God said don’t. Adam would look and say, that’s best; it’s God will. I
align my volition with the will of God. What was he announcing to the universe? The will of
God is best.

Now, has God got things locked in that way? How badly does God want us to respond
volitionally to Him? Badly enough that He gave Adam the capacity to say, I take the tree. I
disagree with the will of God and God allowed that to happen. This shows that God is not an
impersonal machine-like sovereign being dispensing out this and this and this. But He is a
God Who says I am in complete control, but there is something I want very much. I want
your volitional response to me.

And Adam…how long did he give a positive response to the will of God? I don’t know, but
apparently for some time he did it and then made a volitional choice away from that and this
all indicates the desire on the part of God for a volition response on our part. And that is true
today. In the epistles we’ve got commands. God says, “My will is rejoice always.” Do we
have to? No we don’t. We can choose not to do that, or we can choose to do that. What does
God want? He wants a warm, personal relationship whereby I say to Him I bow my will, I
submit my will, I make the choices that you have indicated in your word that I ought to
make. It’s a very active process; it is not sitting and waiting. It’s the activity of choosing this
and choosing that. We do a poor job of it!

I was talking with Ron after last weekend and we were discussing some things that happened
in some churches. Ron said, “You won’t believe this.” I said, “Yes, I will.” He said, “A
fellow came to me who had been at Holly Hills for some time and he was there every Sunday
morning, regular at Bible class, just getting along fine and he said he bought some bird dogs.
He said, ‘Ron, I’ve got to get these bird dogs trained. And the only time I’ve got to do it is
bible class time on Sunday morning.’” Ron, in his typical way, said, “Thanks a lot for that
evaluation of Bible class.”

Stop and think about this for a minute. You want to say bird dog? The Word of God? You
want to say bird brain. But what was that? It was a choice. Ron operates much like I do. You
can miss bible class after bible class and I will guarantee one thing: I won’t knock on your
door. But don’t misunderstand, that is not because I am not disturbed. I am very disturbed in
seeing people make decisions, choices that are not in terms of the right priorities. We will
meddle in that area a little bit later on.

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The human will is not free like Adam’s was. We are saying that the Fall devastated the will.
Adam, when he was created, was not a sinful being, and when he fell that fall effected his
will. So all we are saying, for you to agree with #1, that the human will is not free like
Adam’s is, we are simply saying the will before the fall is not the same as the will after the
fall. It has been very much affected by it. If we don’t admit that, we’ve got a really poor view
of the biblical concept of depravity. We are saying then that when we fell it affected our
bodies; it affected our emotions. When we fell it resulted in spiritual death. But when we fell
it didn’t hurt our will. Is that right? Not at all. The will was affected by the Fall, so we will
look at Adam’s will, but our will is not free in the sense that Adam’s will was free.

All of these are conclusions and I want you, as we go into the text and study them, to check
them out to see that they are really valid.

The second thing is: Human will is free (and as I said, it is not free like Adam’s) in the sense
that men can will whatever they wish. It is free in the sense that men can will as they please. I
am simply saying you can will anything you wish to will. God hasn’t put limitations on the
freedom of your will in that area.

Now there are some limitations. I’m going to will to disappear. Can I do that? Will God allow
me to will something like that? Sure, I can will to disappear, but what is the hang up? I can
will as much as I want, but God has drawn a line whereby, go ahead and will outside of that
line all you wish, but you are not going to disappear. This is simply saying we cannot pick up
any sort of doctrine that says God suppresses our freedom to will. There are limitations on
the will, but nonetheless we can will as we please. So you will see throughout Scripture, men
willing all kinds of crazy things.

Satan wills to be the sovereign of the universe. He’s not going to get there, but he can will it.
Man may will to be God. We had that last week on our study on humanism where man is
really saying we don’t need God; we can handle everything ourselves. Is God going to limit
that? No, you can will all you please, however, we are not free to execute what we will.

Several of these statements I am making just in order to put parameters on some of the crazy
statements you hear. God does not suppress the will in the sense that we cannot will whatever
we please.

Third: God does not desire to break man’s will. Now that may, for some, be a little bit of a
jolt. Maybe you have been exposed to the kind of teaching that our wills must be broken to
subscribe to the will of God. I absolutely, thoroughly disagree with that. God is not trying to
break the will of man. God does not want to break the will of man; God desires to break the
power of sin over the will so that our will can respond to Him. It is a very important point
because you have probably been exposed to the type of teaching that God is up there and
you’ve got this stubborn human will and He wants to break it so you don’t have any will any
more; you are a spiritual jellyfish. You are pliable and you don’t make decisions anymore;
God makes all the decisions.

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While that has a good intent in it, the intent is to line up with the will of God; that is not what
God desires. What it is that God desires, and as a matter of fact, has done, is that He has
broken the power of sin over the will so that we can respond to Him. Where would you go
for any teaching indicating that God has done anything to break the power of sin? Please turn
to Romans 6:2. This is precisely the power, isn’t it?

Vs.2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

And verse 6: Knowing this, that our old man is (or was) crucified with him, that the body of
sin might be made ineffective, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

What’s all this saying? That God has done something so that we can respond to Him so that
God desires to break, and does break the power of sin. That’s Romans 6:1-11 and what do
you come to in verse 12? In verse 12 we now have the broken will. Notice it, which says
“don’t let sin reign.” You do that with a broken will, right? No! Will is very much in the
picture and it simply is the fact that God wants that will to function. He wants it to make
choices and part of the Cross work of Jesus

Christ was making it possible for us to make the right choices in the right direction in terms
of the Christian life.

God does not desire to break man’s will. God desires, and as a matter of fact, has broken the
power of sin over the will so that we can now respond to Him.

Four: The will of man must be seen in terms of a responder. The options of response we
have are: a) it is possible for man to respond to the will of Satan. And there is no problem
saying that men can and do allow their volition to respond to the will of Satan; b) we have an
option that our will may respond to God. as we grow in the Scriptures and we come to obey
it, we can say that men can and men do respond to the will of God. Finally, and this is
important, c) it may respond to our own sin natures. Now let’s put a passage with each one of
these.

Ephesians 4:27
27 Neither give place to the devil.

Men can, and do as a matter of fact, respond by the submission of their will to Satan. One of
the enlightening things that I have found so far in this study is that if you will look in terms
of trying to statistically say, to what do what do most men respond the most? A, B or C? They
respond the most to C. That does something for the doctrine of sovereignty. It points out and
gets away from men as puppets of Satan, or, for that matter, puppets of God. Satan has a
fantastic tool in his hands, and that is our sin nature.

We will say this later and develop it, but briefly, it is the object of Satan to maximize our sin
nature. It is the object of God, via the Cross-work of Christ to minimize the effectiveness of
our sin nature. We’ll bring that into the picture later, but let’s simply establish this with
Ephesians 4:27 and there are many with which we could do this With verse 27, again this is

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an order, and imperatives are an appeal to the will and he says to these believers don’t give
place to the devil. That has several things with it.

In the first place it, it is simply saying that these believers in Ephesis can be effected by the
will of Satan, and he is simply saying, don’t respond, don’t give place to the devil. Option:
Men may respond to Satan.

1 Thessalonians 4:3
3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

We are being informed of the Divine volition. Why is he telling these people about the
Divine volition? Very simply so that you can bring your volition and you can make a choice
that you want the will of God. God has a will directed toward us: that your should abstain
from fornication. How do you do that? Well, you abstain from fornication by simply sitting
still and waiting for God to carry you away from it. No you don’t! You make a decision. You
exercise your volition and you say, no I will not. Therefore, men can respond in this way.

Finally, in closing, back to Romans 6. Viewing the concept in verse 12 that we have seen
twice already: do not allow sin to reign in your mortal bodies that you should obey the lust
thereof. Do not yield your mortal bodies, and those imperatives are directed toward our will,
toward our volition in every sense of the word. So our fourth point, then is that the will must
be seen in terms of response and the options that we have.

We will lay out in our study some of the options that Satan puts in front of us and some of the
options that God puts in front of us and how God desires in His creatures that we with our
will will respond volitionally to Him. We will pick up next time with numbers 5, 6, 7 and 8
and then proceed back to the time when it was only the will of God and move forward and
try to get some perspective in this area.

Our Father, we are thankful today for your word. We pray that we will study it carefully. May
we have the balance that is so necessary in recognizing our make-up as men and women and
our relationship to You, Your sovereign place as the absolute ruler of the universe. We ask
this in Christ’s name, Amen.

Chester McCalley Volition 3

All scripture references are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted

We are in the area of the volition of man, his ability or his capacity to make decisions. Now
remember, that is what we mean by the word “volition.” Volition means God has made man
with the capacity for decisions and the capacity for choices. It is very sobering to stop and
think of the importance of this doctrine as we sit here this morning. We are sitting here as
individuals as a result of a long line of many, many choices. Some of you would like to back
up and do it again, wouldn’t you? Choices that were made under emotion. Choices that were
made perhaps directly under Satanic influence. Choices that were made more likely under the

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influence of the sin nature. We sit here and the older we get the more we realize the impact of
choices and decisions on life, many of them irreversible.

There is a tremendous emphasis today, of course, on not recognizing that we are responsible
for choices. As we mentioned the other night the case of John Hinkley. His attorneys are not
going to say he didn’t do it. What have we been waiting for over these past months? To
decide whether he did it or not? No. The whole focus is not did he do it; the whole focus is
on why he did it and was there something beyond his control. The biblical answer is very
clear: he did it under the impulse of the sin nature. Now, that will not be accepted widely as
the answer. I don’t know if you caught it or not, and I meant to read later one, but I think it is
very interesting that from the humanistic viewpoint, man does not have any answers. He
doesn’t have any answers as to where he came from. He doesn’t know why he is here. He
doesn’t even know why he does what he does. When we come from the standpoint of
Scripture we can give some options.

There was an article in the Star last month. Let me read it to you to get a little focus on what
we are going to be trying to deal with:

“The founder of the Science of Criminology wrote in the mid-nineteenth century that outlaws
have handle-shaped ears, big noses and crooked facial features. Criminals are primitive
creatures, throwbacks to a lower rung on the evolutionary scale, Caesar Lombroso claimed.
This theory has fallen into disrepute. (CM: but catch this:) The cause of violence is unclear.
‘We don’t have an answer to what causes violence.’ (CM: That’s quoting Dr. Marshall Saper,
psychologist. He got a PhD in human behavior. He doesn’t know what causes violence.)

“Tom Carroll, criminologist at University of Missouri, Kansas City means he studied this
issue, said that ‘In a small category of people it may even be related to biological
abnormalities.’ Quoting Don Wyrick, warden of the Missouri State Penitentiary, Jefferson
City, “I don’t know what causes violence. Part of it can be attributed to our lenient court
system and so forth.” Although experts disagree on the causes of violence, they are united in
trying to unravel its mystery. ‘There is a resurgence of interest in the psychological and
biological factors that may be linked with violence.” That’s Dr. Garofalo, director of the
National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

And yet, from the biblical standpoint, we will be able to give and answer. Men make choices
under the influence of their sin nature. I think we ought to get the phone numbers of these
men and call them. What would you get? The secretary would say “Hey, we’ve got another
nut on the line who thinks he knows.” But from the standpoint of a sober study of the

Scriptures, we do have some options on these things. We are looking at the importance of our
will and the importance of our decisions, because if we move down another five years, we
are going to be sitting here with the results of the decisions we have made. Some of them will
be regretted, but what we want to do is to learn to make decisions under the will of God.

We listed some generalizations that we are going to come to later. 1) Human will is not free
like Adam’s was, in that the human will has been effected by the Fall. 2) Human will is free

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in the sense that you can will anything you want. God will never suppress your will. Do you
will to be 80 feet tall? Go ahead. God will not suppress that. Will to be God if you want. You
can will that and God will not hinder it. It will not come about, but man’s will is free in the
sense that we can will as we please. And third, God does not desire to break anybody’s will.
That is so important because some of the so-called teaching on the Christian life would have
you turn out to be a noodle – an overcooked noodle! By the time you’ve said, “Oh, God,
break my will; may I become nothing and You become everything. Well-meaning, but that is
not the proper teaching on the Christian life; God does not want to break your will. God
wants, and has broken the power of sin over our will so that we can be free to will in the right
direction. Then, four, man’s will must be seen in terms of response. Men can and do deliver
their wills to Satan. Men can and do respond to God. Men can and do respond to their own
sin natures.

That leads us to principal number five. We are giving conclusions now without doing the
Bible Study first, so keep this in mind as we go through. The will of man is most often
dominated by his sin nature, not God or Satan. Now we should be controlled by the will of
God, but if you are just going to think statistics, where are the majority of men and women
dominated? It is the sin nature and what this gets away from, then, is that this avoids the
puppet idea. It avoids the idea that men are the puppets of Satan or the puppets of God. It is
not true; men are not the puppets of either. Look at Romans 6:17 to establish a little of that:

17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart
that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

The will of man is most often viewed as dominated by his sin nature, not by God and not by
the devil, though both are options. This is saying I am most often the victim of me. I am not
most often the victim of Satan or anything else; I am the victim of my own actions.

“That ye were the servants of sin” is looking back on pre-salvation type thing. What is the
word that is telling the relationship to the sin nature? You were slaves to the sin nature, and
that is where we come off of a statement such as this is that the will of man is most often
dominated by the sin nature, not by God, not by Satan. The purpose of Satan for you and for
me is to push the implication of our sin nature to the maximum. Let’s

repeat: The purpose of Satan in respect to us is to push the implications of my sin nature to
maximum manifestation. On the other hand, it is the purpose of God to deliver man from the
power of the sin nature and maximize the Cross-work of Christ to the optimal point. We will

come back to this but simply note that the fifth point is that the will of man is most often
dominated by his sin nature.

Point number six – and we hardly need to write this, because we are all aware of this – the
will of man is vacillating and easily influenced. Try to go on a diet! What’s the problem?
How did we blow it? Very simply, we did not have enough volition. We didn’t have a power
of the will. We didn’t make the right choices, and we weren’t willing to make the right
choices. So you see, the concept of the human volition can

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go all the way from a diet clear up to the area of the submission to the will of God in the
Christian experience, but it is vacillating and easily influenced, which is not difficult to
demonstrate.

Let me diagram this a little bit:

God’s object is to influence our will via His word to make the right decisions. It is the object
of Satan to influence my will via my sin nature to make all the wrong choices.

God has a will


God’s word is the expression of God’s will which He utilizes to


influence us

The believer has a sin nature & a capacity to choose but


is free because of the Cross (Romans 6)

God acts and desires to influence my will; He wants me to make choices. The most obvious
evidence of that is His use of the imperative mood in His word. Why does He say, “do this”?
Why does He say, “don’t do that”? He is appealing to my will by His word, so that when I, in
my will, respond to the word properly, what will I do? I will make the right choices. When I
make the right choices, where do I end up in life? I end up in the right place when I make the
right choice. So, here is the purpose of God. Does this indicate He is trying to break my will?
No. He says, “Through My word I want to influence your will. I want you to make choices
that are the right ones, therefore here is My will: rejoice always. And I am asking you to do
that. Don’t worry about anything, but let all your requests be known to God.” That is the
expression of the will. That is what He wants. That is an appeal to the will, which is an
appeal to the will, which is simply saying God does not want puppets; He wants responders.
When you think of Him as the absolute, sovereign ruler of the universe, what does He want
from you and me? He wants us to volitionally say, “I choose to obey You and I choose to
believe Your word.” That is what He desires. That is not God crushing the will; this is God
wanting a personal, intimate relationship with His creatures.

So here is God, who has a will. Here is the word, which is the expression of God’s will. And
then here is the believer who is free because of the Cross (Romans 6). Sin does not have to
dominate because the Cross has come into this area and has cut us free from our sin natures
so He can say to us, “Don’t yield to the sin nature. Do yield to the Holy Spirit (Romans 6: 12
& 13). That is where our will fits into the picture.

The importance of this is that perhaps you have been sitting around waiting. For what? Well,
you know what God’s will is; He says do this, but you just don’t have the motivation yet and
you are just waiting for Him to move in and give it to you. Wait on. The issue is not sitting

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and waiting. The issue is that God has appealed to your will. Make the decision consciously
and openly.

We made the point earlier that a man mentioned to Ron he would be absent from Bible class
for some time because he had bird dogs that he had to train. Now stop and think about the
quality of his decision. Over here is Bible class, an expression of the will of God. Over on
the other side sits a bird dog. Think now: which should I choose? Bird dog or Doctrine? It
should be obvious, should it not? Yet, very often, when we have those priorities set in front of
us, we are in reality choosing between the word of God and something else, and where is the
priority? Of course, you know what is going to happen: he chose bird dogs and he is the kind
of guy the pastor loves, because in six months he will be coming around saying, “My wife is
suing me for divorce. What’s wrong? What happened?” It’s very simple, it was Bible
doctrine or bird dog and you chose bird dogs, because of a birdbrain. This instills a real
concept of responsibility and God’s appeal to it.

On the other hand, you have Satan and Satan does have a will. Here again, he looks down
and sees the sin nature and the fact that man has a will. Satan utilizes as his means of
influencing us (God’s means was the word) the sin nature.

Satan has a will


Satan utilizes the sin nature of man to influence him


Man has a free will to respond & this


becomes the basis of Satan’s appeal
The sin nature has appeal to it. The two ways are working, then. Would you regard man as a
puppet now? Not at all. Satan who has a will recognizes that man has a sin nature and he
appeals through the sin nature to make a decision that responds in accord with the sin nature.
So man is free to make that choice.

On the other hand, God, expressing His will and appealing to us through His word, says, “I
want you to make choices that are based on the Will of God, which are the only ultimate
good.

Keep in mind we are putting these things down now, so that when we go through various
passages, I will say, “Remember #5, or #6 or #7. We are listing them now; we are not
establishing them.

A seventh thing we need to keep in mind about human will is that the pagan idea about the
will is part of human mentality. We may think we are free of it, but I think we can
demonstrate that we are not. The first thing we need to do is to ask what the pagan idea about
the human will is. It is very simple:

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Up here is nature and all the forces of nature: the sun, the moon, the wind, heat, and so forth.
That, in pagan thinking, of course, is the divine. You don’t have to read very far in the Greek
or Roman (writings) and you find the god of the sun, the moon, and so forth, and the forces
of nature, the god of fertility. And how did man, in his pagan mentality, relate to nature?
Basically, he was under the pile.

Nature & All the Forces of Nature



Man in subjection: the victim

The pagan picture is man cowering back in a corner, awaiting his fate from impersonal
forces. You may say we don’t believe that. We don’t believe it, but it is part of our mentality.
Haven’t you ever said, “Why did

God let that happen?” That is reflecting this. Have you ever talked about luck? Or we had
good fortune? That’s all part of this type of thing. It looks as though God is a cold,
impersonal machine and this comes over into putting a sovereign God who is cold and
impersonal up in the place of Nature, and we are in subjection to Him just waiting to see
what He will reel off next. That kind of mentality is reflected in a situation where you just
had a collision and some members of your family has been killed and some idiot comes up
and says, “Well, God’s on the throne, don’t dare cry.” He deserves to be punched in the
theological nose for that kind of heresy. True, God is on the throne, but there is a warm,
personal type thing that this fatalistic, impersonal (attitude) misses as far as Scripture is
concerned. We will develop that later.

Eighth, and last. This should be an obvious thing. The true concept of volition and
sovereignty is found in Scripture. It is the only place we are going to get it. And, by the way,
here is what it is: Yahweh is up here, man is over here, nature is over here and the way they
line up in the Scripture is saying three things about God.
1) He is personal. Let me put it really plainly. I mean God cries and laughs. God can
take a joke. You can argue with Him and He will argue back with you. You can appeal
to Him and say, “You shouldn’t do that.” [You are thinking right now] “Oh, My!
That’s irreverent.” No, it’s part of God’s character and it’s not irreverent. He is the
sovereign of the universe, but He is a personal being.

2) He is revealed. He is not hiding in a corner; we can learn about Him. We can learn
about His character, what He is, what He does, how He feels toward us, what He
desires from us.
3) We can also say this: He doesn’t have any rivals, He is sovereign. He is the only God
there is.

Where does this put man? Man is to function, if he functions right, in response to God’s will.
How doe we respond to God’s will? We respond to God’s will by our will, by our capacity to
choose. Nature is not to be feared and it is not to be worshipped – these are two pivotal
things. That is the warm relationship which, if we come out of Scripture, that we may have to
the Lord. Yet, that other type thing that comes into the picture is when we get into the area of

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just sitting around in the corner, waiting for our fate to be dispensed. If it was fate dispensed
by the gods, they would have it coming from something impersonal. If we transfer that
mentality, we think it is fate dispensed by God.

Just to show how we have this mentality, have you ever feared God’s will? Have you ever
debated that God’s will is absolute good? It can’t be anything but the best for us. I’ve got
something built into me that [makes me] not so sure. That’s understandable, isn’t it? Would
you want to commit everything you got to my will? Just give me your bank account; let me
have it. I’ll dispense it for you. Why are you laughing? You are very realistic. You know me
and you know that as a man I don’t, in every instance and every case without any exception
or reservation [do what is best for you]. You are afraid my interests are going to get in the
way of yours. Are you a little afraid I might not put your interests in front of mine? You’re
right, I wouldn’t. Turn it around: That’s why I won’t give my bank account to you, too.

Then what do we do? We invert it, because we are so used to and that’s the way we ought to
live; you don’t leave signed checks around, because probably someone is going to pick up
that signed check that might not have your interests at heart. They might their interests at
heart. I don’t think that would happen. I think you can drop hundred dollar bills on the street
and they will be promptly returned if they can identify where they came from, right? No.
Men do not have the interests of other men primarily at heart.

Now when we deal with God we have to forget all that. God’s will, and it’s one of the
principles, is absolute good. He cannot and does not will anything for me that is not the best
thing in the world for me. If we have a hard time really in practice submitting to that, it is
simply because of this: we are still filled in our human mentality with the pagan idea about
God. We cower in the corner and God has only His interests and that might hurt us of damage
us in some way.

With those principles we are ready to start what we will call the Biblical Presentation of the
Will.

Let me overview, and then we’ll go to a passage with some detail. In the overview we will
have three things.

1) We need a starting point. The starting point will be the existence of one will: God’s.
We will find traced out in Scripture that there was a time when there wasn’t any
conflict at all in the universe. There was simply the one will of God, and with that one
will of God you had peace and harmony. One will is the key to harmony anywhere,
isn’t it? It’s the key to harmony on our house – if it’s my will. If you could have your
will from your husband or your wife all the time, would you have peace? Yes, you
would. You’d have one person with a will; the other person would be a mouse, but
nonetheless, [you would have peace].

What causes all conflicts? What causes marriage problems? It’s simple; two wills.
One says this is it, the other says this is it, and neither will give in so you have an

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argument. So the solution is that in we start with one will and the universe we have
absolute harmony.

2) Now, just because God has an absolute, sovereign will – and I think this is the second
time we have made this point and we will hear it over and over again - God is
sovereign in His will and he does allow His will to be challenged. Therefore, we
come to the challenge. That will be with the fall of Satan. That will be the
introduction of a second will. God says, “I will.” Satan says, “I would like to
challenge that, by saying I will.” The challenge is a total negation of God’s will. This
is very important.

God is so sovereign that He can say, “Do you want to challenge Me? Do it.” Then He
will turn around and say, “Look, would you like the tool to do it with? Here’s the tool;
it’s called ‘will’. Now, challenge me.” So God is so sovereign that He can very
securely say, “You can challenge Me and I will create you with the capacity to do it.
It’s called your volition.” Very important. The sovereignty of God does not mean the
fact that God cannot be and has not been challenged and is not willing to be.

You ask why would He want to allow Himself to be challenged. For excellent reason.
One of those reasons among several we will talk about is so that in time and space
history He can objectively prove a fact: There can be no good apart from My will. If
you look at time and space history what are you looking at? You are looking at a
history of conflict, of murder, or war, of argument and a search for peace that we
never seem to find. What is all of this demonstrating in time? God says, “You
challenged My will. I accept the challenge and I am still on the throne. I’m going to
give a little blip called time and you are going to get to demonstrate just what good
you can get from a second will in the universe.” What kind of good have we gotten
out of that second will in the universe? Conflicts of all types.

3) So, you have the challenge, then you have a focal point. Challenge of the will of God
by the second will and for the focal point we move to the Garden of Eden. In the
Garden of Eden you have the introduction of human volition, or human will.

Now, let’s back off. You’ve got, in these three things, God’s will is number one; the starting
point. You’ve got Satan’s will, number two. And you have man’s will, number three. Each
one of these wills has a plan. God has a will for His cosmos, His universe, Satan has a will
and man has a will. God’s will for His universe focuses on Jesus Christ as the supreme
sovereign king over the universe. That’s where God’s will focuses.

Satan’s will focuses on himself; he wants to be god. So far, he hasn’t been able to marshal
enough support for his plan to really give him a majority. He’ll do it. When does he do it? He
will do it under the man of sin (2 Thessalonians). He will get at that point… That will simply
be….Let’s go back to our earlier diagram (page 4). Satan under this influence to man’s will
via his sin nature…Satan hasn’t won yet. He has certainly influenced many under his will,
but in terms of numbers, he doesn’t have the masses yet. Under the man of sin this will come
to a head and a success from the standpoint of centering things in himself.

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Man also has a will and it focuses on – guess who? Man’s will is to enthrone Jesus Christ?
No. Is man’s will to enthrone Satan? No. Man’s will is to enthrone man. We had a good
illustration of that when we went through the humanist manifesto last weekend. Man wants
to make himself the ruler and the one who can control and dominate the universe.

Satan is not omniscient. He doesn’t know everything. Since he is not omniscient, he can
make tactical or strategic errors. I think he got a surprise in the Garden in thinking that God
was trying to influence Adam via don’t eat of this tree; do this. Satan was trying to influence
man to do his will and enthrone him. If he could get man to fall, he would get enthroned.
Instead of man saying, “I salute you, Satan.” Man turned around and saluted himself. When
Adam saluted himself he had some sons. Do you know what each one of his sons did? They
saluted their dad? No. Cain saluted Cain. Abel saluted Abel. When they had sons, they
saluted themselves. So you come to

Isaiah 53:6
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;

So we come down from part one, one will to second will and now we have billions of wills.
All those billions of wills are in conflict, are they not? You ask if Satan succeeds with his
man of sin, how will God bring things back to His own will so He is the sovereign? He will
do it by the biggest blood bath this world has ever known at His return. You say, man will
never…No, man won’t. It will be a demonstration that when we depart from the will of God
it is literally suicide. Of course, we have the tremendous option of God saying, “Alright, for
you that choose to respond I am going to give an expression of My will in this book.” The
first thing you have to do is to opt to get your nose in it, which is a big decision. This has to
be a priority and then once we get into it we have to begin to respond to the imperatives.
Let’s go back now after the overview and we will start with the initial challenge and move
down to Eden and we ought to get this done. By the way, while we are going through this,
this is all we will be doing. We will not do history until we get through, simply because I
don’t want to think about anything except nourishment, sleeping and studying this subject.

Let’s start now with the initial challenge. I will put down capsule form. Let me make several
points:

1. God created a being that was superior to all other beings and proclaimed him
and gave him authority over all Creation.

2. A time came when this being (Satan) proclaimed, “I don’t like God’s will, I
want my will.”

3. Multitudes of angels joined him.

4. God dealt with it immediately, as spelled out in Matthew 25:41, when He


made Hell for Satan and his angels. This is very important in human thinking.

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Satan is supposed to be king of Hell. Satan is not the king of Hell; God is the
king of Hell.

5. This conflict, after God prepared Hell for Satan and his angels that rebelled
against the will of God and cared for that thing(?).

Then we move the scene down to Eden and that conflict between God and Satan is behind
every single movement of history. Ezekiel 28. The reason we are starting with the will of
God is because we will never understand the will of man apart from it. We are going to what
I just said in capsule form and moving into detail.

Ezekiel 28 has two easily discernable divisions to it. The first on starts in verse 1:

The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,


2 Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus,

We will find in Ezekiel 28:1-11 an address to one called “the Prince of Tyre”. However, when
you come to verse 12 you have a break. Verse 12 says:

12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus,

So Ezekiel 23:12-19 addresses the king of Tyre. Two clear sections. What we will find is that
in this second section addressed to the king of Tyre, it will go beyond the king to the person
behind him, or the person influencing him.

Let’s first of all say that there is nothing unusual about saying that God addresses Satan via
somebody else. That should not give us a problem at all or to see that a passage may go
beyond application to the person to whom it is talking. If you had to give an example of a
class of passages that go beyond the person to whom it is being spoken, to somebody else,
what class of passage would you go with? We have in the Old Testament Messianic
prophecy, don’t we? Who was it that said, “My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken me?”

David said that. Does it go beyond David? No question about it; it goes beyond him. Let me
give you two examples of that.

Look at Hosea 11:1, compared to Matthew 2:15. Then, Psalm 16:8-10 to Acts 2:22-27. We
will only look at the Hosea and Matthew passages; I just put the others up as a full example.

All we are asking is, is it unusual for Scripture to address one person and have that thing
balloon on out beyond him? The answer is yes, and the example is Messianic Prophecy. It
does it over and over.

Hosea 11:1
When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

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Now in just plain old common sense interpretation, who is “my son” in this context? He is
talking about the delivery of Israel out of Egypt, isn’t he? You can get explanation of that,
can’t you? “My son” obviously is Israel, is it not? He is referring to what? The time that they
were led up to the Red Sea and by Moses delivered out of Egypt. So, “my son” is very
clearly the nation of Israel and her delivery from Egypt. Is it true, however, that the words of
a passage can go beyond who it is speaking to and balloon out to somebody else? Turn to
Matthew 2:15. The threat for the death of children has gone out and as a result Joseph and
Mary have taken the baby Jesus down into Egypt. Now they are coming out of Egypt again,
and notice in 2:15 it says:

Matthew 2:14-15
14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the
Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

Who is my son here? Jesus Christ, isn’t it? So “my son” was the whole nation in Hosea. “My
son” is Jesus Christ, one person, here in Matthew. What is that saying? It is saying that the
words of Hosea applied to much more than just the nation of Israel. It can balloon out to
apply to “My Son”. Without turning to it, we have the same concept in Psalm 16:8-10 with
respect to the burial and the grave and it has ballooned out and applied to Christ in Acts 2:22-
27. So, it is not unusual to have this phenomenon. We have it in Ezekiel 28: 12-19, where the
words will balloon out beyond the king of Tyre and they will tell us something about Satan
and how he introduced the second will into the universe in the narration of this particular
chapter.

Another example: Does God ever address Satan indirectly? Who are these words
addressing? Christ looks at a man and says, “Get thee behind Me…” Who is He looking at?
Peter. Is that the next word? “Get thee behind Me Satan”. He addresses Satan through Peter.
In the Garden, He addresses Satan via the serpent. In this passage we will have an address to
Satan via the king of Tyre. He will be doing something somewhat parallel to the “get thee
behind Me, Satan” spoken to Peter, addressing Satan. This will be the “get thee behind Me,
king of Tyre” addressing, indirectly, Satan in the context.

Let’s start at Ezekiel 28.Now, the significance of this passage is that we are looking at the
question “where did sin come from?’ This passage will give us an answer. Notice we will
have headlines as to the general character of the person he is addressing.

Verse 12: "Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyrus,” (ultimately Satan), and
say to him (here is the headline) “Thus saith the Lord God, ‘Thou sealest up the sum.” There
are your headlines. He is talking to this created being.

When you look in verse 12 and see the word “thou”, if you are looking at a Hebrew bible,
that word is put there to rise up and smite you because it is an independent emphatic
pronoun. So the effect is, “you, in distinction from everybody else.” God is singling out this
individual and saying, “I want to take you from over here in the mass of all of My created

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beings and I want to take you; you are unique. You are unlike any of the rest of these created
beings.”
He does it first of all by the emphatic pronoun in Hebrew, which is “thou”. So He says, “You” in verse, “in contrast to all others” – he sets
him on a pedestal, it separates him from others – “you are the sum”. The word “sum” translates from the Hebrew word “tokniyth”. This
means “full measure”. The concept is nothing missing; it’s all there. So, addressing this being, “You are the full measure.” The idea is that
there is nothing to be improved upon; it’s all there. You ask, if there is nothing to be improved upon, if this is the full measure, then this
must be God. No, it’s full measure with respect to something. This being is the full measure, the ultimate. Go to verse 15 and you will see
what he is the full measure with respect to.

Ezekiel 28:15
Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created,

He is the full measure with respect to created beings. The scenario we have is that God as sovereign and He has a will. He expresses His
will by creating what we will call His prime minister. We will establish that in this passage. God establishes His prime minister
and His prime minister is superior to all other created beings. Therefore, you have the rest of creation below him.

Does God have a right to set things up that way? If He is God, He has a right to a plan, doesn’t He? If He has a right to a plan, He has a
right to express it and, therefore, expect obedience to it. We have God setting up the way He is going to rule His universe. He says, “The
way I’m going to do it is I’m going to put an administrator of My affairs over My creation.” It is the being we are talking about in Ezekiel
28. There is God’s original plan and as long as this prime minister said, “I submit myself to execute the only good will there is, the will of
God”, things in the universe go beautifully.

Now, when God set up this plan, He also said this: “If you choose to challenge me, you can do it. You cannot defeat my sovereign will. You
cannot push Me off the throne, but you can challenge Me. As a matter of fact, if you can and do challenge Me, then I will, in all fairness,
say, ok, let’s bring in all creation and I will grant you a little blip in the execution of My will. I will grant you a little blip in which I will say,
go ahead and challenge Me. We will name that little blip “time”.” It will start in Eden and the blip has been continuing. In the blip, God is
trying to call attention in our minds to something very important. He is trying to say, “Look, can you see it? Can you see what a mess came
about by a second will? Can you see the problems? What I’m going to do for you is that I’m not going to leave you down there in a sea of
uncertainty. I’m going to put My will in an expressed form.

“Now, you have an option. The reason you have an option is because I made you that way. I made Adam and I put him in the Garden and I
made him responsible. And you are responsible. I am going to appeal through the imperative mood to you. I will say here is a fact: Christ
died for your sins. Here is the way you ought to act. Here is what I don’t want you to do. This is contrary to My will. Now I invite you to
respond, with the volition I have given you, to My will.”

That is a sovereign God who is a personal God who designed what? It that a God who designed a bunch of little puppets down here where
He can jerk an arm up, and drop one down over here? That’s not the scenario. The scenario is a God Who is very much sovereign, Whose
plan has been challenged and just in His grace - to allow a challenge is grace; the moment Satan said ‘I will’, God could have gone over and
– zap – that’s that – next! He didn’t choose to do that. The reason He didn’t choose to do that is that He wants willing, volitional obedience
and response from His creatures. Not in a fatalistic sense, but because, in fact, God even reasons with us! The condescension in this is
amazing! The God Whose will is always right comes down and reasons with these stupid worms – us!

Isaiah 1:18
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:

Think about this. What do we have in Romans? God reasoning. He said, “Look, here’s what happened at the Cross. Here’s what I did. Can
you see this? Can you understand?” Why does He reason with us? Why doesn’t He take us and put us right where He wants us? We don’t’
want that. He is a personal God, who wants a personal response of His creatures.
To put it very bluntly, He wants you to decide to be in Bible class. He wants you to decide to give His word a priority. That in no sense
violates His sovereignty and it begins to bring into focus that human beings in submission to God are not wet noodles; we choose under the
influence of the word of God and, boy we will be making those choices all week, won’t we? We’ll choose priorities in the morning. Do I do
this or this? We’ll choose where we go. Some of them are influenced by certain things that, of course, take away the real freedom to choose.
You could even choose not to go to work tomorrow. We’ll be having options and making choices. It is in this area with all these many
thousands of choices that we will make on priorities this week.

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What bearing do they have on the Christian life? They have a lot of bearing on it and the answer to these things comes out in the biblical
concept of the human volition. Next we will pick up where we just left off. A little more description of this being and then we will move to
the general character, then specific character. As we move out of there, we will move the battle down to the Garden. As we said earlier, the
first thing God did with Adam was to make him responsible, saying do this. Responsibility is one of the basic first institutions in Scripture.

Father, we are thankful today for the fact that You are securely and forever on the throne. Because you are God, You are the absolute,
personal, unchangeable ruler of Your universe. It is never in question. Yet, may we grasp the truth that You allow Your rule to be challenged.
May we also recognize that to challenge to Your rule is to engage in what is evil and to engage is what is worst for us. May we recognize
that Your will is designed for Your glory, and therefore, for the best good of Your created beings. We pray that in the church, the body of
Christ, we will assert to this world the headship of Jesus Christ and do so by exercising the right choices in relationship to Yourself and in
relationship to Your word. In Christ’s name. Amen.

Chester McCalley Volition 4


All scripture references are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted

…with the concept of total harmony in God’s universe because there was one single will.
However, when we come to Ezekiel 28, we come to the entry of problems into the universe,
because we have the entrance of a second will, the fact that in Ezekiel 28:12-19 God is
addressing the king of Tyre and, ultimately, Satan. Verse 12 is called the “headlines verse”
and the headlines verse has two things about the character of Satan in it. 1) A general
statement, and 2) a specific statement about his character. The general statement is found in
the words which read:

I.

II. Ezekiel 28:12a


12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith
the Lord GOD;
This is a summary statement.
Ezekiel 28:12b
Thou sealest up the sum,
First of all, in the Hebrew “thou” is an emphatic pronoun separated from the verb, so that it
means I want to separate him from all other beings. So it reads something like this: “You, as
distinct from the rest of the creation, sealest up the sum.” Then we noted that the idea of
sealing up the sum is the Hebrew word “tokniyth” that means full measure. So, it simply
says, “you are the full measure with respect to what we have in verse 15.” If we say he is full
measure, does that mean he is as good as God? Do you mean full measure in the sense that
there is nothing lacking and he is therefore deity? No, because verse 15 tells us:
Ezekiel 28:15
Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created,
This is with respect to created beings. From that point we move onto the idea that God set up
His universe in this way: He is the sovereign. He has His will, which is perfect good. He
assigned in Ezekiel 28, a prime minister and that prime minister right off the bat in verse 12

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is said to be superior. He is the sum of everything that a created being could be and he is to
reign over the rest of creation. Now, we are ready to move on from where we stopped in the
last lesson, asking what about the specific character of this particular being and that will
involve us in two things in verse 12.
Number one, “Thou sealest up the sum” - here’s your headline, now details: “full of
wisdom”. That is the full first expression of what this being has that is special. He is full of
wisdom. Wisdom translates “chokmah”. That transliterated for those of you following in
Hebrew as something like: “khokmaw”. The word does refer to wisdom and it does refer to
intelligence, but that is not all that is involved in the word. If we simply look at this as being
“full of intelligence” then you might think of a being with an extremely high IQ, so to speak.
That is true, but that is not all. Look at the same word over in Exodus 28:3 and you find out
that there is more in it than just being smart.
In preparation for the making of the tabernacle, God has endowed certain men with this
“chokmah” in order to be able to do a certain thing. Verse 3 says:

III.

IV. Exodus 28:3a


3 And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of
wisdom (chokmah),
It is the same word we had over in Ezekiel and it is translated the same way, “spirit of
wisdom.” What did this wisdom make them able to do? Look at the rest of the verse:

Exodus 28:3b
that they may make Aaron’s garments
What did He give them? What was this wisdom? It was skill in the preparation of clothes,
and it is called under this word. So the idea, then, is intelligence, but it is skillful intelligence.
So, here is this being that makes up the very summation of God’s created beings and God
says, “I want you to reign for Me and I’m going to endow you with great, skillful
intelligence.” I think one of the interesting things is that when this being fell, did he lose all
of that? Is he any more skillfully intelligent now, or did he lose that with the fall? The very
important thing about Satan is that what God endowed him with by creation, he still has. He
is a fallen creature and he opposes God’s will, but he still has this skillful intelligence.
Second, and by the way, with the word “full”, of course, emphasizing that he has skillful
intelligence to the maximum. As a created being he has nothing more to learn.
Now, back to our passage in Ezekiel. He is perfect in beauty. The word perfect can mean all
or wholly. And beauty would be a reference to his whole being. Reading the verse [this way],
“Thus saith the Lord, ‘You, unique being, you are the full proportion of created beings. You
have the maximum in intelligence and you are wholly beautiful. So that, when we think of
Satan we must think of two things: We must think in terms of brains, and we must think in
terms of beauty. Satan is an intelligent and beautiful being.

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Alright, now, what is this being supposed to do? You have had the headlines, now what is his
function? What is he supposed to do? What are the functions of this being? What is he
supposed to do? What did God make a being like that for? What was the intent of it? Why
did God make a created being with this great intelligence? Why did He make him beautiful?
What did God have in mind? What did God want him to do? Or, we might put it this way:
the will of God relative to, what he will be called elsewhere, Lucifer.
Remember, as long as this being accepts the will of God as the best, we are going to have
harmony. But we are going to find out that he does not fulfill his functions. Now, first of all
when we talk about the functions of this being, let’s make a generalization: His whole
function is to be under the will of God. His whole purpose is to be under God’s will. Where
do we get that? Look down to verse 14 and you have it very clear.
Ezekiel 28:14
14a “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth;“

V. Do you get the sovereignty of God in here?


b”and I have set thee so”
So to go back to our diagram, then, notice off those words “I have set thee so” we have
jumped ahead of ourselves a little in the diagram and said God appointed him prime minister.
But the point is that He addresses this being and says, “You are full of wisdom. You are full
of beauty. You are full of brains. I made you that way and I have appointed you to carry out
the functions that I want to see carried out.”

What specifically, then, were those functions? Incidentally, notice how simple things are:
God has a will, He wants Lucifer to carry them out in His universe. Everything is just as
simple as saying this: The will of God is best.

Now, we are going to find out that this being perhaps for a time asserts this, but is soon going
to become ambitious and we will move from one will to two wills in the universe and we will
have the reason for instability, for problems and so forth that are going to enter in. Then we
will come down to the human will aspect of it. But as a result of the simplicity of things,
everything is to be done by God’s will, you can have an effective, stable, ideal universe.
Now, what is he supposed to do? First of all, verse 13, he is to act as God’s priest. (Genesis
28:13). How do we get the concept that he is to act as God’s priest?
Ezekiel 28:13a
13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God;
Remember this morning we said that sometimes words of a passage go so far beyond the
person that is actually being addressed that it has to refer to somebody else? If you go up to
verse 12, He is addressing the king of Tyre. Was the king of Tyre in the Garden of Eden? If
the king of Tyre was in the Garden of Eden, we have something strange in Genesis. I don’t
see him there, do you? Well the point is the king of Tyre manifested the same sins, the same

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attitude that Satan did. So you have, “you have been in Eden, the garden of God” – and what
was his characteristic? Notice he is described in terms of his covering.
Ezekiel 28:13b
every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the
onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the
workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast
created.
So God creates this being and covers him in this particular way. Now that covering can be
found two other places. Number 1, this covering is also the covering of the high priest in
Israel. That’s why we identify this being with a priest, he had on a priests covering. The
passage is Exodus 28:17-20. You can make a comparison that this being looked like the high
priest of Israel. What was the high priest of Israel? He was the link between God and

His people. What is this created being intended to be? He is to be the link between God and
the rest of His creation. He was to function and represent God in a full sense of the word.

The second time that you have this kind of covering is in the book of Revelation describing
the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21. What can we say about the New Jerusalem? What is
going on there? Is there a lot of conflict? No, in the New Jerusalem you have the dwelling
place of those who are totally absorbed in the will of God. So notice, this being then, is to be
a link between God and His creation and serve in this capacity.

The second thing that he is given to do is to act as God’s prime minister. That comes from
Ezekiel 28:14. How do we know that he was to be God’s prime minister? We can derive that
idea from three things: 1) His position. Verse 14: “Thou are the anointed cherub that
covereth; and I have set thee so.” Notice this “thou wast upon the holy mountain of God…”
His position is on God’s holy
mountain. You could reply by saying, “So what? What does God’s mountain refer to?” I’ll
give you the passage. The holy mountain represents the seat of God’s authority. What do I
derive that from? Going to every passage where it mentions God’s holy mountain and asking,
in that passage, what does it stand for? What’s involved here? Let me give you a smattering
of verses that I think will establish that that is really true: Psalm 2:6, speaking ultimately of
Christ and His position:
6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

Where is the king seated? Where is God’s king seated? Upon the holy hill of Zion. The hill,
or the mountain, of God represents the authority of God. In Psalm 3:4
4 I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.
Where does God hear from? His holy hill. What is it? It is the place that God reigns from;
the place where God sits.

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VI.

VII. Isaiah 2:2


2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be
established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations
shall flow unto it.

VIII.

IX. Isaiah 11:9


9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the
knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
In all those contexts, the holy hill will takes us to the place where God sits. So, notice, again
going back to Ezekiel 28, where is this being placed? He was placed on the holy hill of God,
or the holy mountain of God. So that he is placed where? In the seat of authority, and that is
why we use the word prime minister. He apparently is to act as God’s prime
minister. God says, “Take a seat right here in the place of my authority.” And what is his
function? He is to rule for and administer the one single will of God.
We can look at a second thing. It is derived from his position, it is also derived from his
environment.

X.

XI. Ezekiel 28:14


14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy
mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
That expression “stones of fire”, if we would trace it back through the Old Testament, then I
have no problem making a generalization that “stones of fire” is always – and I don’t hesitate
to use that word “always” – associated with God’s throne. So notice we have another thing
that places him right up there in the government of God in a high place.
A third thing will help to show that he was God’s prime minister and that is his designation.
He is called the anointed cherub. You might ask why that shows that he is to be a ruler. The
answer is simply because the function of a cherub was to see that the will of God was carried
out. Go to the first use of one, Genesis 3:24. God has stated that man is not to enter the
Garden again, and who is going to be there to protect God’s interests? Who is going to be
there to see that God’s will is not violated. Well, notice the cherubs were assigned to do that.

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XII.

XIII. Genesis 3:24


24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the Garden of Eden Cherubims, and
a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
So God executes a sentence and who is going to see that His will is carried out? The
execution of His will is placed in the hands of cherubs. So then, you have in Ezekiel 28 you
have the governmental set up. God is sovereign. He has a throne. He puts this anointed
cherub on the throne and says, ”Alright, I’m putting you in my seat of government.” His
function was to rule over the rest of creation for God.
Now, let’s go back to Ezekiel 28:15 and move away from the function of this being to the fall
of this being. The fall of the prime minister is described in verse 15.

Let me say that as far as the word of God goes, here is the origin of sin. When I say that,
someone could easily raise his hand and say, “Well, if this is the origin of sin, how did it get
there in the first place?” Let me answer in a resounding way: I don’t have any idea how it
got there, but as far as Scripture is concerned, it takes you by the hand and says, “Ok, I’ll
take you back this far.” I have a sneaking idea that God doesn’t take us further because He
says, “You wouldn’t understand it anyway, so let Me take you to Eden, let Me take you
behind Eden and let Me show its roots back here and we’ll let the philosophers wander on
and try to figure out where they came from in the first place, but let’s us stop right here [at
the fall of Lucifer.]
It is very important, I think, to learn to stop where the evidence of the word of God leaves us.
You may want to ask questions beyond that, but for our own mentality, if the word of God
says, “Let’s go back to here,” and doesn’t take us any further, let’s be satisfied with that. In
one sense, if we are satisfied with how far it takes us, here we are in verse 15.

XIV. Ezekiel 28:15


Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in
thee.
What we have then is perfect harmony in the universe until…
That word “until” has a lot in it. For example, it has in it this: I am the sovereign God, but I
will permit My authority to be challenged. It can’t be challenged successfully. In no way can
it (be). But I will permit it to be challenged.” - I think if we are to read fairly the word, we
will have to admit that. – “Until iniquity was found in thee.” We will want to take a look in a
more precise way, just exactly was that iniquity. To me, this has to be one of the most
profound statements anywhere in the word of God for this reason: Here is the key difference
between time and eternity. The difference between time and eternity is that eternity is one
will, time is the existence, under God’s permission of more than one will. So that we would
look something like this: We have had one will, for a period of time, how long we don’t
know; we know it was “from the day you were created until”. I don’t know any way to put
time into that or to read how long that sequence was, but there was an ‘until’ and at this
‘until’ we have the challenge of God’s authority, which obviously God permitted. As we said

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this morning, is there any reason why, because of the nature of God, that He could have said,
“You were perfect until the day iniquity was found and the day iniquity was found I
destroyed you. I wiped you out.” God could certainly have had that option if He had so
chosen to take that option. He did not, because, due to this challenge, there is going to be the
most fantastic exhibition of the power and sovereignty and omnipotence of God that we
could ever possibly conceive of.
So we enter time. That will be terminated when once again “every knee bows and every
tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:11)
and we will return to one will again. We will want to do a little questioning as to why there is
benefit to God allowing His authority to be challenged? In the first place because of that
challenge and the entrance of sin, it will give God the opportunity to manifest grace. What
does the cross mean without sin? I am sure, Satan, not being omniscient, didn’t recognize all
this, and probably just grates his teeth every time he sees that my challenge to divine
authority has done nothing except cause God’s whole character to blossom. God has the
opportunity to manifest grace, the opportunity in time to demonstrate what ultimate good is
and to demonstrate that there is no good apart from Him. All kinds of options just blossom
out.
You can see why God in His infinite wisdom said, “Alright, you challenged My authority.
My authority is so great that if you challenge it you will just exhibit the greatness of My own
sovereign character in time. We will deal with that a little bit more with that particular thing.
The beauty of this

whole thing, of course, is that in this interim of time, God has not left us down here the
victims, but He has inserted into time a revelation of His will. And He said to you and me,
“You can respond to My will and you can have harmony. You don’t have to be born into
inevitable disharmony and problems. You can have harmony if you relate to My word in
terms of your life on earth.”
Now turn to Isaiah 14 and we want to pinpoint a little more what he did. Iniquity? What did
he do? Did he take some diamonds from the divine coffers, or what did he do? From the Fall,
let’s move into the exact nature of the iniquity.
First of all, coming down to verse 12, we have his name:
Isaiah 14:12
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer,
“Lucifer” translates from the Hebrew “heylel”, which is our root for hallelujah, meaning
bright, shining, praise. It just looks at the pristine state he was in.
“son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!”
13a For thou hast said in thine heart,”
And here is an expansion of the iniquity, and is often pointed out, notice his sin. His sin is
that he introduced a second will. His sin was the introduction of an opposing will, and you
have that repeated. Notice that the idea of ‘I will’ just permeates these verses, especially
verse 13.

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I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon
the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
This 13th verse accounts for all the misery, all the disharmony, all the suffering, all the
sorrow, all the sin and all the tragedy in the universe. You see, the idea is independence of
God. Independence of God is programmed in the unbeliever: ignore the Cross. Never look at
it. And it is programmed for the believer: Ignore the word. Don’t look at the word of God;
don’t even open it, keep away from it. That’s always Satan’s program. Therefore, whenever
we see a danger to any priority that pulls us away from the word, identify it. That’s what
Satan wants. He wants to be independent of that and go after other will rather than the will of
God. I think it would be so much easier if we didn’t put “Holy Bible” on the outside of the
Holy Bible, and if we put “God’s Will” on the outside of it. Recognize,
there it sits, God’s will in contrast to everything else. That would be a good title for it, since
“Holy Bible” is not inspired anyway.
Now, back to verse 13. Notice more carefully the “I will.” [He says] “I will ascend into
heaven.” All of these “I wills” are contrary to God’s will.
1) I will ascend into heaven. Basically, heaven has four uses as far as I can see in the
Scripture. For example, heaven sometimes can refer to something in the atmosphere.
There are places in the Bible that talk about “birds in the heavens”. Is

it talking about the fact that when we go to Heaven we are going to see robins up
there? Obviously not. This is talking about the atmosphere.
2) It will talk about the stars in the heaven, so you can go out to the solar system.
3) Then you have something short of the presence of God, which I guess you could just
call the lower heavens.

4) Finally, The Heaven, which is God’s presence or God’s throne. I take it this is the one
in the verse.
He is simply saying, “I do not want to share. I do not like the idea that God is the absolute
sovereign. I want the throne.” Absolute opposition to God.

Then, second, he wants to be above the stars of God. “I will exalt my throne above the stars
of God.” Stars can refer to one of two things by usage. They can refer to actual physical
bodies, or, such as Revelation 1:16, there is a reference to messengers of God as stars.
“13b I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds”
Clouds are referred to about 150 times in the Old Testament, and at least 100 of them are a
reference to the presence of God.
Now notice one other thing. In verse 14 we end with “I will be like el Elyon.” This is one of
the names of God. “I will be like the most High” Now, when he said he wanted to be and take
the place of the most High, el Elyon, of the many names, El Shaddai, or Elohim, or Adonai,
why of all the designations of God does he use this word “el Elyon”? It is very simple: This

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is the name used to designate God as the sovereign ruler of the universe. We will take that
into Genesis. We will take it into Deuteronomy. We take it over to Daniel 4 and then move
over about 23 years later to Daniel 5 and see it again. We are going to use el Elyon to
demonstrate 2 things.
First, God is the supreme person of the universe. When we talk about the supreme person,
that simply puts God out of sight. To me, that is one of the most exciting concepts you could
ever grasp about the character of God is the greatness of His sovereignty and the great
sovereign God says, “Are you with me? I’m personal. I feel. I see men doing things and I
laugh at their stupidity.” We will find Him intensely personal, which is an astounding
concept, that this sovereign God of the universe looks down at you and me and reasons,
pleads – why in the world would God plead with these people? Why didn’t He just mash
them? Why didn’t He just will them into oblivion? Because He is personal. God is not cold;
God is warm and personal and intimate. When we see that in connection with His
sovereignty, that is an extremely important concept.
When we talk about God as supreme ruler of the universe, I am not talking about a man
sitting in a rocking chair, tapping his foot, saying, “I want that over here,” and off it goes and
he sits there tapping his foot, impersonally contemplating his universe. I can see how
we could conceive of the sovereignty of God that way. Do you see why, historically, we
could have an explanation? Our country – what is the philosophy but that God created it and
then sat back there and watched it spin and twirl and [He] wasn’t involved that comes out of
18th Century England? It’s called ‘deism’. It is the idea that there is a God. God started up the
universe, put His hands in His pockets, sat down and He’s just watching this whole show
down here go on and He doesn’t have any personal relationship to it whatsoever. The reason
we could pick that up is that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, founding men in our
country and they were Jesus Christ-fearing deists. Well, they would hardly be that, but that
was their idea and that was their religion that they brought with them. There is a lot of
confusion that somehow our country was founded by born-again believers. A deist is not born
again and he does not have a relationship with or a personal concept of God, it’s just the idea
that things are spinning down. They had some good principles, but these men were not
Christians in the biblical sense of the word.

So we could see how we could come out with a little bit of this God out here is just kind
of….and basically isn’t it fair to say that in most people’s mentality, nobody’s home in the
universe. How do people live? Like God is around? They don’t even consider Him; it’s like
He is not even around. We want to be sure that we get around this type of thing that He is the
supreme Person of the universe and that He is a very personal God also.

Second, as such He exercises absolute authority and will. Can you challenge that? Will He
allow you to challenge His authority? Will He allow you to challenge His will? Sure, you’ll
kill yourself doing it, but go ahead – challenge His authority and challenge His will. Stop and
think. We do it all the time, don’t we? His will is expressed in His word. Do we ever fail to
obey it? What are we doing? We are challenging the goodness of the will of God. We will
want to develop that. Why in the world would any will with any sense want to challenge
God? Well, the will is drastically affected by the Fall and we will see that in every sense of
the word.

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Now, we’ve go time enough to leave this passage and go to Eden. We have moved from one
will down to two wills, consequently, one evil (Satan) and the other ultimate good (God).
Now let’s move down, and there has been enough time for Satan to float down from heaven
and he lands in the Garden. Let’s go back to Genesis
I guess we ought to pass on that the traditional view – and it may be true, and I think it is –
found in Proverbs but I can’t take you to it, that when Lucifer fell, he landed in the choir loft.
I think that’s in Proverbs. Or did someone else say that?
Now we are at the scene in Genesis, and remember that one of the first things He does in
chapter 1, verse 28, after He created them, was the assignment of duty, or assignment of
responsibility. God blessed them and said to them, “Here’s what I expect you to do. I want
you to be fruitful. I want you to multiply. I want you to replenish the earth and I want you to
subdue it. I want you to have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air, over
every living thing that moves on the earth.” Notice the first approach of God is that man is a
responsible being and He has a list of things He wants man to do for Him. That re-echoes
Ezekiel 28, doesn’t it? God creates this being and says, “Alright, I want you to
be My prime minister and rule for me.” And he failed, so God now creates man and He says
essentially the same thing: “I’m the sovereign ruler and I want you to act like kings over all
of my creation. So the order is God  Man over creation, ruling it.

Then, of course, you have the prohibition in Genesis 2:17


17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day

that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Now, notice you have a negative and a positive expression of the will of God. Now, stop and
think of the opportunity Adam had. Here is one man and all of the rest of creation. Every day
he could do a beautiful thing. He could make this announcement by his actions to the
universe that he is going to use his will correctly. That he buys God’s will and he affirms it.
So, day one, he walks by the tree that God said not to eat; he looks at the tree and put his
hands in his pockets - where did Adam put his hands?! I hadn’t thought about that!
Nevertheless, he walked by the tree and remembers God told him not to eat of it. Creation
watches, and what does Adam say? “I buy God’s will. I will not do it.” So every day he had
the opportunity to announce as they went and tilled the Garden to say, “God gave us a
responsibility and we do it because we buy God’s will as best.” They clearly revealed will of
God he could express on a daily basis.

Now, question: Did he have to do that? Is that the way God made him? Did God make him so
he was locked in on that and there was no option? Did Adam say, “There’s the Tree. I’d like
to, but I can’t because God won’t let me.”? Does God allow His authority to be challenged?
Sure He will, just like He did in Ezekiel. So, did he have to render this__________ Of course
not, and historically, as a matter of fact, when we come to the Fall in chapter 3 he did not do
that.

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Now remember way, way back in the ethereal past this morning on points about man’s
volition, number 6 was the man of will is vacillating and easily influenced? We are going to
begin to see that.
Here is Adam now and through the revelation of Genesis 1:28 you have the positive
expression of the will of God and through Genesis 2:17 you have a negative expression of
what God desired and, therefore, these are brought to bear on the will of Adam. The will of
Adam simply says he may challenge God. You may say, “Well, that makes God less than
sovereign.” No, it doesn’t. Who made him (Adam) that way? Who made it possible for him
to challenge God? God made it possible. So, we said this morning that God allows His will to
be challenged and turns around and says, “Here, take it, here’s the tool to take it with,”
simply because God wanted the volitional response of Adam in the Garden.
Now, at the same time, of course, Satan is going to make an appeal to the will and that will
appear in Genesis 3. We will find out that Adam did a horrible thing. Look over at Genesis
3:17
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast

eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the

ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

Whose will did Adam listen to? God really lays it onto Him because he listened to his wife!
Now we shouldn’t misunderstand this. Sometimes there is tremendous wisdom in listening to
your wife. I can think back numerous times in the course of being a pastor for some 20 years,
where listening to my wife was the salvation of my whole ministry. The point is, not that he
listened to Eve, but that he listened to Eve’s voice when Eve’s voice was different than
God’s. That’s the point. It’s not that he listened to her, but that her voice was contrary to the
will of God. In other words, she was the spokesman for whom? She was a spokesman for
Satan and, therefore, he listened, in 17a, where you have Adam give a positive response to
the will of Satan, and in the latter part, 17b, we read that [Adam] “hast eaten of the tree, of
which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it.” There was a positive response to
the will of Satan and there was a negative response to the will of God.
At this point, then, man’s will gels. It takes on a fix. We have a sequence, then, of how this
will thing is beginning to develop. There was one will. With the rebellion of Satan we now
have two. The scene moves from heaven down to earth and God expresses His will in His
word to man, whom He creates, giving him the opportunity to willfully and openly say,
“That’s best.” Satan also takes up his activity and he communicates to Eve and she
communicates to Adam, and he responds positively to the will of Satan expressed through
Eve and listens to her voice, and responds negatively to the prohibition of God and man’s
will now takes on a fix, because every baby born from this point on will automatically
gravitate toward human viewpoint. You do not see any children born into the world who just
naturally gravitate toward the word of God, do you? That’s because the will takes on a fix at
this point and instead of God becoming central to the will, man becomes central and becomes

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introverted. Romans 6:17 & 20 tell us “you were once slaves of sin,” and this is looking at
the pre-salvation condition of man.
Now, the important thing at this point is that Adam sinned because Adam chose to sin. In
other words, it was an act of volition. At this point, God faces him with the facts. We will
have a sequence that goes as follows: God’s Law, followed by God’s penalty, followed by
God’s courtroom, followed by God’s sentence. What was God’s Law? God’s Law said,
relative to the Tree, do not eat. That is the expression of the will of God. Did He attach
penalty? Sure. If you do [eat], you will die. That’s the penalty. Now, when He first meets
Adam in the Garden, what is the next issue going to be? Did you do it? Look at Genesis 3:11.

Genesis 3:11
And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I
commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
What does He ask in the second statement? “Have you eaten of the tree?” What kind of a
question is that? That’s is a “did you do it” question. “Have you eaten of the tree in

disobedience to my will? Have you resisted Me? Have you challenge My will?” What
follows that? You have done it; you will die.
What have we got coming down these things? First of all, we start with God’s law or
supreme authority. Then we move down to God’s penalty, which is His justice stated – here’s
what will happen. Then we come down to God’s courtroom – did you do it? That’s called
responsibility. He is holding Adam responsible for his actions. God’s sentence would be
justice applied.
Let’s put in a parenthesis here: There is the basis for order in society. Break down any one of
these four points, and you have chaos among sinful men. Stop and think about this for just a
minute. Let’s look at our own state today (Missouri). Do we have the expression of laws on
the books? They are there, aren’t they? Do those laws have penalties attached to them? Sure
they do. The issue in court is always did you do it?, isn’t it? Back to our illustration: Did you
notice that the emphasis today – and here is where we have lost it – is not “did you do it?”
The emphasis is “why did you do it?” What has been happening to [John] Hinkley? What
have they been doing? They are trying to get evidence to prove that he shot the president.
They just haven’t been able to come up with enough witnesses. They haven’t been able to
come up with enough evidence to prove anything. Is that what they are doing? No! We are
spending all this time and money saying, “Granted, he did it. But we have to scratch our
heads; there must be something external that explains it” Therefore, external forces or factors
explain crime. If you can get enough convincing external factors, you have the explanation
for it.
By the way, has this permeated on the practical level? We are permeated by it. If someone
does a horrendous thing, [we say], “boy, is he sick.” Or something of that sort. “He was
crazy to do that, wasn’t he?” What is really the biblical answer? The biblical answer is that
with Adam, man’s will took a set and a fix. When men commit sin, they do it because the
responded positively to a sin nature. As we read this morning, and I will reread now, the
article in the paper just some time back by men who should know. Dr. Marshall Saper, “We

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don’t have the answer to what causes violence.” Then you pick up the Bible and ask, “We
don’t?” We do! Violence is caused by man’s response to his sin nature.
This would be funny if it weren’t so tragic. Tom Carroll, criminologist, UMKC, says, “In a
small category of people it may be related to biological abnormalities.” No sin nature; don’t
give me that stuff. Biological abnormalities. Don Wyrick, Missouri State Penitentiary,
Jefferson City, “I don’t know what causes violence.” James Garafolo, Director of Research
for the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (that ought to be good), “There is a
resurgence of interest in the psychological and biological factors that might be linked to
violence.” What are they saying? “We don’t know.” I think it is very interesting that, in their
own words, we don’t know. But it is worse than that, isn’t it? Would the real answer be
accepted? Men act under the influence of a sin nature because that’s the way they are born,
derived from Adam. The real answer, of course, is not accepted.

Now, we are ready to begin with these two statements: God is the supreme person of the
universe and establish that next time. Then we will want to move ahead to the fact that He’s a
person. What do we mean when we talk about God being a person? The basis of that is that
the basic thing that makes us people is self-awareness. I can go out an water the lawn, but I
have a sense of self-identity. I water the lawn, but I’m not going to water me. Can you
imagine my son yelling, “Hey, Mom, Dad’s watering himself.” Oh, I lost identity; I can’t
distinguish myself from the lawn. I know that this is me as opposed to the fire plug. And I’m
aware of myself. It is one of the things that makes a person a person and most of our study on
Wednesday will be on the personality of God and His will. Then we will ask at that point,
who rules the universe and give three answers: God rules it, Satan rules it, man also rules it.
God’s rule is going to be the absolute aspect of it. But Satan is also given a limited sphere;
it’s limited in darkness. Man is given a sphere. In all these we are to operate in reference to
the will of God.
Then we will move from that point on to a valid decision-making process. That is important,
because so many Christians want the will of God and get all balled up, get all tense and chew
fingernails down to the nub and pray till God may be tired of hearing it, asking so many
times for information about His will on these things. Does God want us to go around always
asking, “Oh, I wish I knew the will of God.” We can perspire it down, pray it down, sweat it
down, or do something to somehow make God give, and I’m searching and seeking….Is that
really the God of Scripture? Is He saying, “Here’s My will.” And then we go for it and He
steps aside and says, “I’m going to play with you for a while. I want you to work harder.” Is
that a true concept of God? Do we have to be uptight about that sort of thing, or can we have
a relaxed confidence? I think we will find out that the more we relate to the word of God, the
more we will find the capability to be very decisive. I don’t me bull-headed, but the very
decisive ability to handle things in a clear and decisive way.
Then we will go into the importance of choices. We make so many choices without really
putting the issue in front of us. I think you know me well enough to know I’m not drumming
for attendance, but when we have bible class here, what’s the issue? God’s word is going to
be taught. You say, “Well, my hair is in rollers.” What do you think of that choice? Is that an
intelligent choice? Does that make any sense? I think very often we make these choices and
we never really think of the issues that are involved. We never realize that we did choose

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between walking the dog and the Scriptures. That is a serious thing. Does it have any impact
on our mentality?
As we said this morning, I am so committed to the fact that a believer wants volitional
choices that I will not call you on the phone and ask why you weren’t in class, because many
times it may be for a valid reason. If you have a family problem, you probably ought to be
home caring for it and miss this time. At the same time, I expressed something very personal
to you this morning, and I might as well be honest about it. That is, when I see those choices
being made for other things in favor of the word of God, I hurt. I’m not really the emotional
type, but I hurt because if my job is to feed sheep, how am I going to feed them if they won’t
get their mouth where I can shovel a load in. I hurt from the standpoint of what you are doing
to yourself. It is not a matter of numbers; it is a matter of

what you are doing to yourself when you don’t expose yourself consistently to the word of
God. I can say, well, I’ll probably see you in six months and you’ll be a mess and you’ll
wonder why things are a mess. It will probably be because you made choices – little ones –
that didn’t really put the priority where it ought to be. I will want to spend some time
meddling on that topic. I hope this whole thing will be profitable in terms of, not solving the
mystery of the sovereignty of God in relationship to man’s will, but being able to say some
things that are solid from the Word in terms of the exercise of our will. And let’s face it,
aren’t most of us a bunch of weak-willed willy-nillies when it comes to really deciding on
priorities? What a powerful will. We ought to have been in the word and a TV program
comes on. We say, “Well, it’s only going to be on once.” What a fantastic, strong conviction,
and what a deep exercise of the will. I think most of us have wills, and the more I study this,
mine is much more wilted and noodly than I thought it was for making the best choices along
the line.

Father, we are thankful tonight for Your word and Your truth, that you don’t leave us in the
dark about really what’s wrong in the world. It’s simple: we so foolishly stand in opposition
to the will of God. We even neglect it by not looking at it in your revealed truth in the
Scriptures, or we simply rebel against it.
We pray that we will recognize that the only kind of tranquility, the only kind of peace we
will ever have is when we bring our wills into submission to Your will. We pray that through
the study of the expression of it through the word of God we will come to point daily. In
Christ’s Name. Amen.

Chester McCalley Volition 5

A. All scripture references are from the King James Version unless
otherwise noted

We are continuing along the same line of what we studied on Sunday, and we will be
continuing next Sunday, and that is on Human Volition, or the capacity to choose. We will

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try to look at the quality of some of the decisions we make and the place they have in
relationship to the sovereignty of God.

Basically, what we had said up until tonight could be diagrammed something like this:

God desires of man Satan desires of man


 
Willing submission

God and Satan both desire the same thing. God desires willing submission of man, and Satan
desires willing submission of man. However, here is the distinction: God desires willing
submission for the enthronement of His Son, Jesus Christ. Satan desires willing submission
for the enthronement of himself. There is an obvious large distinction.

Satan will have what we might call and intermediate success with that desire. The
intermediate success is called in 2 Thessalonians “the man of sin”. Under the man of sin
Satan will receive a majority of people who will be willing to submit their will to the
enthronement of Satan in the person of the man of sin. God the Father, of course, will have
the final success. The final success will be with the return and reign of His Son. His final
success will terminate the rule of Satan under the man of sin.

Satan’s tool for getting to us, of course, is to appeal to the sin nature. Romans 6 says, putting
the Cross over from God’s standpoint, that God has dealt with the sin nature and you are now
free to act as follows:

Romans 6:12-13
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield
yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments
of righteousness unto God.

From God’s standpoint, the sin nature is dealt with and when we come to the faith, believing
what Romans 6 says about it, of course then we can willingly, volitionally respond to God.
Satan, on the other hand, overlooks the cross, appeals to the sin nature and desires for the
enthronement of himself.

With that, we are ready to start tonight’s lesson, in what we will call “The Will of God”.
When we talk about the will of God, since His will is absolute it is called sovereignty. When
we talk about the will of God and the sovereignty of God, I am not making any distinction
between the two. The basic statement when we talk about the will of God is very important.
It is simply this: God is the Supreme Person of the universe. Those are two important words:
the word ‘supreme’, which we will take time to establish, and the word ‘person’, which we
will take time to establish. When we talk about the will of God

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or the sovereignty of God, that is basically what we are saying. God and only God is the
Supreme Person. That means there are no competitors in terms of power and He is also a
person. We will see what is involved in both of those terms as we move along.

Before we do that, however, let me introduce and define a term or two. When we talk about
the will of God or the sovereignty of God, or we refer to His character, very often we are
talking about the attributes of God, such as the omnipotence of God, the omnipresence of
God, the omniscience of God. I don’t like that word, but I will go with it. I don’t like it
because it implies this kind of statement: Here’s God, now what shall we attribute to Him?
Let’s attribute a little righteousness to Him. That is backwards. We don’t sit back and analyze
God and say let’s attribute this to Him. We go to His word and let Him tells us what He is. So
I don’t really care for the term, but we are talking about the attributes of the essence of God

The essence of God is the sum total of all God’s characteristics that comprise His person.
That is not enough; we need more than that…. The essence of God is the sum total of all
God’s characteristics that comprise His person as revealed in His word. From that definition,
let’s go to Deuteronomy Chapter 29:29. God’s essence: it’s the sum total of all
characteristics, which would mean it is omniscience, righteousness, justice, truth, complete
knowledge, etc. Everything that makes God God and comprises His person and we see that
as it is revealed in His word.

Deuteronomy 29:29
29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed
belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Deuteronomy 29:29 gives us some important information in reference to this, in that it says
there are two categories of truth. There is 1) unrevealed truth. That is expressed in the first
part of the verse it says ‘the secret things’. The word ‘cathar’ which is translated as secret
means hidden or concealed. It is looking at a category of things that are hidden. They are
concealed. They are the opposite of being revealed and we simply call them unrevealed
truths. The secret things or the unrevealed things ‘belong unto the LORD our God’. What is
this going to say to us? The first thing is that since God has not seen fit to reveal everything
to us, and I think we can see obvious reasons – we don’t do anything with the revealed truth,
most of it is wasted in terms of what we search into – but even there, there is unrevealed
truth. We are talking about a very important thing: the Bible does not answer all questions.

Now we need to add to that, that while it does not answer all questions, it is, however,
adequate. In other words, there is everything that we could possibly need. We won’t get to
the presence of the Lord and tell Him, “I had some questions down on the earth that I
couldn’t get answers for from Your word, and that’s the reason for some of my deficiencies.”
That won’t fly! He will be able to say, “My word was totally adequate (2 Timothy 3:16)”. It’s
adequate for works, all of the good works He requires of it. So it’s adequate, but it doesn’t
answer all the questions that we might have. Since it doesn’t

answer all questions, this does not reflect on (the word), but it does reflect on our questions.

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Here is something that may or may not be useful to you. We went to Ezekiel 28 and said
here, according to the Bible, is the origin of sin. But any child could come out of that passage
and say God said everything was fine until iniquity was found in you, Lucifer. What would a
3-year old or a third grader possibly ask? How did it get there? Let’s take that question.

The origin of sin is a philosophical question. The origin of sin is not a biblical question. For
my own help, I have tried to take, over the years, and make a distinction between what is a
philosophical question? For me, a philosophical question does two things: 1) what makes it
that? It is a question that may be completely legitimate but you can’t answer it by biblical
exegesis, by study of the Scripture. Study of the Scripture does not answer it, or it is a
question Scripture does not address. I think it goes without saying that, God, in giving His
revelation, is not obligated to address every question that our minds might come up with. It is
not His obligation and it is not the obligation of Scripture. There are plenty of good,
philosophical questions, and there is nothing wrong with them, but you must remember,
exegesis does not address them. 2) As a result of that, it is also a question with no absolute
answer. If you have had even one course in philosophy in college, you can identify with that.
You go through what the Greeks thought was the means of knowledge. You have an answer,
and someone else has a different answer. You find that basically the history of philosophy on
these things is simply the history of different opinions on philosophical questions.
Consequently, when you say you are really bothered about the origin of evil, just keep in
mind that you are asking a question that exegesis of the Bible does not address, therefore you
will not come up with an absolute answer. That’s not saying you are dabbling in something
you shouldn’t or that you are asking a bad question, it is just saying you are not going to get
an answer.

A theological question, however, is something different. I would define it as: A question that
exegesis can answer. In contrast to the philosophical question, it is a question for which an
absolute answer is possible. How useful is this information? I think it is very useful. The next
time you begin to ask questions, ask yourself which kind of question you are asking. Are you
asking one that, as far as you can tell, you don’t have any passage that you can exegete and
say there is the answer? This question on the origin of evil is one of those questions. Think
about it all you want, make all the theories you want to, but you are not going to find an
answer by exegesis of the Scripture, simply because it doesn’t address that type of thing. Ask,
for example, what is God’s means of salvation? Exegesis of Scripture will give you an
absolute answer. It’s very easy, and I’m giving you this information because some people’s
minds are just bent toward asking questions like, ‘did Adam have a navel?’ That intrigues
some kinds of minds. If your mind has the bent to asking why all the way back to ultimate
causes, use this in relationship to your study of the word. You are not asking wrong
questions, you are probably just asking the ones for which you will not get an answer from
Scripture. People that are intrigued by
that sort of thing can very often come up with some very fanciful, exaggerated things, which
is fine, just don’t say they came out of the Bible.

So, we have this category of unrevealed truth, from Deuteronomy 29:29, and notice we have
a second thing. That is those things that are revealed; a second category of revealed truth. It is
an honest, inspired statement that God has circumvented in such a way that there is truth that

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He has chosen to disclose and, on the other hand, there is also truth that He has chosen not to
disclose. Maybe, in fact, in all likelihood, unrevealed truth is something we just couldn’t
handle anyway. Maybe God has chosen not reveal a particular area because we don’t have
the computer to handle it anyway, so He won’t bother with the theory because He didn’t
create us to be able to handle this kind of information.

So we have unrevealed truth and revealed truth. Notice under the revealed truth, a very
important thing for the concept of the will. Does revealed truth carry obligation with it?
Notice how the verse ends:

“those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever – period”

No, it’s not quite that cold, is it? Revealed truth has an intent:

“that we may do all the words of this law.”

Notice you have two words that we could really dash together: revelation – responsibility.
Notice in talking about revealed truth he is very clear that revelation carries with it
responsibility. Responsibility is the area we are talking about in the study of the will. We will
not get there tonight, but we want to look at the area of making a decision. There are two
things in decision-making that we need to be alert to: 1) How many decisions we make. How
many of them to we make consciously? Do you make a conscious decision to turn on your
turn signal? After you pull out, you may ask if you did. You decided whether or not to, but it
was not in your consciousness. 2) Then, after talking about trying to surface and become
aware of decisions we make, we need to look at the quality of decisions we make. How good
were they? To go back to our lesson on Sunday, how subtly it can get into our mentality that
we are making decisions so quick and so fast that we never talk about the quality of them,
like the man who said to Ron, “I’ve got a bird dog. At the same time I need to train my bird
dog is Bible class. And I won’t be there for a few weeks.” If you think for a few minutes and
weigh Bible class versus bird dog, which is more important the Bible or the bird dog? Do you
think that guy sat down and analyzed it that way? Do you think he really knew what he was
saying? I don’t think so.

Occasionally I will get that here, and I think the person should have been embarrassed to say
that. Occasionally someone will say, “Well, we really like the teaching, but our young people
are getting to be 13 and we found someplace that doesn’t have much teaching, but they have
a good young people’s program.” I want to ask them to run that by me one more time. You
saw the options: Bible or social program. They chose social program. Really? Is that what
you are saying? I think if the options were really seen you would be embarrassed and come
up with another option. But this is what we want to begin to define

is what the real issue is in decision-making. I think we will find that Satan has probably taken
some of these major decisions and buried them in our sub-consciousness and very often we
are not even aware that we are making a priority matter out of something that is not to be
compared with the thing we are deciding against.

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Now, we are looking at the concept that revealed truth carries responsibility with it. We need
to establish what we already started out saying, that God is the supreme ruler of the universe.
Let’s establish that two ways:
1) Three expressions: Who runs things? Who’s in charge in this universe? We will go to
three passages. The first is 1 Chronicles 29:11 & 12. We are looking at the question: Is God
the supreme person of the universe? Look for the concept that God is the supreme person in
the universe.

1 Chronicles 29:11-12
11 Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the
majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD,
and thou art exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou
reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great,
and to give strength unto all.

Do you see anything that would underscore that God is the supreme person? It is the last
three words of verse 11: head above all. What is that saying? It is saying that God is the
supreme person in the universe.

Psalm 82:6
6 I have said, Ye are gods (elohims); and all of you are children of the most High.

This is a very cursory handling of this, but I think enough to establish that this is the concept.
What is “most high” saying? “Most high” is saying this is the supreme person of the
universe.

Hebrews 6:13
13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware
by himself,

This says it in a little bit different way, but I think you will catch the wording. What are the
two words that give us the concept? He could sware by no greater.

Doesn’t each one of those expressions express it? Head above all: supreme person. Most
high: supreme person. No greater: supreme person.

There is another way that you can come at this sovereignty idea of God and I would just call
it logical extension. By that I mean, if there are 10 ice cubes total, and over here are 2, over
here are 3, over here are 2 more, and over here are 3 more, 2+3+2+3=10, so that by

logical extension the 3 and the 2 and the 3 and the 2 equal the whole. Some people do not
treat sovereigntism as an attribute of God at all. I don’t think it’s a bad idea. Here is

what they say: If He is omnipotent and He has all the power, if He is omniscient and has all
the knowledge, omniscience + omnipotence + all of the truth + all of the love, He is
obviously the supreme person, or the sovereign person of the universe. Some will take

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sovereignty not so much as an attribute, but to be the result of everything else totaled
together.

Now, when we talk about Him as being supreme, why do we call God a supreme person?
This is very, very important. Or, if we call Him a person, what are the marks of personality?
What we are talking about now is what is different between you and the chair you are in. The
first obvious thing that makes up personality is that we are self aware, or we have ‘self’
consciousness. I will not go home tonight and come to the front door and scratch on it to get
in, come in on all fours and bark. The reason is, I have a ‘self’ consciousness, I know that I
am not a dog. I am aware of myself as being different. Or, if I go out and water the yard, my
son won’t look out and say, “Look at Dad, he just lost ‘self’ consciousness again; he’s
watering himself with the hose.” I know that this is me and I don’t confuse my identity with
fire hydrants or chairs. I am a person; I have ‘self’ consciousness and awareness. Rocks,
automobiles, ice skates are not personalities because they do not have ‘self’ awareness. We,
as persons, do.

The second characteristic is that we have rational faculties, thinking capacity. We have
emotional faculties, our whole sensory and feeling are. And we have volitional faculties. You
have options, don’t you? What part of you makes it possible for you to have five options and
choose one of them? We do have that capacity; it’s volition or the capacity to choose.

All these things make up a person. And, in Scripture, God is very, very, very, very personal.
Vern personal. We could give dozens of examples. Let me give a couple in Genesis and one
in Psalms.

If we don’t think God is personal, then we are not understanding the God of Scripture. He is
very personal. In verse one God has given Abraham a promise and Abraham is worried. The
worry is that God has promised Abraham children, and he doesn’t have any. Notice this
personal encounter:

Genesis 15:1
15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not,
Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

Did Abraham fall down and proclaim, “O, Thou great Almighty, omnipotent, omniscient, full
of veracity, eternal Being”? No. Abraham says:

Genesis 15:2
2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward
of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?

In other words, he says, “Lord, are You aware, Jehovah, that I don’t have any children? Did
You know about that?” Is that treating God as far off, or is that personal? Abraham is right
down on the level telling God he doesn’t have any children, he doesn’t have any prospects of
children, and the heir he has, Eliezer, is not going to work out. Then he asks God if He knows
about that. Some people have a view of God that would tell Abraham not to do that. They

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would tell him to rest in the omniscience of God. God knows all those things. Is that the way
Abraham responds? Occasionally you will meet some Christians who respond that way. They
will get a concept of the omniscience of God that is as if you are violating His character if
you remind the Lord of something. Is (reminding the Lord) a non-biblical way to approach
God? Not on the part of Abraham, and Abraham respected God as the sovereign God of the
universe, and yet at the same time, approached Him in an intensely personal way. Remember,
when you come down to verse 3, thunderclaps, lightning strikes and God slays Abraham and
God says, “That will teach you not to doubt My omniscience!” It doesn’t say that at all, does
it? How does God respond? He responds by saying:

Genesis 15:4
4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but
he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

Is that personal, or is that far away? Is this the sovereign God of the universe? Yes, it is. What
kind of God is He? He’s personal. Don’t let a concept of the absolute sovereignty of God
destroy a personal God.

In chapter 18 of Genesis, God has announced that He is going to destroy Sodom and
Gomorrah. Now, you wouldn’t question God, would you? Well, Abraham did. Verse 23 says:

23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
24 Peradventure there be fifty (or 40 or 30) righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy
and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?

Look at the audacity of this guy! He is arguing with God. He is bargaining. Why? God is not
impersonal. God is an intensely personal kind of God. We saw it in Psalm 6, didn’t we?
David said in Psalm 6:5

5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?

David thinks he is going to die and he says, “Lord, in the grave I won’t be able to praise
you.” Isn’t this a little bit brassy? No. These men conceived of the God who is the sovereign
creator and ruler of the universe as intensely personal. So He is the supreme person of the
universe that we are dealing with in every sense of the word.

Let me give you one other indication of His being the supreme being of the universe, and we
will do that from the name that expresses it: “El Elyon”. Turn to Genesis 14: 18-21.
Abraham is meeting Melchizedek.

18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of
the most high God.

What is that saying? He was the priest for the supreme person in the universe and He was the
possessor, the owner of heaven and earth. The word “qanah” means, “to acquire ownership”.

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He is the owner of heaven and earth. That says something for sovereignty, doesn’t it? God is
the owner of heaven and earth and He is most high, or the supreme person of the universe.

19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of
heaven and earth: 20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies
into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. 21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram,
Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.

Notice the practical setting of El Elyon, the practical setting of the God who owns
everything. How did that show up in Abraham’s life? This man says ‘give me the persons
and take the goods to yourself. Then in verse 22:

22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most
high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, 23 That I will not take from a thread even to a
shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have
made Abram rich

What is he saying? He is saying, “My God is up here, the supreme ruler of the universe. I
don’t need anything from you. I don’t need a shoelace from you.” Is that a personal context,
or an abstract context? Is that a personal, practical relationship to God, or is that something
very far off and removed. Deuteronomy 32:8 uses the same term.

Going through this study of volition, we do not make an attempt to do what is so often done,
which is: Give me 50 minutes and I’ll give you 5 things on the will of man and we’ll have it
all wrapped up. It doesn’t come that easily; it doesn’t come that way. We must do a thorough
study of what God’s word says in respect to it to get a full picture. All of this, I assure you,
will tie together in a practical end of this study, which is the use of the will in the proper way.

8 When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of
Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.
An interesting thing in this verse is that He separated the sons of Adam back in the book of
Genesis, and where was Israel then? They did not exist. So God treats Israel as though she
was there before she existed. He had her in mind before then. Notice again that the
distribution of the people on the earth is in the hands of the one supreme God. Also look at
Daniel 4:17, 4:24, 5:18. All will use that term and it will be Daniel saying to
Nebuchadnezzar that there is one supreme being and it will Yahweh.

We need to look at this area: Who rules the universe? To answer that question, we need to
recognize that there are really 3 answers. 1) In the universe we have the rule of God, 2) the
rule of Satan, and 3) the rule of man. All are important.

We won’t take much time with this first one, but the rule of God is answered in Psalm
103:19. It is another one of those absolute concepts.

Psalm 103:19
19 The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.

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Notice the absolute statement ‘and his kingdom ruleth over all’. We have the absolute rule of
God. You might ask, if that is the case, how are we going to get the prince of the power of the
air? That’s Satan. And how are we going to get the rule of man in there? How can there be
three answers when this verse says He rules over all? Remember, and it’s very important:
God’s rule is absolute.

The second one: God allows this to be challenged. Even in His kingdom on this earth, He
will allow His rule to be challenged. Look at Psalm 2 and we should be able to get a good
concept of volition out of this. We are over here in the Kingdom of Christ, and notice in verse
3, man is saying of Christ, the anointed, and God the Father:

Psalm 2:3
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

Notice God let’s them say that. What we are saying is that God does not limit volition. You
can will anything you want to and God will not limit your volition. Here it is in front of us.
Here is His rule, it’s absolute, isn’t it? Is He going to say, ‘I will not allow it to be
challenged’? Is He going to say ‘You can’t say what you say in verse 3’? No. They say it, but
notice what He does in verse 6:

Psalm 2:6
6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

In face of the challenge, what has He done? He does not limit volition. God does limit the
success of volition. This is an important distinction. You can will anything you want to, and
man does. Does man will against God’s will? Yes, man does reason that and think that. But
God does not limit volition; God does limit the success of that volition and you see that in
verse 6. Why is it down in verses 8 and 9 that we read:

Psalm 2:8-9
8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of
the earth for thy possession.

9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's
vessel.

Why does God do that? Why does He have to do that? The answer is because He is
challenged. Does He have to be challenged? No. Did He choose to allow that? Yes, He did.
Not only did He choose to do it, but what did He put in man’s hand to do it with? He said,
‘I’ll let you challenge Me and I’ll give you the tools by which you can do it, namely volition.
I will not limit it; I will limit the success of your volition’.

A good question right here, and we should list it in our answers is: Why does God let this
happen? Why does He allow Himself to be challenged? Answer that on any level you want
to. Without making public confession, have we ever challenged God? Why does God put up

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with that? I think the answer to that is obvious: He has to; He doesn’t have any choice. Of
course that’s not true! If we say He has to, the universe is out of control and He is not
sovereign God. So obviously, He has done so, and I think we can give 2 answers to it: the
reason He allows Himself to be challenged with volition is because God desires a volitional
response from His creatures. Do you know what that is saying? God is saying, ‘I want you to
make choices! And I want you to make the right choices. And I will not stop your will’.
Occasionally someone will say, and I disagree with it, that God does not coerce your will. I
think you will find that has a little will, but if God doesn’t coerce your [will], He sure does
pound on mine sometimes! And I’m sure He’s nudging my will. But God wants a volitional
response from His creatures. Why did He forbid eating from the tree? Because He did not
want Adam hanging down on a string [like a puppet]. He wanted Adam not on a string who
says, ‘Lord, I affirm Your will is best.” Is that impersonal and cold? No, that is the kind of
God we have in Scripture and He wants his creatures to make good decisions.

Answer number 2: He allows challenge because He desires an historical demonstration that


there is no good apart from His will. So that, even God Himself will say, ‘I am not saying My
will is good simply by decree.’ That would be enough; God could simply say, My will is best,
believe it or perish’. God doesn’t want that. He says, ‘I want to demonstrate in time, in
history, starting at the Garden right through to My return that there is one great principle
running through the universe: My will is absolute good and if you want demonstration of it,
cut out the lights, sit back in your chair and turn on the history book in the movie machine.
Let’s take a look at all the good that came after the Fall’. He could have started right with
Adam. He could have said, ‘Adam, We’ve got a movie of your two boys taking a walk and
something happened to one of them and We want you to sit down. You chose to have a
volition contrary to what I want you to have and the will of man is introduced into the
universe. Now I want to show you want can exist and what can happen when My will is not
absolute.’ Adam could sit back and watch Cain slay Abel and

have his first historical demonstration that something is wrong. What is wrong? There is no
good apart from the will of God. You think Adam should have seen that vividly, but how
about us? Is God’s will our volitional pursuit all of the time? If it isn’t, what are we saying?
We are saying that there is something over here that is better and more important than that.
This is the thing that we want to become alert to in the area of the concept of the volition of
man.

Let’s move to the fact that because God allows His will to be challenged we have the rule of
Satan. The first passage we will look at is John 12:31. We are on the eve of the Cross:

John 12:31
31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

What about the word ‘now’? It is now relative to the Cross. He is simply saying, ‘My cross
work is going to do something relative to somebody.’

Now is the judgment of this cosmos. World is cosmos. This is a word we ought to have in our
vocabulary. In the book of John especially, cosmos, when it is not the physical world, is the

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organization of life untouched by God’s revelation. It is the whole organization of life.
Everything that has not been changed by the word of God. That means, of course, if we don’t
have contact with the word of God, we are simply cosmic people. We are going to find out
that the cosmos is the sphere that God has said He would allow Satan to rule in.

‘Now shall the prince (ho archon – the ruling one)’. Do you see why we have to introduce,
besides the rule of God, the rule of Satan? God has a will and Satan has a will, too. God is a
ruler. Satan is a ruler. Satan appeals to our will. God appeals to our will. God desires
submission of our will to Him so His Son can be enthroned in our lives, and ultimately
forever. And Satan desires enthronement of himself and he is over this cosmos and he also
appeals to our will. So it would be a good idea to understand what your will is up against.

Do you remember the principle we gave that will is a big responder? It is going to respond in
this direction, or in that direction. Therefore, if we are going to have it operate correctly, we
need to know what we are dealing with. We are looking right now at the fact that we are
dealing with a very real rule of Satan and he wants us to respond to his program. If Satan
wants us to respond to his cosmos, and the cosmos is that organization of life untouched by
God’s word, what is going to try to do to you? His strategy is simple: all he has to do is
isolate us from the word. That’s not hard. God knows, football is more fun than bible study!

There is a battle here, isn’t there? We have to remember that Satan is going to be the prince
over this system of darkness, which doesn’t give us a whole lot of trouble many times,
because we don’t very often challenge the powers of darkness, do we? Making a dress is a
nice thing, but is that challenge Satan’s cosmos? I’m not knocking making a dress; it’s a nice
thing, but it doesn’t challenge Satan, does it? Try asserting God’s truth in
the marketplace and see if that is as tranquil as making a dress. You suddenly find out that
you have hit something here and it’s because you have challenge a kingdom that is out there.
And that, by the way, is what we are supposed to be here to do: challenge Satan’s kingdom
and assert God’s kingdom.

31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

‘Be cast out’ is future passive, which is saying that this is an assurance that it is going to
happen based on the work Christ will do on the cross. So, we have the ruling one in this age.

Two notes about Satan’s rule: 1) Satan has real authority. We shouldn’t kid ourselves on that.
Where do I get that? Just this: who was it that called him the ruling one? That was Jesus
Christ facing reality. He has real authority, don’t kid yourself, but what does verse 31 say?
Satan’s authority is doomed. It is real, but doomed. That ought to give us a clue. You don’t
want to be on that team. That is not the place to play ball.

The second passage is Ephesians 2:2. We have the same expression from Paul. Paul is
recognizing that there is a rule out here that is very real in this cosmos.

Ephesians 2:2

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2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the
prince (archon) of the power (exousia – usually delegated power) of the air, the spirit that
now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Why would you say that Satan’s power is delegated? It is because God made him His prime
minister. I take it that Satan still has some of that delegated authority or power, only he
exercises it, instead of for God, against God. It is the delegated power of the air, the spirit
that now works in the in the children of disobedience. Apparently that derived power was
derived from his creation, which God did not take from him. Except that it takes a different
direction, it is used against God instead of for God now.
Satan has real authority, does he not? Paul asserts that he has real authority. In
Ephesians Chapter 6:12 there is a list of authority words:

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

The word principalities is very close to the word ‘archon’, ruling ones. Powers is ‘exousia’,
delegated authorities. Darkness of this world – ‘kosmokratoras’ – the cosmic rulers. Again, it
is the rulers of the darkness of this world.

The first principle was that Satan has real authority, but it is doomed. What does this passage
say? Satan has real authority but it is limited. What is it limited to? It is limited to the sphere
of darkness. So Satan has a real authority, it’s doomed and it is limited.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 is another passage that affirms his relationship to this world.

3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:


4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the
light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Verse 4 says, ‘in whom’ - and what is his relationship to this world? Satan is the god of this
world; that’s not the supreme being of the universe, it is a limited sphere.

Notice, we have Satan with real power, but notice we also have Satan with limited power. I
think it is important to add something here, because you get a lot of wild stuff on this today.
Satan does not have power to possess men demonically at his will. Demon-possession is the
result of conscious choices and the wrong use of volition. That is a whole we could go into,
but as a parenthesis, don’t think, when someone talks about demon possession as though this
poor person is a victim and Satan came upon them and dominated his will and Satan
possesses him. If someone is possessed, and when there is demon possession, it is because of
real actual conscious choices that led a person down that particular line to that relationship
with Satan. But we can emphatically say that Satan does not have power to possess people
simply at will.

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Finally we have the rule of man. 1) It is dominion over the earth and life forms. This is from
Genesis 1:28. You might say that was before the Fall, but look at the repeat of it after the
Flood in Genesis 9:1-7. And in Psalm 8:

Psalm 8:3-9
3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou
hast ordained;
4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and
honour.
6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things
under his feet:
7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the
seas.
9 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

What is that saying? There is a rule for man!

Second, not only is there dominion over the earth, but God also designated authority
structures. Basically, they are a) family – the authority of a husband and the authority of
parents; b) social – the authority of government; c) church – the authority of the church
(Hebrews 13).

Let me say something in closing on this, and it is hard sometimes to get this across. Every
one of these authorities, and we are all in some kind of relationship with authority, has
parameters. That means there are even no-nos for leaders! All authority has parameters.
Putting it another way, ask this: human authority is never total authority is it? Make an
important point here: whenever a designated authority steps out of his parameters, defy him.
I would hope that if you are in a home situation as children and your parents say ‘go
fornicate’, I hope you would defy that. Is that really defying authority? Did they really have
the authority to tell you to do that? Of course not, so they have stepped out of their [realm of
authority]. To recognize authority is to recognize God, so I am not advocating rebellion, I am
just saying there is a box (of authority) and when the authority steps out of the box, the
authority is forsaken. I said defy them, but let’s put it this way: the obligation to respond
ceases. Obviously, when the authority asks for or commands something that is contrary [to
God], would you defy your government? If they said, ‘don’t read your Bible’ I would say
tough! I will continue and accept the penalty. In my own opinion, if you go home and your
husband slaps you silly, you may leave. Not necessarily in a permanent way, but authority
has parameters and I think in a day when we fail to recognize that there is authority,
sometimes in an attempt to be biblical we swing all the other way and forget that there are
parameters to it.

We will pick up next time on the implications of the sovereignty of God. There are four
implications: We start out with a sovereign God. If He is a sovereign God and controlling His
universe and can be challenged, is the sovereign God a lump? No. If He is a sovereign God

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He has a right to a sovereign plan. If you make a plan, what is really fundamental to any plan
you make? You must make choices. If God is sovereign, He has a sovereign plan, and
therefore He can make choices. Making a plan is inseparable from making choices.

This is where the recording ended.

Chester McCalley Volition 6

XV.
A. All scriptures are from the King James Version unless otherwise
noted

Today we will be continuing with the subject that we have been with since last week, and we
will be continuing with today and even into Wednesday and the probably the next week, and
that is the area of human volition. We ended last time with asking and answering the
question: who rules the universe?

To that question we have three answers. 1) God rules the universe. 2) Satan rules. 3) Man
rules. We stopped last time with outlining the three rules. I have given them in terms of
circles. The circle for Satan is a little bit bigger than man’s because the rule of Satan in the
universe is bigger than the rule of man in terms of scope. I didn’t draw any circle for God,
because God’s rule is unlimited.

Satan rules in
the Universe Man rules
over the
Earth

God is the sovereign ruler, however, keeping in mind that God allows His rule to be
challenged. In other words, He allows man or Satan to say, “I object to Your rule” so that we
have the powers of darkness by Satan. Remember we said two things about that coming out
of John 12:31 Christ says, “Because of My cross-work, the rule of Satan is doomed”.
Therefore we can look at the area of the rule of Satan and recognize that it is a doomed
kingdom. We must also recognize that it is a limited rule. In Ephesians it talks about the
kosmokrator – kosmos meaning world, or world system and Satan is the ruler over that world
system. Satan has a limited rule; he is the prince of the power of the air, or he is the ruler over

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the darkness. That is his kingdom. Man, we read from the book of Psalms and also from the
book of Genesis is to rule over the earth and its inhabitants other than man.

Now the important point is that both Satan and man can will outside of their sphere. The will
of Satan is extended to the point that he wants to be God. We can say the same thing for man:
he wants to be God.

We then put down the proposition that God does not limit will. God does limit the power of
our will, or the effectiveness of our will. Over here, Satan is free to challenge God, to resist
God, to say ‘I want Your place, I want to replace You’, and God does nothing about that. Or,
man can defy God. He can will to be God. He can do anything he wishes in terms of his will,
however, God has limited the power of his will that what he wants God puts
the caps on, simply because over here God has no circle; God is the supreme ruler of the
universe.

Out of that, since we have the Sovereign God, we are ready to ask: What are the implications
of a sovereign God? (or what are the implications coming out of the statement that there is a
single, supreme person in the universe? There is one single person ruling the universe, what
comes out of that?) Sometime in the next few lessons, we are going to move into an area of
great importance, and that is: how does my will relate to the will of God. I suppose one of the
most popular subjects you could announce to a group of believers is “how to know the will of
God”. Our minds immediately think ‘I need that, because I have to choose a profession. I
have to choose a wife”. I have spent some good time on this and gone through the popular
books on how to know the will of God and have come to a conclusion that all of those books
should be burned. For the simple reason that most of the choices in life – big choices – God
leaves up to you.

What I am saying is that God will not tell you who you are going to marry. God will not tell
you what house to buy. God will not tell you what car to buy. You may think that we are
getting unholy, but basically those things are very much like God says, “Over here is where I
want you to feed; here is your pasture. Don’t go beyond that point down there (the negative
commands of God). And by all means you stay in this pasture.” And then the sheep raises his
hand and says, ‘well I understand that I shouldn’t go beyond that and I’m supposed to be in
that pasture. Which tuft of grass do you want me to graze on?’ God replies, “It’s your option.
You pick. You choose within the parameters of My word’. That takes a great deal of strain
and stress off of us. For many people isn’t the will of God sort of a sweaty palms, wring your
hands sort of thing? You know, you pray and pray and pray and pray and hope that somehow
God will tell you or reveal to you something and then we say we bought a car because it was
a super price on it and the phone rang with the person selling it just after I was praying about
it, and that is God leading me. That, to me, is just so much pious nonsense. There is no need
to justify why you bought your house on the basis of ‘I prayed and God lead me to’. As a
matter of fact, I think it is a serious spiritual defect; I think it is a cop-out. It is a cop-out in
that you are saying, ‘don’t make me responsible for my decisions. Rather than making me
responsible, I prayed about it so if it all blows up later, it’s God’s fault because He led me’.

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What we want to do now is to begin to develop some of the implications of a sovereign God.
There are four of them. The first one will be a repetition of the heading:

1) God is the supreme person in the universe. If that is the case, as it is, what flows out
of this? There are three things the flow out of it logically, which are the next 3 points.
By the way, when we say that He is the supreme person of the universe, we are saying
two things: a) He is in absolute control. We shouldn’t lose thought of that for a
moment; He is in absolute control. But, you ask, if you have absolute control, how
can you have Satan’s rule? That brings us to the second proposition:

2) He is in absolute control and He allows Himself to be challenged. Keep in mind what


we have just said: He allows Himself to be challenged, but not successfully. There
will be challenges. Satan is a challenger, all the angels that followed him in his fall
(Ezekiel 28, Isaiah 14) are part of the challenge, and we are part of the challenge. It
will never be successful, nonetheless it can occur. Now coming out of that logically:
3) He has a right to plan. If He is the supreme person of the universe, then logically He
has a certain right. That is a simple proposition. If you bake a cake, you pay for the
ingredients, you make an effort to bake it, you pay the electricity to start the stove and
so forth, that is your cake and you have a right to make plans for your cake. You have
a right to say you are going to give it to a friend. You have a right to eat the cake
yourself. You even have the right to take the cake and stick it in your ears if you want
to. It is your cake, your ears, and therefore since you are the supreme sovereign over
that cake, you can therefore do in your plan what you want to do with that cake. This
is simply saying that God has a planned direction for His universe.

Incidentally, learning what that plan is is the point of Bible study. Doesn’t it seem
kind of smart, if we have a supreme ruler of the universe, and we are part of His
creatures, and He has a plan for that universe and there is also an opposing plan that
part of wisdom might be to learn what God’s plan is so that we can line up with it and
save all the stress and strain of a system that is doomed in opposition to God’s will.
He has a right to plan, and He has done so in His universe.

Now the moment you begin to make plans, you must consider the essence of
planning. The essence of planning is choice, isn’t it? Suppose you get up on Saturday
morning and it is a beautiful day. You say, ‘we are going to take a drive in the
country’. You just eliminated going downtown, didn’t you? When you arrive at a little
town and you are going to eat lunch, you get a menu. What’s the first thing you are
going to do? The purpose of the menu is to ask you to make a plan so the cook can
know about it. The plan involves making choices. Therefore, we have a right to a
plan, and therefore we have a right to a plan and coming out of that we have God’s
sovereign choices.

Making a plan is inseparable from choosing. You cannot make any kind of plan
without eliminating certain things and including certain others. Therefore, one of the
important things is not only to know what God has planned, but what has God

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chosen. What has He chosen to say ‘no’ to? What has He chosen to say ‘yes’ to? That
is part of the sequence that we are going through today.

4) Sovereign revelation, or expression of the plan. The fourth point is not an absolute
necessity, but we ought to be very glad for it. It is that in God’s planning and in God’s
choosing, has He told us anything about it?

Therefore, in summary we have: 1) Supreme person, 2) A plan, 3) A plan involving choices,


and 4) A sovereign revelation of what those choices have been.

Most of us are somewhat exposed to this. If you would say that Israel is God’s chosen
people, where did you hear that? You related to God’s revelation and in God’s revelation it
says, ‘I made the choice of Israel because I have a plan. I have the right to plan because I am
the supreme person of the universe. I am the sovereign, creator God’. This sequence is
extremely important to us.

Let’s look at the third point for some special treatment. That is, a plan involving choices.
Where do we fit into this situation? Obviously, we are not the one supreme person; that puts
us down below that. Do we consult with God on the plan? Are we on the planning committee
for the universe? No, we didn’t get called in on that. Look at Isaiah 40:14

14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of

judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?

We didn’t get in on that, did we? We are not at the same level at God. We are strictly at an
observation level.

How about the choices that God made? Did God ever nudge us and ask if we thought it
should be the Egyptians or the Jewish people? Did He ask which He should choose? We are
not in that level. We are strictly observers. Our duty is observation. We have nothing to do,
just observe.

What is true about the plan of God? Will He allow it to be challenged? Does He want
mechanical obedience? Or does He want volitional obedience? Since we know He wants
volitional obedience, when His plan is revealed, that is where we have the opportunity of
doing more than observing; we have the opportunity to cooperate. Or we can rebel. We
cannot rebel successfully, but rebel we can, and rebel we do! Not successfully, but because of
volition, we have the chance to rebel against His will. We can rebel against it, we can hate it,
we can dislike it, we can shake our fists at God. What does God do when we rebel against
His will? Will horrible things happen? Will your car not start? No. God will allow Himself to
be challenged, but with no success. God just says, ‘Okay, I’ll give you a breather. You rebel if
you will, but someday I’ll end your rebellion in a bloodbath. But, nonetheless, you’ve got 5
years; kick up your heels and rebel. At the end of 5 years, however, it will be over, because I
am the supreme ruler of the universe’.

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On the other hand, we can cooperate and the whole essence of the Christian life is observing
what God’s plan is and learning to cooperate with it, simply because of a feature we will look
at today. That is: God’s plan is absolute good for us. If you are backing off and asking if He is
just a big bully up there, the answer is no. Therefore, when we cooperate with it we
experience that the choices and planning of God are absolutely the best for us. We find as His
creatures that these plans and choices of God are not selfish
ones; they are made in love toward His creatures. He is simply saying He made man, He
knows what he is like, and therefore, in His plan he is to do this for his own good. One of the
most difficult things to recognize in practice is that the plans and choices of God are absolute
good for me. There is nothing better, and that is what we mean by cooperation on this level.

Let’s go back to the first point: We have talked about God being the supreme person of the
universe. As the supreme person He has a plan. That plan has to it 2 aspects. The first is the
big aspect: First, God has a plan that is total. It encompasses history; it encompasses all of
time. God has a plan that extends from Adam clear down to the reign of His own Son. But
there is more than just sitting back and saying, ‘All right, I can see that God chose Israel and
He is going to put Israel over things; He is going to do this, He is going to do that. There is
more to it than the total plan, we can also say there is a personal aspect to it. That is the
second point. The total has to do with God’s universe and the personal has to do with “me”.

We can say that God has a plan for history. We can also say, as we face the rest of our years
that God has a plan for me. In other words, God really has a place and a direction that He
wants us to take for our lives. Paul certainly reflects that when He says in

2 Timothy 4:7
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

In those verses there is a term used for a planet going in its orbit. Paul is saying, ‘I orbited. I
followed the trajectory that God had for me individually and personally’. We have two
aspects to it. When we talk about God’s plan, we need to put some parameters on it, in other
words, is God’s plan just arbitrary? Is God in making a plan sitting back and saying, ‘well,
let’s see…. what shall We do today? Oh, I think maybe We’ll go in this…no, let’s not, let’s
go over here’. No. Then what are the aspects of God’s plan?

1) His plan is always in perfect harmony with His character. We are looking at the
concept that God does have a plan, and now something about it. One of the first things
about it is that it is in harmony with His character says this: Because of Who He is there
are some things that He cannot plan. There are some things that He cannot do. That is not
belittling God but saying something very great about God. That is that He can plan and
He is free to do so because He is sovereign and the supreme person, but at the same time,
certain things are part of His character and because of that there are certain things that He
cannot do.

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We are granting that God has a plan and we now want to qualify what that plan will be like.

The first thing we are saying is that it cannot violate His character. We will look at several

passages that will show us this point.

For example, 2 Timothy 2: 13


13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

Why can’t God include in His plan being undependable? Why can’t He do that/ Can He make

a plan that would say something like this: ‘I will tell my creatures that I will meet them every

Tuesday evening at 8:00 PM, however, if I don’t feel like showing up at 8:00 PM, I won’t’.

Could God make a plan like that? The answer is no, God can’t make a plan like that because

of 2 Timothy 2:13. If He says He will be there at 8:00 PM, He will be. Why? Here’s the

reason, and it’s a fundamental characteristic of God: He cannot deny Himself. What is that

saying? God cannot do what is not in harmony with His character, so if God says He will be

there at 8:00 PM, He doesn’t have the option to say, ‘cancelled’. That is part of His plan

because He always plans in perfect harmony with His character.

By the way, in learning something about the plan of God, does 2 Timothy 2 say something

good about God’s plan? He is faithful and therefore He can never plan contrary to His

dependability. That’s good isn’t it? Do you know any human plan that can offer that? Human

plans can’t do this; God’s can. That is one of the exciting things about the plan of God is that

it cannot contradict His character and His character is perfect good.

Hebrews 6:18
18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a

strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

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What is that saying? It is saying that God cannot make a plan, and in this context he is talking

about God making a promise to Abraham and in making that promise to Abraham you must

remember something about the plan. The plan cannot contradict the character of God. We

know it is dependable because we know that God’s character cannot lie, therefore it has total

dependability. Is that a good thing to relate to? When we talk about cooperating with God’s

plan, is that the kind of plan you like to cooperate with? Would you like to cooperate with a

plan made by someone who lies, or a plan made by someone who is not dependable who

can’t come through with the goods? Or would you prefer to make a plan and cooperate with

somebody who always tells the truth and who always has your best interests at heart? This is

God’s infinitely superior will. Strangely enough, as logical as it seems to assert the

superiority of the will of God, isn’t it strange that we still rebel?

Titus 1:2
2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

This is the same concept. “In hope of eternal life, which God…” In regard to His actions,

they must harmonize with His character, because He cannot lie and He promised before the

world began. It is interesting that when we talk about the plan of God, that the fundamental

thing that seems to be emphasized, whether we are talking about the

Abrahamic Covenant, or in Titus the promise of eternal life, which are both big, big things, is

the truthfulness of God. The important aspect is His truthfulness. If we are to relate to a plan,

that is certainly germane, isn’t it? If the person who makes the plan is not truthful, then what

good does it do to try to relate to that plan? This is fundamental to it.

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Acts 4:12
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given

among men, whereby we must be saved.

If you are in hopes that somehow you will be able to do something that will secure a

relationship to God, we ought to add something else that He cannot do. Not only can He not

lie, but also He cannot save apart from Jesus Christ. He cannot do that. It is stated very

clearly in Acts 12. What is that saying? In one sense, and though we could completely

misunderstand it, the apostle is saying God’s hands are tied. If you have thought that God can

act in a saving way apart from His Son, I’m here to tell you that God’s hands are tied. That is

not saying anything belittling about God, because it is simply saying it is in harmony with

His character. He cannot save apart from the person of Jesus Christ.

The second thing to say about the plan of God, and it’s important that we lift God’s plan out

of human mentality. If you are going to go and say, ‘This Saturday I promise the kids we are

going to do something that is fun’ and you plan a picnic, what should you put in your

mentality about your thinking that is going to be required, since we are not the supreme

rulers of the universe? How do we usually put it? That is Plan A. If it rains, we will go to

Plan B. Does God do that? We are used to making Plans A and B. We do it all the time. We

are used to alternate plans. Does God have an alternate plan? Is the picture of Scripture that

God put Adam down in the Garden and when Adam took of the forbidden tree that God said,

‘Oops. Execute Plan B, Plan A didn’t work out so well’? Is that the picture? Of course not.

God does not have Plans A and B. The Cross was not an afterthought in any sense of the

word; it was planned from Eternity. Our salvation was planned from Eternity.

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What is it about God that makes us say this? Why do we need Plan B? It’s very simple: we

don’t control weather. Certain circumstances are not under our control. So, God wouldn’t

have to have that because He is the supreme person of the universe. Being supreme means

nothing gets out of His control. Nothing comes up that He didn’t know about. Nothing says

He is going to have to change His plan because something is in the way. Consequently,

logically, out of the supreme person concept, there is not Plan A and Plan B. This means no

surprises.

Again, in planning with another person, when you are going to cooperate with him, don’t you

first of all want him to be truthful? Second, do you like surprises? Some surprises are good,

but sometimes when a person is planning, you get surprises that are not too pleasant. With

God there are no surprises. He doesn’t have to say, ‘I really wanted things to go this way, but

you are going to have to turn about 10 degrees to the left because

something came up over here that I can’t control, so you are just going to have to navigate in

this direction for a little while and I’ll let you know, and circumvent you around the

thunderstorm’. God doesn’t do that. He doesn’t have Plan A and Plan B.

Now, a third very important thing is in God’s plan, God does not suppress our volition. I want
to be very careful at this point, because this is delicate. Have you ever heard someone say
this statement: God does not coerce man’s will. I recall hearing that in the past in Bible
teaching. Think about that a minute; do you buy that? God does not coerce man’s will. I take
it that this is one of those statements that has 2 things in it. First, it has truth in it. The truth is
that God allows man to will. I have no problem with that. That is certainly true. We are
simply saying God allows us to will. It has an error in it, however, and the error in it is that
God is passive toward bad choices. If we think that God does not coerce man in the sense
that God is sitting up there and isn’t even personal enough to have His arms at His sides, they
are folded in His majestic supreme rule and He looks down and says, ‘okay, you make the
choices’, and He is flipping coins or humming a tune as though to say, ‘well, you made a bad
choice. Big deal’. Is that the attitude you see in Scripture, that God is passive toward bad

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choices? Maybe the word coerce is bad if you take ‘coerce’ to mean God forces something,
but if we think that God does not act to influence man’s will, then how do we account for
Pharaoh? Did God work on Pharaoh’s will in order to get him to line up. You may not want
to call it coercion, but I would certainly say that with all the plagues God was saying to
Pharaoh, ‘these are My people; you let them go’. When Pharaoh said no, did God just say,
‘All right. No big deal. I won’t coerce your will’. No, He rained a little fire on Egypt; He
wiped out part of the population. What is all that intended to do? It is intended to tell Pharaoh
that he could rebel, but God is not passive. God was going to act in a particular direction.

To leave Pharaoh and come down to Christian experience, what about discipline in the
Christian life? What is discipline for? If you make certain bad choices as a believer can we
support the doctrine that we are so free in our choices that God is passive? You choose to act
as you will as a believer and God won’t do anything. Don’t try it! God was not passive
toward the negative volition of Ananias and Sapphira. He was very active. God is sovereign
and we are free to choose, but don’t lapse into thinking that God is passive.

What about the work of the Holy Spirit? What is the work of the Holy Spirit to do? It is to
convict. What is He doing? He is telling us we are making bad choices and we had better
choose in the direction of the proper options. God does not suppress volition, in the sense that
you cannot choose. He does encourage; He is not passive toward our volition, but He doesn’t
suppress it. I am trying to get at somewhere in between. God is not passive; on the other hand
God does not suppress our will. God is very interested in the choices that we make.

Let me try to put it into one sentence. God does not suppress our volition, but is not passive
to negative will. He does not suppress our volition, but do not take that to the extreme that
now you have God being passive. God is not passive to our negative will and

if we make bad choices God is going to take action toward His children, for which we can be
extremely thankful.

We are ready for the next section. This part has talked about the fact that, as supreme person,
God has a plan. In the next section we will look at this: As the supreme person God has made
choices in His universe. We will begin the next section in the book of Genesis at Creation and
we will find out that God made all kinds of choices without consultation. All we will be
doing at that point is looking at the choices that God made. You may say you don’t like them,
and you are free to do that. If you are a believer, God will say, ‘I heard that challenge and I
will work some discipline in, I will give a little of Pharaoh’s medicine. I will even give,
according to 1 John and 1 Corinthians, some of the Ananias and Sapphira medicine. I’ve had
your rebellion all I intend to take it’.

When you talk about making a plan and making choices, we are so used to the human level
that we resist it, don’t we? We ask, who in the world has the right to make all the choices?
We naturally resist that, don’t we? In a home if you have too much of an authoritarian
structure, whereby one person makes all the choices you begin to resist that sort of thing
because you see the other just wants his own way. The important thing is that the One who
has made the choices, the supreme person of the universe loves you and me very much and

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He wants a personal relationship and He is incapable of a bad choice. He is in capable of a
bad choice in the sense that God’s choices are absolute good for us. They are the best things
that could ever happen to us and when we resist those we only ask for consternation and
difficulty in life.

We will pick up next time with Divine Choices.

Father, we are thankful today for Your word and Your truth and we pray that we might grasp
these very fundamental truths: that we do not worship a god, we worship the God, the only
One there is Who is creator, who is Sovereign, who is Supreme. Therefore, we acknowledge
Your position and because You have that position we acknowledge the absolute right of the
Creator God to plan that which He desires and we are thankful that that plan has parameters.
That plan will never violate perfect love; it will never tell us something that is not true. It will
never circumvent the person of Jesus Christ in salvation; it is always straightforward. We are
thankful for that and we are thankful that the universe is not just reeling on; that You have a
plan and You have made choices. You picked the seed from which Jesus Christ would come.
You picked the nation of Israel. We are thankful for those choices and now we ask today that
as we continue to study Your will in relationship to ours that we will learn that the only
wisdom in the world is for us to relate to the revelation book where You have told us about
Your plan and Your choices. May we have the wisdom to identify those choices and that plan
as absolute good and identify with it in our mentality and, thus, experience, the stability and
peace that come when we willingly submit our wills to the will of Jesus Christ and His
perfectly good will. In His Name. Amen.

Chester McCalley Volition 7

XVI.
A. All scripture references are from the King James Version unless
otherwise noted

Coming down that sequence, you recall - and this is important to keep in mind in the middle
of the muddle over here – since God is the supreme person, He has a plan. When He makes a
plan, you have to make certain choices. So for these first three things, we can do nothing but
observe, since God has not consulted us on His plan and God has not consulted us on the
choices He should make, He has put those choices in that plan in revelation, or in Scripture,
and of course, there is where we have the option, because God created us with the capacity to
choose. We have the option to cooperate with His plan, and thus experience the most in terms
of benefits, or we may rebel against that plan. We went through each one of those. God has a
plan; that was our study last time.

Now we are ready for the next lesson: Since God is the supreme person, He has made certain
choices. Go to, please, Genesis chapter 4. We are looking at the concept that God has made

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certain choices and those choices are, by and large, revealed in His word. This will be a very
simple little procedure, but just notice how God, without consultation, has made choices:

Genesis 4:1-3
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, "I have acquired
a man from the LORD." 2 Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a
keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

Now come down to verse 25:

Genesis 4:25
And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, "For God has
appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed."

So you have born to Adam three sons, at least, and they are Cain, Abel and Seth. In the
announcing of His plan that there was going to be a savior for man, Genesis 3:15, God chose
the lineage through which that child was to come. If we look at Cain, Abel and Seth, which
one did God choose to be in the Messianic line? He chose Seth. If you look at Genesis 6:10,
you have another man named Noah who gives birth to three sons.

Genesis 6:10
10 And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

If we look down, God looked at each of these, and which of these three did He select? God
chose Shem (Genesis 9:26).

In chapter 11, verse 26, you have another father, named Tereh. Tereh, we are told, had three
sons.

Genesis 11:26
26 Now Terah lived seventy years, and begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
And God looked down and said, “I’m going to take the nicest one. I’m going to pick the one
that’s not an idolator down at Ur.” Is that the way He did it? No, God simply said, “Abram,
Nahor, Haran…I choose Abram.” Abraham had two sons, Isaac and Ishmael. God chose
Isaac.

Just to show how sovereign God’s choice is, remember what Abraham prayed when Ishmael
was born? Do you remember that he prayed, “Lord, may this be the seed”? In other words,
he gave God a

little advice on what kind of choice He ought to make. What did God say? He said, “No, it
won’t be this one, it’s going to be another one, Isaac.”

And, of course, to Isaac you have two sons born, Jacob and Esau. God looked down this time
and picked the nice again, didn’t He? Who did He pick? Jacob.

Jacob had twelve sons, and of the 12 sons who did He pick for the messianic line? He picked
Judah.

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So what do you have all the way through? You have God picking, selecting, and choosing.
Why does He have the right to do this? Can Tereh say to God, “I question why You didn’t
choose my son Nahor. He had better qualities than Abram did.” Do you ever see this? Not at
all. Why does God have this right? God has this right because He is the supreme person of
the universe and He makes choices.

So, very important in light of this is to make an application. Since God makes choices, it is,
therefore, our responsibility to do two things: 1) Identify those choices. There is a name for
identifying the plan and the choices of God. Do you know what it is? It is very complex: it is
called Bible Study. That is where we find out what kind of choices God has made. 2) We
need to submit to them. There is an option. Options come into the picture right here. God
does not say, “I will force you to”. God will say, “I want you to and desire to. I plead with
you to, and I reason with you to. I give you all the evidence in My word why My will is best,
but I will allow you, having said all that, go ahead, if you will, and challenge Me. I will allow
that. I will not wipe you out for making that particular option, but I will coax you, I will show
you, I will reason with you, I will push you, I will discipline you. I will do all sorts of things
to bring you into submission to my absolutely good will. But you have the option”.

This is right at the point that we begin to relate into the concept that we are talking about
today. Two things: Since it is our responsibility to identify and submit to God’s will, there are
two dangers. I can see going both ways, if we are not careful.

Number one is sort of a psychological, built-in, sin nature danger, and that is, when we
identify these things to be afraid of them. What is the danger? We do not see God’s will as
absolute good. If you say you are free for that, I would like to meet you, because I don’t
know why, as much as I mentally know that He is a perfect God and He must make good
choices. He has to, and they must be absolute good, but there is something on the inside that
raises up and asks are you sure about that? Something is a little bit afraid of asserting these
things, and the danger from our sin nature is that we don’t see them as absolute good.

Second, is the danger of passivity. That is, I don’t make any choices; God makes them all. I
understand what you are coming at from that perspective, but be careful about that, because,
stop and think: Have you ever seen a Christian who becomes concerned about God’s will and
the thing that is stressed is that you need to choose the right person to marry, you need to
choose the right profession and you get all uptight, and at one point in time you could make
decisions, but you can’t make them any more? You can’t make them anymore because you
have to pray about it first, then you have to agonize over it a little bit, then you have to wait
on God first before you can decide what to do. We sometimes think that is sincere
Christianity; I asked him to do something and he said he had to pray first. You think that is a
spiritual giant. Stop and think, now. Is indecisiveness an indication of maturity or
immaturity? It is an indication of immaturity, isn’t it?

Let me ask you this? Why don’t you let your kids choose, when they are 4 years old,
whatever they want to eat? It is very simply, because in their immaturity they would make
immature choices. Why do you tell your children you must be in bed at 9 o’clock? Why
don’t you let them choose? Why don’t you give them options? It is simply because in their

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state of immaturity they have an inability to make good sound decisions. I think we will find
the more we mature in the word of God, the more we can say, yes, no, yes, no. We will not be
saying more that we must wait to determine God’s will. Maturity in the word of God brings
us to a point of decisiveness, not a point of indecisiveness. The passivity, though it has some
good motivation, simply says, we do not make any choices; God makes them all. That is very
dangerous.

I know there is some concern here, and there will be more concern as we get further into this
study, because, as I said at the beginning I am thoroughly convinced that every book that has
come into my hands on the will of God ought to be burnt because they are soup, they are
sentiment, they are mush. They do not lead in the direction of Scripture as far as I can see at
all.

Now, (the danger restated) I don’t make all the decisions, I don’t make any decisions, God
makes them all. The Scriptural reply to that is in Philippians 2:12 & 13. We will be looking at
about a dozen passages in reference to the concept of how our will relates to the will of God.
Does God want us to decide or does He want us to be passive?

Philippians 2:12-13
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now
much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is
God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” is an imperative. Notice that into
Philippians 2:13 we have the assertion of responsibility, and it is expressed in the two words,
in English, “work out”. That is the translation of “katergazomai”. It is a very

important word in the New Testament and it appears numerous times. The first, simple
meaning of “katergazomai” is ‘to perform’. The next two are: ‘to achieve’ and ‘to
accomplish’. Looking at those last two, to achieve and to accomplish, when you say someone
has achieved something or accomplished something, what is implied in these words? The
word ‘achieved’ has in mind a goal. If you are going to say someone accomplished, you will
say what he accomplished. Therefore, the basic idea in that particular word, achieved, is that
is assumes you know where you are going. Accomplished implies very strongly, a goal.

I would translate it this way: Carry your salvation to its end, to its goal. Then he adds ‘with
fear and trembling’, which I take it means this is very serious. It is very important to you, and
that phrase ‘fear and trembling’ brings in the seriousness of the responsibility to carry your
salvation to its goal. Does that spell responsibility? Does that spell passivity? Does that say
do nothing? Does that say sit and wait on God? No, he is telling the Philippians that they
must get involved to take their salvation to its goal.

Now, attached to that, he gives an encouragement. The encouragement is simply this, in verse
13: You ought to carry your salvation to its goal, because that what God is in you for. That is
what he is trying to do with you. That is His purpose and intent. Therefore, your
responsibility is one of cooperation with God.

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Verse 13: “For it is God that works in you”. The grammar that is involved right there in the
words “that works in you” is a predicate nominative in Greek, meaning God is the working
one – ‘energeo’ – He is the energizing one. The direction in which He energizes is expressed
two present tense infinitives. Present tense meaning He does this all the time.

13 for it is God who works (energizes) in you both to will (continually) and to do for His
good pleasure.

God is energizing in you to do what? God is energizing in you to will. Is that passivity?
Why doesn’t he say God is working in you to produce? It doesn’t say that. Behind
production, which is the second one. Behind our doing is our willing. What is he saying?
God wants your volition to result in action. In other words, the little word “to will” is talking
about God’s involvement with our chooser, God’s involvement with our volition. How many
people read Philippians 2:13 in practice. This is some of the mush you get on knowing God’s
will is that God wants to come in and He wants to replace your will with His will. Is that
what the verse says? It is God who works in you to replace your will….not at all! It does not
say that God is working in your to replace your will. It says that God is working in you to
will, in other words, He is in us so that our will will come in line with His. He does not want
to obliterate our will but to align our will. God wants His children to make good choices as
far as life is concerned.

There is an interesting thing about choice that I think may sound very simple. Whenever you
have a choice, you have options, don’t you? You have this and this and this. You may not
believe me at this point, but one of the major defects we have in the Christian life is
that we don’t identify options. That’s why many of us make such God-awful choices. Let me
use a personal illustration first. One morning this week I was going down to north Kansas
City for breakfast. I go down there because they have grits and they are hard to get. But there
is another place in town that has the best fried potatoes for breakfast. They are not the kind
that are frozen. They boil the potatoes, take the jackets off and slice them and put them on the
grill.

I was headed down for breakfast and began to think about the smell of those fried potatoes
across town. My Hebrew bible was open, my notes were out, everything was on the desk so
all I had to do in the morning was slide through the door, into the chair and I was ready to go.
So the plan was made. I don’t know how you work, but I find that if I don’t have a plan I
don’t get it done. It was all planned, I was all ready to go and I began thinking about those
potatoes on the way to breakfast. I thought, doggone, it will take another 45 minutes, but I
think I’ll go on across to that place where I can have good fried potatoes. Unfortunately, I
had been working on this idea of making good choices. One of the things I am going to harp
on is to get your options out there. Then I thought, for crying out loud, what a crummy
decision I was about to make. Fried potatoes will cost me 45 minutes that I was going to give
to Scripture. That was a real option. What were the choices, and which would you have? 45
more minutes in Scripture or a fried potato? I had already missed the exit for North Town, I
went down, came back, bought the 45 minutes.

Why wasn’t I aware of those options? We don’t really think of them do we? We don’t’
realize that the word of God is over here, and something else over here. Let’s face it, for most

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of us, the word of God is an extremely low priority, isn’t it? Can’t we think of any excuse in
the world to avoid Bible study? It is the quality of those choices that I want us to look at,
because those choices are extremely important in relationship to the will of God.

Now we will look at a whole concept, that is will be a heading: The Will of God in
Relationship to the Will of Man

First of all, when we take a category like this we are presenting a biblical doctrine. For
example, there is no way that you can say we are going to study the will of God and the will
of man – of that’s the book of Ephesians, and the book of Ephesians will begin to put over
it’s heading the will of God in relationship to the will of man. We will present that biblical
doctrine and when we have studied that particular book we will have all there is to say on the
will of God and the will of man. It isn’t that way, is it? It’s all scattered. We have something
in Genesis about God making choices. You have some things in Exodus, Leviticus, through
the Old Testament, into the book of Psalms, out of Deuteronomy, over into Matthew. It is
seeded throughout the entire text of Scripture. Whenever you try to pull that together, you are
presenting a biblical doctrine. Let me first of all give a definition of what we mean by a
biblical doctrine and then how we do it.

What is doctrine? Several Sundays ago someone came up afterwards and it was the first time
they had been here. He said, “I’ve been raised in church all my life, but you used a word this
morning that I didn’t understand. What do you mean by doctrine?” I tried to

conceal the shock! Doctrine is organized teaching on any subject presented in the Bible. We
are talking about organizing so we can understand it on any subject presented in the Bible.

How, then are you going to do it? I am presenting this so that you can do something in
relationship to being taught here. I want to give you the procedure so that you can check me
out. If I say the Bible teaches something on a given subject, which I am about to do, by the
way, I want you to be able to check what I say against Scripture.

I am about to say we are going to try to pull together what the Bible says all the way through
relative to the will of God and how your will fits into the will of God. That is biting off a
bunch, isn’t it? Therefore, you need some defense in this organized teaching that I am going
to give you on this subject. Therefore, you ought to be more than a poor victim sitting out
there, saying, ‘Well, that’s what he says…”. The worse authentication in the world is the one
that some of you use: ‘Chester says”. That doesn’t mean anything! What we say is only
accurate if it follows the proper procedure.

Now, what is the procedure? There are three steps whenever you build a doctrine:
1) You collect all the relevant passages. If you are going to talk about what a book says
about the will of man, you ought to gather all the passages that talk about the will of
man, oughtn’t you?

2) Understand each in its context. You might try this sometime. Sometime you might be
reading a book and it will say the bible teaches that “this” is true and then give you

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about 8 passages. Be sure you look those up. Just putting random passages after the
statement doesn’t prove it. There are times you look those up, in context, and see that
they have nothing to do with what the author is saying.

3) You organize those passages into categories. For example, let’s suppose you want to
see what the Bible has to say about redemption. Let’s suppose you have 342 places
where redemption is referred to and you go through them and try to understand them
in context. Then you see that there are a whole bunch that relate to the person who
does the redeeming. There is a category which emphasizes the quality of a redeemer.
So, you say, there are certain other verses that talk not so much about who did it, but
how you appropriate it. So you gather together all the passages on the means of
redemption.

Then you see that there are a lot of passages that really stress how far redemption is intended
to reach. These then have to do with the scope of redemption. Then, there are certain ones
that tells us about what we need to do to be redeemed and these are talking about the
application of redemption. Then you note that a bunch of those passages have something else
in them. They talk about once having been redeemed, such as

1 Corinthians 6: 19
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye
have of God, and ye are not your own?

Then he goes into the concept of redemption and he is talking about the obligation that flows
out of redemption.

1 Corinthians 6:20
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit,
which are God's.

What have you done? You have organized your verses. If I gave you 242 verses, is that
organized? Not quite! It’s not a doctrine yet, you haven’t pulled it together and taken the
verses and put them in an organized form so that you can remember them. When you begin
to go through, say the 12 passages that talk about the qualities that the redeemer has, are you
going to have some impact to your mentality of understanding God’s word? Of course you
are! If you begin to gather all those passages, and someone tells you to look at study the
category of redemption that talks about your obligation, and you may get hit with about 12
passages that really say you have an obligation. You see that there is something new to
understand about redemption That category of doctrine is something to look at.

Therefore, whenever we talk about a biblical doctrine, we are talking about the organized
teaching. For me it usually shows up in such categories as the person of, the scope of, the
means of, and so forth. It is organized teaching on a subject that is present in the Bible. To
review the three steps: Collect all the passages, understand each one in its context, and then
organize them into categories.

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When we talk here about a biblical doctrine, we see that it is the way a believer becomes
mature.

In looking at will of God, here are some observations I have made, here are some passages to
check out to see if they are hare-brained or true.

Relative now, to individual men, the will of God falls into two categories. One is the will of
God with respect to salvation. What we are looking at right now is that as God looks down on
the whole human race, does He have any desire with respect to members of the human race?
As He looks down on your aunt who has never seen a Bible, does God have any feelings
toward her? Can I approach her and say, ‘God really has a desire for you’? Our answer to that
can be very affirmative.

When you come to Christ, we call that Phase 1. Phase 2 is the Christian Life, and Phase 3 is
when we are made like Him. We often call Phase 1 ‘Justification’, Phase 2 ‘Sanctification’,
and Phase 3 we call ‘Glorification’. They are all part of salvation’s package.

We can say basically 2 things about with respect to God’s will and how God relates to us.

God’s Will

Salvation (Justification)

God has a desire about Man’s birth. As much as you may dislike using the term, because of
the way it is misused, God desires that every man be born again. God wants man to get in at
this point of justification. It is a very simple desire toward men.

Now, God also has a desire directed toward people who have already entered into salvation.
We are talking about believers. It is all wrapped up in the word ‘growth’. That growth
involves two things: information and interaction. Information is truth getting to our minds.
Interaction is our will relating to truth. I will absolutely it is a guarantee that without those
two things you will never mature as a believer. It is impossible. Until we get the information
into our mentality and respond with our will.

You ask where our emotion comes in? It is very simple: you cannot mature on the basis of
emotion. It is impossible. You can jump up and down and yell and scream and do all sorts of
emotional things but it will not produce growth. The only way we grow is when the word of
God gets into our mentality, our minds, and when we begin to interact with that by making
good choices on the basis of that information. Making the choice that I understand this truth
now, and in the light of that truth, this is the way I’m going to live. Making the choice that,
now I know all things work together for good, I am going to make a choice in this given
situation that I buy that. That will become very important because we are going to find
another phase that is so clear, biblically, that with God’s gift to us of the right to choose and

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have volition, He couples something with it that is absolutely welded to it in Scripture and it
is this: We are 100% totally, fully responsible for every decision that we make.

That annihilates one of the most pleasurable things in life. It is called complaining. You
know…you say, ‘I made this decision, I married her and now it’s just horrible’. Did she put a
gun to your head? It’s your choice. You say, ‘Well, I prayed about it and it’s not working out
well.’ Don’t blame God; don’t blame prayer. You made the choice. This is so important
because we have a multitude of excuses behind the proper use of our will today. We have all
kinds of refusal to accept responsibility for what we decide to do and to be. If we are grouse
and have bad mental attitudes, we can’t blame anyone else. We must blame ourselves.

Are you in financial trouble? Do you get in a screaming match with your spouse? Do you
say, ‘I didn’t choose to buy that car; that’s your car! You chose to buy it.’ We go through this
type of thing, but really, look, you can’t make the payment. Nobody forced you to buy it. You
bought it. Alright, accept the responsibility of that decision. That will become very important
as we move along in this area.

There is one other contrast in these two things. By the way, He has a beautiful means set up
for this second one, which is to grow by interaction with the word of God. It is the concept of
the local assembly. Why does He give people to teach? Why does He give you the Holy
Spirit to reside inside

of you? Why do you have the Bible? Look at the equipment! The Holy Spirit on the inside
and the word of God on the outside!

Another contrast or two between what God wants for the unbeliever and He wants for all
men, this is an all proposition over here and this is a “some”. It is only a “some” in the sense
that all don’t get in on the first phase. Over here, in respect to God’s will, it is a single issue:
salvation.

Once you are in the Christian life, growth is multiple issue matter. Why do we say it is a
single issue before salvation? The only thing that is the real issue in God’s desire toward a
person who is not a believer is Jesus Christ. Baptism, church membership, prayer, Bible
study – they don’t have anything to do with it. It is a single-issue matter in respect to how
God feels about the unbeliever, namely the person of Jesus Christ. Is that true when you get
in the Christian life? Some preaching makes it that way. You get saved and make it a single
issue again and evangelize and re-evangelize and re-evangelize the evangelized with an
evangelist every Sunday, failing to realize that the Christian life has several phases to it. It
has prayer. It has mental attitudes. There is our mission in Scripture. All kinds of actions,
clear from doing good to others down to the areas of sexuality and so forth. It is a multi-issue
thing.

Over here at the Cross, there is a single provision: The Cross. In the Christian life, it is a
multi-faceted provision. We have mentioned some of them. When you get into the Christian
life you are provided with the Holy Spirit. You are provided with the word of God. You are

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provided with a local assembly where you can grow and God gifts certain people, so you
have all kinds of provisions coming into the Christian life.

Now, let me make the first statement and we will go to a passage about volition. Let me say it
fist. We are looking “What is the desire of God toward all men?” Think concretely on this.
Think of a person who has never come to faith in Jesus Christ. Wouldn’t it be good if I knew
how God felt about him so that I could feel the same way? Wouldn’t it be good to know
God’s desire for the person I’m going to work next to this week so that my volition can relate
to that? Now, here is the statement:

The sovereign God of the universe has chosen to bless ‘yes’ volition with eternal life. This is
one of the fundamental things of Scripture. The sovereign God of the universe, this one
supreme being that we are talking about, has chosen to bless ‘yes’ volition toward the work
of Jesus Christ with eternal life. If you know anything about Scripture, you are looking at
something that you are aware of. The first thing when you became a Christian, what did you
recognize? You heard about the work of Christ, and you adopted a certain attitude toward the
work of Christ, and what did God do to you? Your volition said,

‘Christ died for me; I believer that.’ Yes, that’s right. This is the only way of salvation and
when you had ‘yes’ volition, what did you get? God acted toward you in terms of giving you
eternal life.

The flip side of the coin is this: The sovereign God of the universe has chosen to minister
wrath toward ‘no’ volition toward the work of Christ. That is fundamental; it is the basis of
our whole salvation. Incidentally, God took all of our sins and placed them on His Son, Jesus
Christ, on the cross and said, ‘That is adequate payment.’ There it is; that’s called the Gospel.

Now, that Sovereign God has said if we will respond toward that truth with ‘yes’ volition,
then He will give you eternal life. However, if you have never responded with a ‘yes’
volition, but in essence, your volition has been ‘no’ toward the work of Christ, God has
chosen to minister to you wrath. If we are halfway smart, I think we can see what we ought
to do here. If you have never registered ’yes’ volition toward Jesus Christ, do it quick! You
don’t have to sing a song, you don’t have to do anything, just register ’yes’ volition. Do you
believer it? Here is Christ, God took your sins and put them over here. His word says Christ
died for our sins and this is adequate. You don’t even have to pray! You only have to register
‘yes’ volition toward it. If you did that, you can be assured, even if you didn’t feel anything,
which is no issue, if you came to a ‘yes’ volition toward the work of Christ, you just became
a member of the Body of Christ. You just got eternal life.

Now, moving on, let’s see if we can establish this. We are looking at the concept that God’s
will toward all men is that they register a ‘yes’ volition toward the work of Christ. Remember
our subject is the will of God relative to the will of man and notice that Paul really is laying it
out straight here.

1 Tim 2:4
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

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Several things come out of that verse. First, if you were looking at a Greek New Testament
you would be struck by the position of the words ‘all men’ because they are at the first of the
sentence and, therefore, emphatic. All men is underscored by the Holy Spirit, so that the
stress is universality. The stress is don’t leave out Kohmeini, even. Everybody is involved in
this; this is His will universally expressed toward all men.

Then you have in verse 4, the verb ‘will have’. ‘Will have’ translates simply the present tense
of the word ‘thelo’. So we are talking about in verse 4 universality: All men God desires to
be saved. The word ‘thelo’ simply means to will, and usually in one of two ways. It can be
will in the sense of decree. An example is: Let there be light. What happened? And there was
light. God decreed it so. Or it can be will in the sense of desire. I would underscore that when
I say that is what we are looking at here. It is talking about God’s desire toward men. So, God
desires, but does God ever allow what He desires to be challenged? Some will say, ‘if God
wills it, it must be’. Where do they get that? Does God desire certain things in His word and
allow them to be challenged? Of course He does.

Can God say, ‘I desire for you to be saved’ and the unbeliever say no? Does that put God in a
bad position or the unbeliever in a bad position? No. God can desire and allows His desire to
be challenged. This is one of the most patently obvious things in Scripture. The idea that God
wills it and it is done is nonsense.

“Who desires all men to be saved”. Let’s make a little application. How have you responded,
in your volition, to God’s desire for your salvation? I’m sure 99% of you will say ‘I have
responded very positively to the work of Jesus Christ’. If not, we can offer a very warm
invitation to you that the sovereign God of the universe has some feelings toward you. And
they are expressed as desire, longing. He wants your salvation. So that should do two things
for us as believers.

One, in our mentality, whenever we meet people we ought to have a certain attitude toward
every unbeliever that we meet. That is, our Heavenly Father desires your salvation, so that
we can actually say to the unbeliever, ‘I’ve got news for you: God has a feeling toward you.
You may treat Him as impersonal and not even at home in the universe, but I will tell you
something. This book reveals a very personal God and that very personal God desires
something for you, namely your salvation. So the answer to the question how does God feel
toward that cantankerous, never had a thought for God neighbor three doors down is that God
desires the salvation his salvation. That would be very biblical.

Now, that does a second thing to us, when we get this mentality. It should not only give us
the proper mentality as to how God looks at men (He wants them to have His eternal life),
but it also ought to give a sense of responsibility. If God desires that for my neighbor, then is
it saying too much that we ought to confront them with the saving message? We are coming,
with that, directly into the area of the importance of evangelism.

Why should we want to confront them with the Gospel message? The first point on
sovereignty is what? We ought to want to confront them with the Gospel message because

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God has chosen to bless “yes” volition to the work of Christ with eternal life and God has
also, in His sovereignty, chosen to administer wrath to the volition that they have not yet
registered toward the work of Christ. How are they ever going to register that attitude until
they hear about it? It is impossible. How are they going to hear about it? The means of
hearing is through the proclamation of the Gospel. Now, you use wisdom. I am not saying
when you go home you run down the block and begin to pound on doors saying, ‘the
sovereign God has chosen to bless…’. That is our message, but you do it in a sensible way,
but this is very important. Sometimes, as believers, we try to respect people’s privacy.
Sometimes we almost come down to the thought that we won’t share the Gospel because we
respect someone’s privacy. That is ridiculous, isn’t it? We do respect people’s privacy, and we
don’t try to knock people’s doors down with the Gospel, but nonetheless, this can be taken to
the extreme where we don’t even give people an opportunity to be confronted with the work
of Christ because we don’t take the word of God to them.

We will get a second passage on that next session. It is 2 Peter 3:9.

Before we finish, let’s do something. I hope you understand me well enough that you will
understand what I am saying. I am going to get very practical on the quality of choices.

I think sometimes we try so much to say to you that I do not want you to respond to the will
of your pastor. I want you to respond to the will of God. That is better, because the will of
God is absolute good and mine is not. The will of God is always straightforward and mine is
not. Consequently, the object is to get sheep to relate to the will of God, so I am, in a sense,
trying to be impersonal and personal about this. Let me make this application, and since I
made it to myself this week, I can feel free to make it to you. My application was 45 minutes
for a stupid potato that could have been spent in the text.

Let’s look at the options. At 6 o’clock this evening we will be doing Bible study. What are
you going to be doing? I wouldn’t ask that to your face, because you would have a proper
answer: ‘none of your business’. I am just trying to say, look at the quality of your choices.
You may say, very validly, ‘I will not be here at 6 o’clock, I’m going to be doing this’. It may
be that it is something you ought to be doing. Maybe you shouldn’t be here if you have
someone very sick at home. You don’t run off and leave them to die to go to Bible Study. You
ought to be there. But, we are looking at the quality of decisions. It’s going to be here tonight,
now what do you have cooking over here? Is that a quality choice? You answer to God.

Look at the options and the quality of them. I have been shocked. I have been trying to do it
all week and I find that many times I will opt for some crummy little jag over there, when I
could have been here and it was a terrible option. I have a little more pressure, because if I
opt for something other than this during the week, I can’t hide it like you can, because you
will know it on Sunday. It will come out very clearly in terms of the quality of teaching. You
will know that something is missing.

So, is it not possible that some of the messes we get ourselves into are because we make bad
choices? And that really when it comes to the study of God’s word, it is put on the back
burner. So often, I think what Satan has done is that it gets down to we don’t really realize it,

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do we? I wouldn’t say I choose a potato over God’s word. But I acted that way. And I acted
that way because I really hadn’t been as much activated toward the doctrine of the human
volition and its importance in Scripture as we really ought to be.

Keep quality of choice before you. It is a very important lesson to learn.

The next passage we will look at deals with how God feels about your next-door neighbor.
Then we will look into what His desire is in regard to us.

Incidentally, is it legitimate for us to say that we are going to specialize in evangelism only?
Not if we line up with the will of God. What does the verse say? “…Who desires all men to
be saved AND to come to full knowledge of the truth.” Where can you do that? At an
evangelistic campaign? No. Only one place can you do it, and that is God’s designated place
in a local assembly with systematic teaching of the truth of the word of God.
Father, we are thankful today for Your word and we pray that you will help all of us, from the
pastor right on down through the entire congregation to recognize the tremendous importance
of choices. And help us to look at the quality of choices. I would be the first one to confess
that the quality of my choices is very often extremely poor. I often do not look at the real
options and put the word of God in the place that it ought to have. May we recognize that
much of our mentality and much of our instability is due to the fact is that we are very poor
choosers, whenever we do choose at all. And may we recognize that the choice toward Your
word is always difficult and the drift of our own cosmos in which we live, the drift of
everything about it is always negative volition toward the word of God and we pray that we
will see that and engage in the battle. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

Chester McCalley Volition 8

XVII.

XVIII. All scripture references are from the King James Version unless otherwise
noted

We have been studying the subject of the volition of Man and we started this morning with
the will of God with regard to man, and remember we went from the will of God, coming
down to the beginning point of salvation, or justification, God’s will with respect to the
Christian life that follows. Of course, ultimately God’s will with respect to glorification when
we will be like Him. Remembering that the will of God goes in two directions: He has a will
for all men: that they will be born into God’s family. In other words, we can say openly and
honestly to anybody, God wants to get you into this program right here. Then, remember for
phase 2, God’s will essentially revolves around the idea of His desire for growth on the part
of the believer.

Over on the birth side, remember that is strictly a single-issue matter. The only thing that is
really of issue to the unbeliever is the Gospel.

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On the side of Christian experience, we leave the single issue and we come into a multi-
issued program. Prayer is an issue. Walking in fellowship with the Lord is an issue. Growth
through the word is an issue. Fellowship with other believers is an issue. Therefore, you have
all the multiplicity of issues that encompass God’s whole plan for the church.

Then we started out with the subject matter of how does the sovereignty of God relate to the
will of man? So we are taking the will of God and relating it to the will of man. The issue is
the relationship between these two, one to the other. Remember that the first statement we
made was a positive, and then a negative. The positive statement is this: the sovereign God
has chosen to honor with the gift of eternal life everyone who will have a “yes” attitude
toward the Cross, or toward the Gospel, or toward the Cross-work of Jesus Christ.

On the other hand, God has, in His sovereignty, chosen to minister wrath to people who have
a “no” attitude toward the Cross-work of the Lord Jesus Christ. So that, the will of man,
entering into salvation, may be a yes will or a no will and God will honor the first with
eternal life; He will give wrath to the latter one.

Once we are past that sphere, when we look at people who have not yet entered into
salvation, what can you honestly say to them? We pointed out from two passages that we can
honestly and openly say that God has an attitude toward all men that have not entered into
salvation, and that is: God desires to save them. The first verse is 1 Timothy 2:4:
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

The second passage is 2 Peter 3:9


9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is
longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to
repentance.
What “unwillingness to perish” does that refer to? Is he talking about people who are saved?
Obviously not. He is talking about people getting into the whole program of salvation. He is
talking about people who have not yet entered into phase 1, or justification. Remember,
phase 1, or salvation, is often called justification. Phase 2 we call sanctification. Phase 3 we
call glorification, when we will be like Him.

So, who is he talking to? People who are in the program or people who are not in the
program? He is expressing an attitude about how God feels toward people that are not yet in
this program. That is, He is not willing. We have a different word here. Earlier, the word for
willing, where it said that God willed to save all men, was the Greek word ‘thelo’ and it is a
will in the sense of wish. Here, in 2 Peter 3:9, we don’t have ‘thelo’, we have ‘boulomai’
which is more of a desire that flows from reason. It is simply saying that part of the mentality
of God is that He does not want men to perish. We need to make the correction here that is so
often an illogical extension, that is God really wants or wills that men would be saved, why
aren’t all men saved? The obvious answer to that is simply this: the sovereign God has
chosen - He chose it, it was not forced upon Him – to allow a “no” volition to the cross work
of Christ to work it’s way all the way to it’s ultimate manifestation. He will not interfere with
that. The ultimate manifestation, of course, of a “no” volition is personified in the Lake of

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Fire. That is how far God will allow a negative volition toward the work of the cross of Jesus
Christ to go and this gives the ultimate illustration of the question, how wise is it not to relate
positively to the plan of God? How smart is it? The Lake of Fire will be an eternal exhibit of
what happens when we do not relate positively to the will of God. It is the ultimate
demonstration of how horrible a negative volition toward the truth of the Gospel can really
be.

Let’s move past this, and remember in practice that two things come out of it: 1) We can have
a new mental attitude toward the people down the block that couldn’t care less about the
word of God or God Himself. Our mental attitude ought to be God has an emotional desire
that these people be saved. So should we. 2) Obviously, then, since their volition has to have
something to respond to, that spells responsibility for us, because they cannot respond with a
“yes” to the work of Christ until they have heard it. Most likely, as you well know, they
probably will never hear it in the place that they think they will hear it, which is church. That
is probably the worst place in the world, or the most unlikely place to ever hear the Gospel. It
is most likely at the hands of believers such as you and me that the Gospel will be put in front
of them so that they have the option of responding in a positive way.

Once we get into this, let’s put down another thing that begins to take place. That is, once we
enter phase 1 of salvation God begins the business of teaching us what is important in life
from His standpoint. I think that can just about put in capsule form the fullest explanation of,
once you became a believer, what God is now intending to do. He looks down on this new
believer and He sees an absolute, total, unbelievable mess. Everything this guy thinks is
wrong. Everything that he thinks is important doesn’t count. Therefore, God says, “Alright,
we are in school now and I’m going to begin the education process of teaching you the issues
that are really important from My standpoint.”

Now, if that is the case, this involves something. Do you ever get the sense that, as a believer,
God is sort of trying to get some divine viewpoint values into your system and

sometimes has a struggle with it? If we are going to learn what is important from His
standpoint, then what are some of the spin-offs of this? If we are going to learn it from His
standpoint, the first thing it involves is exposure to His viewpoint.

Now let’s bring will into the picture. Do you have any choices here at this point? You sure
do. You can choose to involve yourself in the word of God or you can choose not to involve
yourself in the will of God. In listening to or reading this lesson, you exercised a good option,
because you chose over and against anything else to expose yourself to God’s viewpoint. You
have to admit that is a quality choice. When we begin to string together quality choices, do
you know what comes out of it? Quality lives. Therefore, the choice is good, but you had
some other options. You had some tempting options. Believe it or not, when Bible class
comes, I have some tempting options that sometimes I would like to make, but nonetheless, if
we
are going to understand what is important from a divine standpoint, we must have the
involvement and exposure to God’s viewpoint, and that is a decision; it is a choice.

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That is not to say that if you make the wrong choices God will be passive. As we said earlier,
God is not passive when we make the wrong choices, nonetheless you can still make the
choice and it is very important that we make the right one. So we must have exposure to the
word.

We must check the quality of our choices. The problem with most believers is not what they
are doing, because believers do some beautiful things. It’s not what we are doing that is the
problem. It is that what we are doing replaces something else. We could be doing beautiful
things, but the beautiful things we are doing are taking the place of the primary activity,
which is the activity of exposure to the word of God. I can guarantee that if we apply that
kind of quality to making decisions, then we will see some maturity probably by leaps and
bounds.

Now, can we establish then, that if we do not opt to expose ourselves to and relate to the
word of God, we are countering the will of God? If I make a decision that I am not going
expose myself to the teaching of God’s word, am I going head-on with God? The answer to
that is yes. Let’s go back to 1 Timothy 2:4 again.

1 Tim 2:4
Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

So the desire of God, then, goes in two directions. The desire of God is for men and notice
that desire is expressed in two infinitives in the context. The first one, He desires all men to
be saved. In this we have an aorist, passive voice, infinitive. What that means is: ‘saved’, in
the aorist tense, looks at an event, not a process. So it is the will and desire of God that an
event occur in all men, and that event is to be saved. Passive voice means that the subject is
acted on. God desires that acting on us will occur an event, which is that of salvation.
Infinitives are often used to express purpose and intent.

Now, unfortunately many people will stop right here. Some of them will even write choruses
at this point: we’re saved, saved to tell others, as though the whole end is evangelism. Can
we stop at evangelism and still be in line with God’s desire. Notice we cannot do that,
because we have a second infinitive that extends God’s purpose. He desires for all men to be
saved AND – and any program that omits the teaching of the word of God chops the verse off
at the “and” and says, all right God will give you half of what you want. We ought to be
anxious to have harmony with the whole desire of God. He wants men to be saved AND,
verse 4 – to come to knowledge of the truth.

God wants His children to develop divine-viewpoint values. How well should we learn
divine-viewpoint knowledge? Expressed by the word “knowledge” which is ‘epignosis’.
‘Gnosis’ by itself is to know, ‘epi’ intensifies it. So the idea is that God wants us to come to
full, complete knowledge of the truth. He is not satisfied with the minimum; He wants the
maximum.

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That word knowledge, ‘epignosis’, by the way, is not a notebook word. It is a personal word.
It is not the kind of thing that you learn and say ‘so what?’ It is a word that is very personally
involved.

Let’s look then, at what some of the divine-viewpoint values are. What are some of the things
that God wants us to begin to learn? So we will begin to deal with certain passages with
explicit statements about the will of God. Before we look at the passage, and we will be
repeating this several times, let’s put down a little 3-step procedure that is very important.

If we are going to come into harmony with God’s will, what is the first thing we are going to
have to do? All the wanting and desiring in the world is not going to happen until we go
through #1. How can you identify with the divine-viewpoint value until you know it?
Therefore:

Step #1: Identify what God wants or desires. I think it is adequate to say that this is not
innate, is it? How do we find out what God desires? Do we just meditate and think and say,
‘I believe that’s it.’ Not at all, we identify what God desires through Bible Study. Another
name for this step is just called Bible Study. The purpose of Bible Study is to identify the
way God looks at things. You must do that first.

Step #2: As soon as you identify what God desires, namely that we come to a full knowledge
of the truth, then a second, conscious step to take is to identify the options that we have
relative to our own experience. We have identified that God wants us to come to a full
knowledge of the truth. If we can read, we can see that. Now, what kind of options, relative
to our experience to we have? Or could we put this in a different way? What is there in my
daily routine that battles #1? That is identifying options. What is going on with you that tends
to wipe out that priority? It could be as many things as we have people, but it is important to
identify what you are really doing. You had to do this tonight. You identified that God wanted
you to come to a better knowledge of His word

and you had some options. You opted for the thing, in terms of priority, and that is the third
step:

Step #3: Started making decisions that give God’s word priority.

I will absolutely guarantee that if you begin to use those three steps, maturity will be attained
by leaps and bounds.

We get wiped out on #3 all the time. We know #1 and we know that things are battling for
priority which are not right. What God wants is not to give you some kind of great draw
toward the right priorities, what He wants is for you to opt to go in the right direction. When
that happens, then we get some maturity.

The first passage is Ephesians 5:15-17. In this Scripture we are getting an expression of
God’s will; what He wants. Since we are in the area of volition, this is an expression of what
He wants, but you may say “thumbs down”, or ignoring it or pretending we didn’t hear it, or

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something else. However, we are going to have to opt on this passage tonight, we will have
to opt on it tomorrow morning and in the afternoon and evening and all week long as to
whether or not we are making any progress on what God wants in this verse.

See then that you walk circumspectly (‘akribos’). Circumspectly means accurately, carefully,
paying very close attention to something. Therefore, this is saying, see then that you walk
and pay attention to the way you live. Give very careful attention to this. What specific area
does God want us to pay attention to the way we live?

Not as fools but as wise. There is a play on words in the Greek; he says, “I don’t want you to
be a bunch of ‘asophos’ people. I want you to be ‘sophos’ people.” You may not think that is
helpful, except that ‘sophos’, as in the word ‘sophomore’ means wise and the ‘a’ on the front
means you are not wise. It is not wrong to translate the word as ‘fool’, but you lose his play
on words. He says he wants you to be wise and he doesn’t want you to be unwise.

Basically, an ‘asophos’ person is very simply this: one who is oriented to human viewpoint.
A ‘sophos’ person is one oriented to divine viewpoint. This is the biblical concept of wisdom
and understanding in

Scripture. The divine viewpoint is found in the Bible, the word of God. So, God is saying He
wants you to pay a whole lot of attention to the way you walk, or conduct yourself. He
doesn’t want in the family of God a whole bunch of people that are oriented to the human
viewpoint. He wants a whole bunch of people that are oriented to the divine viewpoint. Do
you have any option on that? Do you have a choice in the matter? Do
you have anything to do with this? Sure. What are you going to do with this text? Bury it for
the week? Expose yourself to it? This is an option. It is the option we have every time in
respect to the word of God.

Incidentally, does this verse give you the tone that you have to stand around praying and
wringing our hands, saying, ‘oh, if I only knew the will of the Lord!’? Can you read? God is
saying He doesn’t want you to be oriented to human viewpoint, He wants you to be oriented
to divine viewpoint. We don’t have to pray about that, we don’t have to ask God about it.
What we have to do is to make a decision as to whether we are going to opt for the human
viewpoint or the divine viewpoint.

Now, in what area are we to have some understanding? Continuing in verse 15:

See then that you walk, or conduct yourselves, very carefully, not as human viewpoint
people, but as wise people, people that are oriented to the view of God 16 redeeming the
time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise,

He uses the same term here for unwise and says do not be human viewpoint oriented.

but understand what the will of the Lord is.

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That word ‘understand’ is very important; it is the word ‘suniemi’ in Greek. It is an
interesting word because it means to get together, to put together. We have that idiom in
English, don’t we? We say, ‘when do you plan to get it together?’ Or we say, ‘boy, she has
really got it together.’ This is a good expression for what we have in the Greek word ‘emi’
and ‘sun’, to get together, and the usage is usually to get together in the mind.

So what is the desire of God in verse 17: getting together in your mind what the will of the
Lord is. Notice one other important thing in this context: where is it that you get it together?
You have to get it together in your mind. Very important, because many believers are trying
to get it together emotionally, and that isn’t where you get it together. Emotions are so up and
down, if we try to get it together emotionally, we are always high or low or in between and
that is not where the stability is. The stability is getting it together on the basis of our
mentality.

Now, does this verse give us any indication of what God might desire. The verse is not
complex. He says he wants you to understand, to get it together, in respect to the will of God.
The will of God is expressed in the word.

So what do we come to? We must make some decisions, consciously or unconsciously. We


must make decisions and the quality of those decisions is going to determine the kind of
believer we are, whether we are lined up with the will of God or whether we are insisting on
teaching the universe, along with Satan, that you can get a lot of good apart from God’s will.

Let’s try to identify what God wants in respect to us. You still will have Christians asking
what you think the church is for. The church is here to align with and affirm what God wants.
When God wants for people not to be fools, but to be wise, does it make any sense that the
purpose of the church ought to be to wise up believers through the teaching of the word of
God. If He wants us to understand and get it together on what the will of God is in our
mentality, then what are we here for? We are here to teach the word of God.

1 Thessalonians 4:3
3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

Is this an ambiguous statement? Is it complex? This is what God wants: even your
sanctification. You might see what God wants, but not understand the word sanctification. Do
you see how our priorities often in Christianity are not divine viewpoint oriented? They are
not God’s values. We are not going to be able to come upon a verse that says, ‘this is the will
of God, even that you have the biggest Sunday school in town.’ That’s a human viewpoint
value; it is not God’s values. We need to identify with these things: even your sanctification.
Do you remember the idea in sanctification is to be set apart for a use.

So, the perspective to be gained from this passage is that God has a desire with respect to
you. He wants you to be increasingly set apart for Him. So, what, in respect to us personally,
is God trying to do? He is trying to get our attention and communicate that He wants us and
He wants us for His use. That is part of His desire and His will for us, the personal
relationship the believer has relative to the Lord.

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Notice in verse 3, he then moves to a specific area. The statement ‘For this is the will of God,
your sanctification’ is very broad and general, but for reasons apparently present in the
church at Thessalonica, he says, ‘that you should abstain from fornication.’ Sanctification is
the broad intent of God. Now, he is going to get into the specifics in Thessalonica, and that is
a right sexuality, and this is specific. I don’t know if that was because there was a specific
problem at Thessalonica or, more likely, this was just a problem with their culture. This was
part of the Greek culture.

The word fornication is a very broad sexual term. Fornication can take in bestiality,
homosexuality, incest – the whole gamut; it is the broad word for all sexual sins. God desires
His people not to engage in loose sexual relationships.

Stop and make an application here. Is it clear here what God wants? Now, let’s get down,
then, to checking quality of choices. What kind of options do we have, taking the specific
area of sexual morality? Do we have anything opposing that around us? What things are
pulling us away from the priorities of 1 Thessalonians 4:3? Here is the strange thing about
Christians: They will “amen” up and down. God wants sexual purity; He does not want us to
be involved in that which is sinful and we agree to it and then we will go home and turn on a
TV set. Granted, all the soap operas reaffirm the divine will of 1 Thessalonians 4:3. I am not
on a campaign against television; I am just saying we need to look at the options. If we opt
for things in the world, then is there any wonder why we don’t have a burning desire for the
word of God. Why then, do we not begin to make better choices with our

options in life? This is where we are often tuned out and lacking. We are not sufficiently
grounded in the doctrine of human volition, which says make quality choices.

1 Thessalonians 5:18
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

I don’t even need to make an explanation here. It is God’s will that in everything we give
thanks, and the clarity of that is there, but what about the difficulty. Boy, that’s difficult, isn’t
it? The only way we are going to get around to this is by a massive application of divine
viewpoint. Romans 8:28 is going to have to be right in the fore of our mentality. We are
going to need to understand why God brings pressure into our lives and there are whole
categories of biblical doctrine to make that important.

1 Peter 4:12-19
12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some
strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's
sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14
If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God
resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 15 But let
none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other
men's matters. 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him
glorify God on this behalf. 17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of

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God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 19
Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls
to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

This is God approaching His children and giving us some growth truths. These are things we
need to get up in our minds so that we can get in line with God’s will. Apparently some of
these saints did just not understand that it can be the will of God for us to suffer. They
couldn’t read that, and therefore, Peter says:

12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you

When we went through 1 Peter, we mentioned that this fiery trial can be taken as literal fire.
In other words, it could be a reference to the fact that they are going to die under persecution
as believers; that’s possible.

as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are
partakers of Christ's sufferings;

Do you see how you can’t do what 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “in everything give thanks,”
until you are rooted in solid doctrine like this in 1 Peter?

13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall
be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of
Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is
evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

Then the qualification:

15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody


in other men's matters.

Then vs16: Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify
God on this behalf. 17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God:
and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? …19
Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls
to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

So notice that it can be the will of God, very much so, for a believer to suffer. You have two
options: Go with the human resources option, which is that all suffering is the judgment of
God. Or you can go with the divine viewpoint option, which is that suffering is designed to
develop the believer. This is what He wants in His children.

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Let’s begin to look at the concept of certainty with respect to God’s will. We will begin with
establishing that we are supposed to have that. God’s will is not intended to be a hand-
wringing, please tell us God type situation in any sense of the word. Or, we could caption this
a different way: We are talking about Christ’s leading in the believer’s life.

Since we have said certainty with respect to God’s will, do we mean that as we mature we
will be more certain of the will of God than we were previously? The answer is yes.
Unfortunately, much of the supposed teaching on the Christian experience, by the time you
have been with it for so long you are so up-tight and
confused about the concept of God’s will and pretty soon you can’t decide whether it’s going
to be peas or beans for supper because you’ve got to consult the Lord. That is so much
foolishness, as I think you will see.

Let’s establish, first of all, that God wants us to have certainty. Colossians 4:12:

12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently
for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

We are simply establishing that God really does want us to be certain. This verse refers to
their pastor, whose name was Epaphras. The word for laboring fervently is ‘agonizomai’, our
word agony comes from it. Its basic meaning is to enter a contest, such as an athletic contest
and struggle. Epaphras is always struggling; he is always engaged in a contest for [you] in
prayer. So Paul is talking about the spiritual battle that Epaphras did on behalf of these
believers. We will find out in the context that two things he desired for them.

First, that ye may stand perfect. The verb ‘stand’ goes with the word perfect. The word
perfect is the word ‘teleios’ meaning to reach its goal mature. His desire is that they stand
mature.

Where in the world did he get a goal like that? He looked and he saw that God desired the
believer’s maturity and he just lined his mental attitude up with it. If that is what God wanted,
that is what he wanted. So the first thing that is desired on the part of the believer is maturity.

Notice that at the end of the verse you have the little phrase “in all the will of God.” I think a
good exegesis of that would take ‘in all the will of God’ and connect it to both of these
things. That you may stand mature ‘in all the will of God’.

That needs a little help in translation. First, the word ‘will’ is ‘thelema’. Many nouns, like
verbs, can be active or passive. I would take this to be an active noun. What that means is
this: that we may stand mature in every willed thing of God. We’ll come back to what that
means in just a moment.

Second, that we may stand perfect (KJV) and complete. We will have to do something with
the word ‘complete’. In the Greek the word is ‘pleroo’ and it is a perfect participle. The idea
of perfect is arriving at this thing in a very full sense of the word. The word ‘pleroo’ usually
means to be assured. When it is in the passive voice, when you have been assured, you have

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been convinced, so it means to be convinced of something. Is that certainty? Is it wringing
your hands when you are convinced? The perfect tense is all wrapped up in “I am sure”!

Verse 12, then, is saying that he wants them to stand mature in the will of God and convinced
in every willed thing of God. What that looks at is this: God works in the lives of all of His
children. Do you know what the sign of maturity it? It is that you are very keenly aware of
that fact. It also involves the fact that maturity does not agonize over the will of God;
maturity is fully convinced that God is personally involved with every one of us. When a
mature believer looks at what happens over here, that’s the willed thing of God and I’m
convinced it’s good. Something else happens over here, and he doesn’t collapse and says
that’s the willed thing of God. He’s convinced of that. Notice the certainty and surety that
comes in to the picture.

Let’s look at Romans 12:1 to establish that God wants certainty.

Romans 12:1-2
12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a
living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Notice you have the terms sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, reasonable service. That last
one, reasonable service, I would take is a summary of the first three and it’s not so much
‘reasonable service’, but ‘latreia’ is used for worship. This is the worship you should do.

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
KJV

Notice that verse 1 talks about the believer’s body. The first part of verse 2 talks about the
believer’s mind. And the latter part of verse 2 talks about and ends with the perfect will of
God. What is the key verb about the body? I beseech you …that ye present your bodies. We
have the presented body plus the changed mind in verse 2 equals “that ye may prove what is
that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Is this a bunch of hand-wringers over
the will of God? No! It is an affirmation of what the perfect and good will of God really is.

With that let me introduce what is actually very important and is at the heart of our study.
Let’s look at some basic truths relative to the proper exercise of our will. There are two
negatives and one positive. As far as I am concerned with respect to my will responding to
the will of God, this will say everything that can be said in these sentences.

1) Never seek the will of God about an act or a thought pattern forbidden by the word of
God. You might think nobody would do that, but Christians do that! For example, a
woman deeply involved in a women’s group and her husband comes home and tells
her they are going to Colorado for a week. She gets all in a tizzy and her friends
question if the will of God is in Colorado. They ask her if she has sought the Lord.
She then tells her husband she isn’t sure if it is the will of God and asks for time to
pray about it. That is when she ought to wake up unconscious, because she is praying

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about something God’s word has already taught on. It is not under forbidden and
perhaps I should have put this with the corollary to this, which is:
2) Never seek the will of God about an act or thought commanded by the word of God.
In this case, her relationship to her husband is one of submission, not praying for the
will of God.
3) That leaves us with the last point, which I will state as a positive. You might resist this
at first; I did, but the more I look at it the more it fits scripture. What about those
things that are not forbidden and they are not commanded either? Are they
unimportant? Well, is who you marry important? If you are young is what profession
you go into important? You bet it’s important. How are you going to get there? Is that
important? Some big, big decisions are very, very important, so don’t say if it’s not
forbidden and it’s not commanded it’s not important. Probably many of the biggest
things in life are not in the forbidden and they are not in the commanded, but they are
in this other part. But what will we say? This is where all the books get written. You
ask which school you should go to? How do you think God is going to answer you?
Will you receive extra revelation? We can’t go that route. If you just have a feeling
toward one school, is that how God will do it? Will He just make you feel strongly
toward one school? Should you put out a fleece and tell God that the first school to
respond to your application will be His will? Does God play that kind of game?
Christians play it all the time, but is God on the other end?

I think we can say something here that I believe will be very helpful if we take it to its
conclusion: God leaves the majority of decisions in life up to us.

Let’s say something about those. Am I saying that we don’t have to be all uptight about the
will of God? Yes. If even saying, when I bought my car I don’t have to attach, I prayed about
it and God led me to the dealer. I can just say I like that car and it had these various options
and I took my brain and added it up and I was able to do it and I bought it. I don’t have to add
that I had some miraculous revelation from God; God leaves that to me.

Where do you go to school? There are some good options and by going to a particular school
you don’t violate anything forbidden and you don’t violate anything commanded, what is
God going to say from there? He will tell you to make the choice. You pick and you don’t
have to get uptight on the issue.

Let’s add sub points to this.


a) In this area of things not forbidden and not commanded, these are often
very important decisions. I didn’t wring my hand over asking my wife out
for the first time, nor giving her an engagement ring nor getting married. I
just liked her and I decided and she somehow decided and that’s all there
is to it. I don’t think we ever prayed over it. Marriage, profession – big
things in life.
b) God’s sovereign choice says you decide (that is why He gave you a
brain!). God doesn’t by-pass your brain.

Let me give what I think is an absolute formula for assurance:

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We are assuming that you operate fully on principles 1 and 2. That is, you are occupied with
doing what God commands and not doing what God forbids. If you pick up the New
Testament, is that enough to keep you busy for a couple of days? When you begin to get into
the doctrines and the expressions of God’s will and you operate on those principles 1 and 2,
you are very busy!

So, first, then, in areas outside of the commanded and forbidden the first thing you do is
thoroughly investigate the pros and the cons.

Second, what option is then in front of you that gives the best opportunity to do what you are
here for, namely to glorify God? That’s a good factor to apply. In choosing what college you
go to, God does not give an exemption. Wherever you are, you are there to glorify God.
Where can you best do that? From what you

can see, is your opportunity to glorify God best at the first, second or third school? If you see
that the best opportunity is at the third one, then you have a factor saying decide in that
direction.

Third, which option will surround you with the environment that will help me to keep my
spiritual priorities best? Spiritual priorities are hard enough without plopping yourself right in
the middle of a situation that doesn’t help you. In making a decision that is not commanded
or forbidden, God will not say go to this school, though many believers want that. He says
you pick, as long as you are doing what is commanded and staying out of forbidden areas,
you pick. If you look at an option and realize you can’t keep spiritual priorities as easily at
one than at another, then you make the decisions.

Then you can go the Lord and say in the light of the information you have right now, this is
the decision you will make. You acknowledge that God is sovereign and if you are doing it
wrong, then God will do what He
did to Paul when he wanted to preach the gospel in one place and packed up, then God closed
the door and said don’t go over there.

Then, part of our mentality ought to be this: A wrong choice – and believers are really hung
up on this – is not necessarily a sinful choice. It is a tap on the shoulder from God saying you
are human and not omniscient. Can God use mistakes to teach us that we are not omniscient?
He sure can, so just because we make a bad choice sometimes is not necessarily to make a
sinful choice.

Finally, God allows us to make bad choices sometimes as part of His pedagogy. Did your
parents ever do that? Or have you ever done it with your children? You see that they are
making a bad choice; you see that it is a mistake, but it is not drastic enough but that they
will learn from making a bad choice. Have you ever made a bad choice about buying
something and wish you had thought it over better. What do you do next time? Super
pedagogy! You learn from making a bad choice and I’m sure that God many times allows us
to make a choice so that we can learn something. He knows that making the right option and

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in that we will be all the wise and more mature next time. As we said this morning, is
indecisive, the inability to make good decisions a characteristic of maturity or immaturity?
Why don’t you let your 4- and 5-year olds pick their diet? Because they are too immature to
make good choices. Why do you tell them when to go to bed? Because they would make
terrible choices. Why do you have to say don’t watch this program on TV? Because they
don’t have the discrimination yet to make proper choices. If you have a 25 year old whose
mother is still telling him to go to bed….God pity his wife! As we mature it is not learning to
cower back in the corner; as we mature we are able to make good choices. As we increase
our understanding of doctrine and the truth of the word of God we will get some savvy, some
smarts, to the point that we will be making right and correct options.

We will develop that further next time in the area of when we make these [choices] we must
gain the mentality of accepting responsibility for the decisions we make. And when we do
that we will see some further progress.
Chester McCalley Volition 9

XIX. All scripture references are from the King James Version unless
otherwise noted

We are picking up in the area of the proper exercise of the will. Let’s break it down for clarity
into the way the unbeliever’s will must operate and the way the believer’s will is to operate.
Let’s do that by drawing a circle and saying that this unbeliever is free to will as he pleases.

The The unbeliever is free to


will as he pleases
unbeliever

wills under

We drew a circle to indicate that God has put limits, not on our freedom to will, but on the
power of the will. As we started out our very first lesson on the will and human volition, we
indicated that God will put no limitation on my will to disappear, but He has put a very
definite limitation on the power of my will to accomplish that. I can will to disappear, but I
can’t make it effective; I can’t make it work. So with an unbeliever, he can will anything he
wants. He can will to be God; there is no limitation on the freedom to will that. But there is a
limitation on the power of it.

Romans 6:17 will support both of the diagrams we will show here.

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin

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The unbeliever wills under the domination of his sin nature, so that by and large, you see an
unbeliever willing and he is free to do it. There are limitations on the power of it, but the
thing that his will operates under is his sin nature. This basically is saying that he is a slave.

Now, on the other hand, we will see what Romans 6 has to say about the believer. We can
say the same thing about him as we said about the unbeliever: he is free to will as he pleases.
God has put limits for believers as well as unbelievers to the power of his will. The believer
is obligated – and we will talk a lot about the responsibility of making decisions – he is
obligated to will under the will of God. The will of God basically is going to present him
with 1) things to know, 2) things to do and 3) things not to do.

Things to know would include things such as the first part of Romans 6: don’t you know that
you are dead to the sin nature? That is an obligation to know something. When it says we are
to rejoice always, that is an obligation to do something and we are to act properly under that
and then there are things we are not to do and we are to respond to them.
Now, since the believer has the responsibility to will, we want to re-iterate what we have
said. There are 3 pivotal facts about exercise of the will of the believer, or the use of
choice: 1) never seek the will of God about acts and attitudes forbidden in the word, 2) never
seek God’s will about acts and attitudes commanded by the word. These things are black and
white matters; if the word of God forbids it, don’t do it, don’t even consider it. You might
think that is a rather obvious truth, but let’s realize this is where our minds can really play a
trick on us. There is a danger of rationalization. Have you ever tried to rationalize your way
out of something that God said for us to do? Or have you tried to rationalize yourself into
something that God’s word tells us not to do? Sometimes we can dress up even the
rationalizations real nice. You probably wouldn’t put it in terms of rationalization, but in
more pious terms. You would probably say something like, “I’ll have to pray about that.” We
never have to pray about what God has commanded. We never have to pray about what God
has forbidden.

Third, and this is a very important thesis: the majority of choices in life are left us. God gives
us freedom to choose. These can be big things, such as whom we should marry. Can you see
anything in the attitudes forbidden or acts forbidden that is going to tell you not to marry?
Well within a certain framework you would; it can’t be an unbeliever. Assuming, though, that
you are looking at a believer that is believer, you are not going to find that all the Nancy’s or
all the Shirley’s are forbidden. That is not the case, if it were it would be easy: don’t ever
marry a Nancy or a Shirley. Certainly you are not going to have any positive commands
regarding that so what do you do? It’s a big decision and it is left to us.

Incidentally, let me correct something that I said in Lesson 8 that may have come across
wrong. I said that in respect to choosing a wife you look at the basic factors of her
personality and what have you and you just don’t sit there and pray about it. I didn’t mean to
say that you don’t pray in respect to those things, but I was talking about the kind of
mentality that says ‘we can know God’s will, all we have to do is pray about. I don’t care
what her name is, I don’t care what her background is, I’m just going to pray and God will
somehow by-pass all the choices and criteria I have in my mind. It is not prayer that replaces

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our choosing process; it is prayer that includes that. We certainly pray in these areas, but
prayer can also be used as a cop-out and that is what we are trying to avoid.

Let’s stop and reflect on why God has things set up this way. When we think through
Scripture, God allows us to make so many big choices in life. Why wouldn’t He, beyond any
question tell a young person what profession to go into? Why wouldn’t He, without any
doubt, tell a young person what it is? Why do we think we must do battle with the options?
Nothing is forbidden, nothing is commanded and that is where you get into a very karmic-
type of Christianity that has you expecting God’s leading in a mystical way such as a dream.
Why is it that we can honestly say God has left those choices to us?

Let me list several things that I think answer this. I am not going per se to a passage, but
using principles

Number 1: God loves wisdom. We could probably use Proverbs 8 there, where even His own
Son is personified there as wisdom. God loves wisdom; God loves intelligent choice and I
don’t think we need to spend any time to establish that God loves wisdom. He
makes His creatures, He communicates His truth to them and He loves it when His creatures
make good choices based on His word.

Second, when we are left to make choices, those choices utilize our minds. Ask this question:
Who made the mind? If you want to give a present to someone, you buy the present and it is
something you really hope they will use and you come back six months later and find it is
still in the package. Why would God give us a mind that can look at facts and not be
disappointed when He finds we have not used it? He gave us a mentality to make decisions.
Sine He is the one who made our minds, He loves to see it function under His word in the
proper way. This is another reason God leaves choices to us.

Another is our power to choose and the fact that God has allowed so many areas of choice
demonstrates His sovereignty. He is in so much control that He can let us make choices
without any fear that it will rock His kingdom. Generally when you are in control you want
to put parameters around, and that is an attempt to control, but God is so sovereign that He
will allow us to make the majority of decisions without any threat to His kingdom. This
really demonstrates sovereignty in a good way.

A fourth thing that this big ability to make decisions does for us it that it gives us an
opportunity to demonstrate in life choices how valuable doctrine is. Doesn’t God get excited
when a believer makes good choices that are guided by doctrine? When a believer comes up
to a break in the road of life and he opts for the application of doctrine, does that glorify
God? Suppose that we didn’t have that option. How would we ever demonstrate how
valuable doctrine is? It is another way that God gives this great freedom.

Fifth, right decisions, right choices, lead to maturity. Making certain correct choices will save
you lots of pain in life. You made the choice with respect to the Gospel. You made the right
choice with respect to the use of the teaching of the word of God in your home and in time
you have children that are obeying the word. Why? Because you made the right choices that

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led to maturity and lead to growth. Part of maturity is having a proper self-image. One of the
benefits of this study is that at the end of the day, having made right choices, you really feel
good. I had a chance to spend about 8 or 10 hours in study yesterday. About four times
throughout the day I had to make a choice to get back in and study and at the end of the day I
felt great about myself. I am not talking about pride, but self-image that leads to maturity
when you make those right choices.

Now, our next branch, and this is very important. Since we are free to choose in the majority
of decisions, what are the implications of that? Implication simply means this: if A is true,
then B is true, and C and D. We are going to look at the fact that God has given the majority
of choices in life to us with an understanding of biblical truth and doctrine and what that
implies. The first on is extremely important.

The first one is freedom to choose. This has been so obscured by our culture that it is going
to be hard to grasp. Freedom to choose carries with it the responsibility for the choice. This
can become very heavy, but it is very, very helpful. I will not hesitate to say that nobody, in
any sense of the word can call himself mature if he doesn’t have this fact
down cold. When you make the choice you assume full responsibility for it. We might put
down as a psychological principle that this is why many people have trouble making
decisions: we don’t want to make a decision because we are afraid of the responsibility that is
entailed with it.

Let’s give a biblical example of this biblical truth. We are going to ask does God really hold a
man responsible for what he decides? Does God give him any “out”? Do we find any place
where God says a person’s choice was bad, but it really wasn’t his responsibility? I think we
are going to be able to say without any equivocation that God always holds men fully
responsible for his choices, even if he falls and weeps and screams. God will still say he
made the choice and he must accept responsibility for the choice. Our first biblical example
will be Esau.

Genesis 25:27-34
And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain
man, dwelling in tents. 28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but
Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was
faint: 30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am
faint: therefore was his name called Edom. 31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to
me? 33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his
birthright unto Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat
and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

These are absolutely basic for maturity; they are very important concepts. We see that Esau
made an option and each of the two examples that we will look at we see that, one, God
holds him responsible for his choice, and second look for something in the context that would
free him from that responsibility. Let’s look at it from the 20th century mentality and say that
Esau did make a choice, but he wasn’t fully responsible for it. We will almost come down in

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this context and say his tummy made him do it. God won’t let you say your tummy was the
responsible one; you were the responsible one!

He is going to sell his birthright for a meal. Do you see in verse 28 a possible excuse? He is
faint, so he doesn’t really have his faculties about him, does he? If he really doesn’t have his
faculties about him, we shouldn’t hold him responsible for his choice, should we? This ought
to be an excuse. Is it? Well look at verse 30:
And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint Therefore his name was called Edom.

31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.

In verse 31, Esau has the chance to opt; choice is here. We might say incidentally, that when
you get over to Deuteronomy 21:15 that they forbad the selling or trading of a birthright, but
up until this point of time, not only in Israel, but in the news of the tablets,
you had examples of people who would trade off their birthrights. One example is a man who
traded his birthright for three cows. Or you could sell your birthright.

What was this appealing to with Esau? Choice. Do you want to or not want to. What do you
choose to do? So we have a volitional case.

32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to
me?

Do you see any possibility there to say that he is not responsible? He is delirious and he can’t
be responsible for choices and decisions he makes under those circumstances, can he? Does
God hold him responsible? Let’s see.

33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright
unto Jacob.

Did Jacob hold a gun to his head? No. Esau made a choice on the basis of his value system.
He had a lousy value system; his birthright was, in his eyes, worth nothing.

34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up,
and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

Considering the fact that this guy was about to die for food, if later on he wanted to change
his choice, wouldn’t he be able to bargain with God a little bit? How is that going to impress
God? Look at Hebrews 12: 16 & 17
16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.

17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was
rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

Shouldn’t his hunger have mitigated the issue? How seriously did God tie in his right to
choose with his responsibility for the choice? Notice the repentance with tears. What do you

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think he did with that repentance and tears? I’m sure that he pled with God on the basis of his
condition at the time. He pled with the God to ease the responsibility, and how did God
respond? He saw the Esau made a choice and God in His divine character tied the choice
with responsibility for that particular choice. In other words, God would not allow Esau to
circumvent the responsibility of his choices, even with repentance and lots of tears.

Here is a practical point: As parents we can help our children a lot by learning when we make
an option and it’s a serious mistake to say we made a mistake. When you say that you are
saying that the choice was obviously bad and now you are hurting. Why are you hurting? You
are hurting because you made a bad choice and you accept the responsibility for the choice
you made. You are teaching your children by that remark that you are responsible for your
choices.

The second point is this: We are not mature in any way until we accept responsibility for
what we decide. A number of years ago I got a note from a pastor who had gotten involved in
some things and he left the ministry. I can’t help but admire the way he left. He said, “I
sinned against some biblical truth.” In that sentence he was saying, “I knew the truth and I
sinned against it.” That really is a sign of real maturity when that can be done.

Let’s look at Genesis 3. You know the narrative well enough, but what we want to emphasize
here is how God held Adam and Eve responsible.

Genesis 3:6
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the
eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and
gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Notice the verb “'akal “ connected with Eve’s actions: ‘she did eat’. The first thing to note in
the structure is that you have the verb twice: she did eat, and then he did eat. The alternative
way of saying that, and if we are going to exegete the passage we need to ask good questions.
Why doesn’t it just say, ‘they did eat’? I take it the reason it doesn’t say ‘they did eat’ is that
God is underscoring individual responsibility. He does not even want to say ‘you all did it’.
He says, ‘Eve, you did eat. Adam, you did eat.’ So ‘they did eat’ would be looking at it
corporately. The split with the verb twice looks at it individually. God is stressing individual
responsibility.

Like with Esau, can you think of any circumstances that might make you want to back off on
being responsible for your own choices? Eve was tempted directly by the devil.
Doesn’t that modify her responsibility a little bit? Surely God wouldn’t hold her responsible
under that tremendous pressure, would He? God responded with ‘Eve, you did eat, and
Adam, you did eat.’

Then the results begin to follow out of this. The results begin with the birth of self-
consciousness. Notice coming down into chapter 3, verse 7, after the clear statement that
each of them individually disobeyed,

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Genesis 3:7
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed
fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Compare verse 7 with Genesis 2:25:

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
NKJV

Did God create Adam and Eve with clothes on? Did He create Adam and give him a pair of
designer jeans? Or did He give Eve some designer clothes? They obviously were not created
with clothes on, so when you compare Genesis 2:25 with Genesis 3:7, you see the
difference: the comment on their nakedness. Genesis 2:25 says they were both naked, but
Genesis 3: 7 says their eyes were opened and they knew that they were naked. In other words,
this is the birth of self-consciousness. We have two points then, they were naked before the
Fall, and they were naked after the fall. The difference is that after the Fall they became
aware or conscious of it.

Now, when we talk about them before the Fall not being self-conscious, why was that? The
answer is very simple. Before the Fall they were not aware of their nakedness because they
were totally occupied with obedience to God. In chapter 2, verse 15 they were occupied with
the Garden. They were occupied with Creation. Genesis 2:24, they were occupied with one
another. They were occupied with His will, and after the Fall they were suddenly occupied
with one another and they took their eyes off of God.

From this point, then, you begin to get the sequence of the three signs of death. They follow
very quickly in order: 3:7 is shame.

Genesis 3:7
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed
fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Notice, by the way, the answer to innate shame was external, or cosmetic. You deal with
shame with clothes. Notice that the clothing was designed to cover guilt and project an
image. Clothing never since was ever used to project image…well, maybe it is.

Then guilt. What is the instinctive reaction to guilt? Verse 8 has that, doesn’t it?

Genesis 3:8
8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day:
and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the
trees of the garden.

The instinctive response to guilt is to hide one of two ways: either physically, as a thief or a
robber; or hide psychologically. Do you remember being guilty and you couldn’t look at your
parents? You were hiding psychologically. It’s just innate.

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Finally, there is loss of desire for God. Now, that is disastrous, isn’t it? And this was passed
to the entire human race. How did Adam and Eve react to all of this? They reacted by
rejecting the first point we put under implications for righteous living. Their whole answer
was “we were not responsible for our choice”. Look at Genesis 3:12-13

Genesis 3:12-13
12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree,
and I did eat.
They are dealing with the choices they have made. They are not debating this. Adam said Eve
caused it. Why didn’t Adam say that he had made a sinful choice? That is not part of human
nature. Human nature is to say that I can make a choice but I am not responsible for the
choice. It is innate at the moment Adam says, “What about Eve?” Eve will do the same thing.
Look at verse 13bThe woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." Eve says that she
ate but she wasn’t responsible for it; the serpent caused it.

Notice what you have in both cases: both admit sin. Eve does not say, ‘I didn’t eat’, she says,
“I ate. And Adam doesn’t say he didn’t eat. Both admit sin, but refuse responsibility for the
choice. See how important this concept of human volition is?

By the way, Adam did worse. Eve said the serpent caused it, Adam said Eve caused it and
added to it blaming God. Ultimately man refuses to accept responsibility for his choice and
ultimately blames God for the whole thing. This is a very important concept.

Notice, by the way, how God responds in verse 14. Does He look at the excuse? No, He
doesn’t breathe a word. He says to each of the parties “Because you have done this”.

So the first two principles under the implications of the right to choose are 1) Freedom to
choose carries with it the responsibility for the choice. Two examples of that are Esau and
Adam. 2) We are not mature in any way until we accept responsibility for these decisions.

Third is a little different turn on the same thing. Our choices reflect what we are. In other
words, you can look at the choices a person makes and reason backwards to what kind of
person he is. Is that valid? Let’s go back to Hebrews 12 and we will see Esau as another
example.

We used verse 17 to show how God held him responsible for what he had chosen. Now we
want to use verse 16 to show how God reasons from the decision made back to the kind of
man he was. In other words there was no real surprise in what Esau did; that was in line with
his character. We often say that God acts in line with His character; so do we! We choose in
line with our character and so did Esau.

Hebrews 12:16
16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold
his birthright.

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How did the author come to the conclusion that Esau was profane? He came to that
conclusion because Esau the choice that Esau made revealed the kind of person that he was.
The word for profane, “bebelos” is a term that basically means accessible to everyone,
consequently it means common, ordinary, or mundane. He looked at his
birthright and it was despised or treated as common. Or, what kind of person was Esau? He
had a low set of values. He just didn’t see what was good and what was evil.

How do we know that Esau had a low set of values? How do you know that they were not
divine viewpoint values? You know by the choice he made. He picked food over his
birthright and that reflects what kind of man he is. Compare in chapter 11 what it revealed
about another man, Moses, in verse 24.

Hebrews 11:24-25
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's
daughter;
25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of
sin for a season;

This was a choice. Why did he choose rightly? He chose rightly because of the kind of man
he was! See verse 26
26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

If Esau had low values, Moses had a high set of divine viewpoint values. We know what
kind of man Moses was because of the kinds of choices he made down in Egypt. We know
what kind of man Esau was because of the kinds of choices Esau made in his experience. As
a matter of fact, if you go through Hebrews 11, all of the “by faith” actions are really choices.
By faith Abraham chose to leave Ur at the request of God, and so forth. Really, I think I
wouldn’t be too hesitant to say that faith is positive choices, positive volition toward God’s
word and God’s truth.

Let’s take this point, that choices reveal what we are, and apply it in a home situation. My 6th
grader was doing fine until he got in this school with all these wild kids and now he’s in
trouble. What do you think? I’m not advocating that there are not certain circumstances
where your child needs more restrictions and higher fences, but couldn’t we say that though
the influence is bad, the 6th grader chose to respond to the bad influence. That’s what we need
to understand. I am not saying that youngsters are not out in a jungle and it might be wise to
draw them in at certain points, but anyone who acted under bad influence opted to respond to
that unless they somehow held a gun to his head all the time and made him do them. There is
always the exercise of option in these things. It is the old saying, bird of a feather flock
together. It’s not biblical, but it’s true. Therefore, our choices reflect what we are in, for
example, what we read, what we find entertaining, whom we choose as heroes, how we
spend our time and how we spend our extra money. All of that is a big commentary, by
choices on what we are.

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Recognizing the full responsibility we have for our choices, can it be said that there are
circumstances we sometimes find ourselves in that we did not pick? The fourth principle is
this, and it’s very important, we as believers may be forced into certain situations in life that
are contrary to our will. It is conceivable in certain circumstances and know that they
are there not because they chose to be there. For example, if we are in a married situation that
is horrible, there is a certain respect in which you can say you made the choice and

are responsible for it. But there are other circumstances that we can be in that we didn’t pick.
For example, a child that is horribly mistreated in his home did not choose to be there. You
can’t say he is responsible for being there, but you can say that he is responsible for his
reactions. We might be in a country that, because you are a Christian, you are put into a
prison camp. Are you there because you chose to be in those horrible circumstances? Of
course not, but you are responsible for how you react to those circumstances. This is saying
that there are certain places where we are not responsible for getting there, but we are 100%
responsible for how we react once we get there. Even here we are responsible for our
reactions to the circumstances. We will have no sense of maturity until we begin to recognize
this fully.

Now, we mentioned a believer in a prison camp and a child in a home where he is mistreated
and I think you have a classic example of someone being in a situation for about 13 years,
one situation after another, that he didn’t have a thing to do about it. It was totally someone
else putting him in a situation that he couldn’t help. But he reacted beautifully. Who are we
talking about? Joseph from age 17 on to age 30 is our example.
Genesis 37 begins this account.

There are several things about the life of Joseph. The life of Joseph teaches two very great
doctrines. Number one, the sovereignty of God does not diminish human responsibility for
choice. The sovereignty of God does not contradict the responsibility of man. Nobody
grasped sovereignty better than Joseph, but he didn’t see it in contradiction to his reactions
and responses in certain circumstances.

The second very important truth is the personal involvement of God in the lives of His
children who are in distasteful circumstances. What we are saying is that Joseph had the
Romans 8:28 concept down cold; he really mastered it. I can really relate to this in the last
two weeks with all the little yucky details that you can’t see God’s personal involvement in. I
could narrate a whole stream of them. Is God involved in those little details? We are going to
find out that Joseph had a strong sense of identity that God is really involved in all those
things. We will cover it more in the future, but let’s look at Genesis chapter 39. Throughout
this chapter you have an interesting expression coming through these verses. What is more
mundane than this statement?

Genesis 39:1
And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the
guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down
thither.

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Now what did Joseph have to do with that? The poor kid got sold to the Midianites and they
sold him to the Ishmaelites. But notice verse 2:

Genesis 39:2
And the LORD was with Joseph,

God was involved with these people selling off this kid. God was personally involved in it.
Notice when you come down to verse 7:

Genesis 39:7-10
And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and
she said, Lie with me.
8 But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with
me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;
9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but
thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
10 And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to
lie by her, or to be with her.

Is God involved in this? Isn’t He busy running the universe? You go through all that narrative
of how she mistreats Joseph and he is honest with his master; he’s honest, he makes the right
choices and so forth, and in verse 21 what do you have?

Genesis 39:21
21 But the LORD was with Joseph

Then Joseph is committed to prison. Is God in the jail? Does He work in mundane things
like that? Well, in verse 23:

Genesis 39:21-23
And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the
doer of it.
23 The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the
LORD made it to prosper.

All the way through this narrative will be this close involvement of God. As we look at the
horrible, terrible things that happen, we will see that Joseph had the mentality that God was
closely involved with him and then we will move from there into the concept of Romans
8:28, which is what he is working with. In all his choices, that was his mentality and he came
out very strong. All of this will be developing for us that we can be under circumstances that
we did not choose, but in these circumstances reactions to it are everything. It wasn’t the
mess that Joseph was in it was the reaction of Joseph. He is held responsible for those
reactions under those circumstances. While many of the circumstances in life are because of
the choices we made, it is still true that we may be in some circumstances that we didn’t
choose.

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You may have a physical problem that you didn’t choose. It is not your mistreatment of your
body, you didn’t choose it, but one thing for sure: we are responsible for the reactions that we
make under those unchosen circumstances so that they are true to God’s word and align with
proper doctrine and the choice of those options when we are under pressure.

We are also going to look at aspects of God’s will. We will break it into God’s direct will, so
that when God gives a command we do it. However, since He allows His will to be
challenged, God also has toward His children what we can call a disciplinary will, whereby if
you are not opting for the right things, His will operates toward us in a disciplinary manner,
as in Corinth. Then coming out of that, and we can all be very grateful for this, that God has
what we might call an overriding will, where we chose in a direction and God closes the
door. He slams the door on an option. I think all of us believers have had occasion for His
overriding will when we made a choice and He knew it would be too costly to us and He
slammed the door.

Father, we are thankful tonight for your truth. We pray we might have the kind of
responsibility, the kind of mentality that we recognize that with the right to choose, which
you in your own sovereign way have given to us, that that carries with it a tremendous load
of responsibility and when we make the wrong choices, as we often do, may we be strong
enough believers to accept the responsibility for the choice and for those circumstances
where we didn’t really opt to move into an area and yet we find ourselves in it and it is
unpleasant and not really things we would like to live in or under the
circumstances would like to live with, may we no cop out and say because the circumstances
are not to our choosing that we are not, therefore, responsible and may we recognize that we
are responsible for reactions in any given set of circumstances so that we may mature into
men and women that make choices that are in line with doctrine and the will of God. In
Christ’s Name. Amen.
Chester McCalley Volition 10

XX. All scripture references are from the King James Version unless
otherwise noted

We are continuing in the biblical concept of the human volition, which is very simply defined
as that God has given man the capacity to choose. We are now into the area of the
implications that come out of our freedom to choose. We are down to the fourth one that we
will be branching off of today.
Since we have the freedom to choose, it carries with it the responsibility for the choice.
Remember than in establishing that we used two examples: 1) Esau. Esau had an option to
sell his birthright for a meal. He chose to sell his birthright, and according to Hebrews 12 he
regretted that choice and he repented with much tears, but nonetheless, God insisted that he
made the choice and he was responsible for that choice and Esau was not granted any
change.

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Probably the best, example, however, is not Esau, but Adam. Adam made a choice and I
don’t think we have any problem saying that when he made that choice, God said he was
responsible for the choice he made. Though, as you recall, one of the features you get with
Adam and Eve, when the choice was made, from Adam on, all of us do everything we can,
consciously or subconsciously to try to dodge the responsibility for that choice. Remember,
Adam did it; Adam said the woman did it. Eve said the serpent did it. Finally, Adam said the
woman that God gave him, which was again shifting responsibility back to God.
What we want to develop throughout this lesson is that we are not only responsible for
choosing our actions; we are also responsible for our reactions. That second one is literally
devastating. This is simply saying that we may be in a situation we did not choose to be in,
but God holds us 100% responsible for the way we react in that given situation. We will
begin to develop these.
This is what tells us who we really are. You can plan your actions to get the reaction that you
want, but you can’t plan a reaction, that is why this is one of the great revealers of what we
are. This all flows out of the fact that with the right to choose we have the responsibility for
the choice.
Second we noted that we are not mature in any sense of the word until we accept full
responsibility for our choices.

Third, we noted that our choices reflect what we are.

We covered all of this previously, but it is important because we are developing it out in our
texts this morning. Please look at Hebrews 12 for an obvious illustration of this. We looked
at Esau earlier, and notice the concept that is embedded here that what we choose reflects
what we really are.
Hebrews 12:16-17
16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold
his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the
blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently
with tears.
In the 17th verse you have the strong point that the choice was made by Esau and God made
him accept responsibility for it. Esau wanted to take back his choice, he wanted to change
things, and apparently he sought out God for a reprieve for his choice. Apparently Esau
approached God and said he made the choice to sell his birthright and change his mind. But,
again, the embedded principle is that when you make a choice you are responsible for it.

In verse 16, notice the idea that our choices reflect what we are.
16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold
his birthright
This was an act of choice and that indicates in verse 16 that he is profane as a person. In
other words, the author of Hebrews draws a conclusion about his character from the choice
that he made. The English word “profane” is a compound word not too closely related to the

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Greek word. “Fane” is an old English word for church. “Pro” means in front of. The idea is
things you don’t do in church. The word in Greek is “bebelos” and it means accessible to
everyone. Thus, common, every-day, mundane, ordinary, nothing special about it is the idea.
Therefore, it is a comment on the value system of Esau. The idea is Esau had a low value
system. He did not see important things and distinguish them from others.
How do you conclude that he had a low value system? The author of Hebrews concludes it
on the basis of one thing: look at the choice he made. Look at the way he used his volition.
He used his volition in a way that reflected that he had a low value system. On the other
hand, look across the page to Moses.
Hebrews 11:24-26
24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's
daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the
passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures
in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
Refusal is an act of your will; it is a choice you make. In verse 25, choosing is the exercise
of volition, just like Esau did. Notice in verse 26 it speaks to Moses’ value system: he would
rather suffer for Christ, that is greater riches. How is that for a value system? The treasures of
Egypt are not as great riches as those of suffering for Christ, and this reflects that Moses had
a higher value system. All of this illustrates the point that our choices reflect what we are. So
that we reflect what we are when we choose what to read, we reflect what we are when we
choose what we call entertaining. We reflect what we are in our character by who our heroes
are, how we spend our time and then, we reflect who we are by the choice of the way we
spend our extra dollars.

The fourth implication of the right to choose is that we, as believers, may be forced into
situation in life that are contrary to our choice, or our will. That can happen. This cannot be
applied to marriage; we weren’t forced into a situation that was not of our own choosing. By
and large, the majority of circumstances in life do not fit this, but it is conceivable that
believers may be forced into situations in life, a set of circumstances that are contrary to their
choosing. For example, a child is a believer who is 12 years old is being mistreated. The
choice to be in that home was not his and he is forced into a situation that is contrary to his
will. The human viewpoint at this point is to say you can’t help it and therefore we will
understand when the reactions that you make that are not good ones, because you really can’t
help being in that situation. Not at all, we are just as responsible for reactions in this situation
as we are for choices in the first place. We will see this over and over again.
Let’s suppose that for being believers we are put in a prison camp. As you sit in the prison
camp, I take it that it was not of your own choosing. You could have denied Christ, I suppose,
but that was really not an option for a genuine believer. So what we are looking at now is a
believer that is forced into a situation that he didn’t have a thing to in the world to do with
and he reacted beautifully. Let’s turn to Genesis 37, the man Joseph.
I’m going to add a little bit to this fourth point, so that we will have these two welded
together. Even here, in a situation that we did not pick, we are fully responsible for our
reactions and our responses to it (the situation. We can’t change the situation, but we can

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respond to it. We have to respond to it. And we can react to it, and we will find out that God
holds us fully responsible for our reactions and responses to the situation. We might add,
incidentally, is that the only way we can respond in the right way is to have a whole lot of
knowledge and doctrine upstairs to direct that response.
Two major doctrines, or truths, are important from the life of Joseph. You see very clearly in
Genesis 37-50 relative to the life of Joseph is the clear understanding that the sovereignty of
God does not lessen the responsibility of man. Let’s go to a quick example in the life of
Joseph in Genesis 41. In the context, God has announced via a vision that there is going to
be 7 years of plenty and 7 years of nothing as far as Egypt was concerned. Now, when God
made that announcement, because He is sovereign and in control you can count on; it’s going
to happen. God is not going to back off and say He was going to announce 7 years of famine,
but something got in the way and He was road-blocked and unable to do what He was going
to do. The sovereignty of God says there will be 7 years of plenty and there will be 7 years of
famine. That is the sovereignty of God toward His creation.
How does that relate to the responsibility of man? Well, notice how Joseph reacted in Genesis
41:34. We know that God is going to act in this sovereign way, so this was Joseph
suggestion:
34 Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the
produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years.

If we go to through the following verses, we will see that Joseph responds with a plan so that
during the 7 good years, we will save up 20% so that when the 7 bad years come we will
have something to eat. What is he doing? He is taking responsibility to save for his own
survival and at the same time, he fully recognizes, probably as few men in the Old Testament
did, the complete sovereignty of God in control. That is an important lesson.
The second very, very important lesson is the personal involvement of God with the believer
in circumstances not of that believers choosing and how that believer can react under those
circumstances and come out beautifully. Let’s go back to Genesis chapter 37. The first thing
we need to realize is that Joseph did not choose his circumstances. As we come to chapter
37, the first thing we could put down as part of the circumstances of Joseph is that he was
barely 16 and his mother died. What choice did Joseph have in the loss of his mother? He
didn’t have a choice, so he was in a set of circumstances that was not his choosing. What
could Joseph do? He could choose how to react. Do you suppose it is possible that God
would hold Joseph responsible for the way he reacted? You bet. Just like He holds us fully
responsible if someone comes up and unjustly clobbers us with a baseball bat. That’s wrong,
it’s sin, but we are 100% responsible for the response that we register, for the reaction that we
have toward that event.
Genesis 37:4
4 But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated
him and could not speak peaceably to him.
Basically what you have here is the choice of Jacob. Jacob chose to favor Joseph. You have
the choice of the brothers to hate Joseph. All of this equals the circumstances of Joseph. In

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other words, we can put these two factors together, the choice of Jacob to love him and treat
him in a favorable way and the choice of the brothers to respond by hating him and Joseph
has nothing to do with that, but they equal the circumstances of Joseph.
Genesis 37:5
5 Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more.
Joseph dreamed a dream. Do you think he chose to? Now you have the choice of God,
because the dream was a vehicle whereby God revealed the truth to him and that was the
particular place that Joseph was going to have. The choice of God combined with the choice
of the brothers equals the circumstances of Joseph. I don’t think we need to belabor the point
that these are not really pleasant circumstances.
Genesis 37:20
20 Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, 'Some
wild beast has devoured him.' We shall see what will become of his dreams!"
What had Joseph done of his own choice? His father gave him a favored position. God put
him in a favored position. Joseph didn’t choose this.

Genesis 37:28
28 Then Midianite traders passed by; so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of
the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to
Egypt.
Doesn’t this all add up to one fabulous excuse on Joseph’s part for the way he was? After all,
your brothers hate you. They sell you, and when they sell you the people the people they sold
you to sell you again.
Genesis 37:36
36 Now the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain
of the guard.
What did Joseph have to do with all this? All Joseph was doing was walking in obedience to
God and as a result he gets sold twice, he is down in Egypt, he gets thrown in a pit, his
brothers hate him and they want to kill him. Now that is a set of circumstances, and may we
say today that our modern thinking would definitely say that Joseph is not responsible. Isn’t
that our thinking today? If you knew my background… Or the kid stole some apples, but he
was raised in Harlem, and that’s the way they did it in Harlem… It’s all related to
environmental situation and again, from maturity, for a believer that is garbage. I don’t care if
your parents beat you 40 times a day when you were growing up, that doesn’t have anything
to do with your present situation as far as responsibility it concerned and as far as reaction is
concerned. It may be an explanation for tough circumstances, but never, never is it an excuse.
Incidentally, you might as well figure spiritually, until we are all ready to say there is my
background, but I am fully responsible for how I am acting today; I am responsible to the
way I am responding today, you might as well forget maturity. It will never happen.

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This is very hard. This is one of the difficult sections to teach, because quite frankly I feel a
little bit guilty teaching it. I feel guilty because every time I make a point I see myself doing
these things. We are all in the same boat together, but that has nothing to do with the truth of
Scripture. If the truth of Scripture embarrasses us all to tears, what are we to do? We are to
assert the truth of Scripture and respond to it.
We can take these things that we have just listed put them on a chronological line. They
started when he was 17 and these horrible circumstances can be traced out up through age 30.
In Genesis 40:23 you have another factor and this was not Joseph’s choice.
Genesis 40:23
23 Yet the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.
And at the end of chapter 41, verse 46:

Gen 41:46-47
46 Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph
went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.
And from this point on it is basically prosperous for Joseph. If you want to go back and
establish it on your own, go from chapter 31 through chapter 41 and notice all of the things
that happened to Joseph that he did not choose in any sense of the word.
Now, what about Joseph’s reaction under these circumstances? Joseph reacted on the basis of
two very basic principles. Number one, Joseph in his mentality recognized that God was
personally involved in all of these circumstances. The reason I stress “personally” is that
when we started this study we said that there is a sort of neo-Calvinism around today that
asserts the sovereignty of God, but I think there is one serious defect in it. It is the
sovereignty of a God who is so far removed that He is not treated as personally involved with
me. The Old Testament treats God as sovereign, but personally involved? How about
Abraham in Genesis 19 when God says he is going to destroy Sodom? What does Abraham
do? He argues with God! That is a personal involvement. And here, Joseph recognizes the
personal involvement of God. This is difficult. When God does some great obvious thing, we
all say God was in that. But how about this little stuff? This is where it gets hard.
How about Potiphar’s wife? This is where it gets tough; Potiphar’s wife approaches Joseph.
God wouldn’t involve Himself in that ick, would He? Well, that wasn’t Joseph’s mentality.
He saw God very definitely in it. Some jealous brothers sell their brother to the Midianites.
God isn’t involved in that, is He? Yes He is. And that is the mentality Joseph has.
I went over my woes this week, about an accident I had. It took a whole afternoon for the
report, etc., I had an argument with an insurance person and we hung up on each other. God’s
not in all those little details is He? It’s hard to identify with God in the presence of all these
little details, but we are going to find out that in the life of Joseph he very much understood
the personal involvement of God.
Genesis 39:1-2

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Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of
the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there.
That was just a plain, mundane, no-good, rotten circumstance of selling off your brother. But
look at verse 23 and tell me if God is in this?
Genesis 39:23
23 The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph's authority,
because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made it prosper.
Well, Yahweh was with Joseph. He was being sinned against and you can imagine the
Ishmaelites bartering over him. Is God in that? You bet and Joseph understood that. The

Lord was with Joseph and he was prosperous. In verse 3 his master saw that Yahweh was
with him. In verse 5, Yahweh blessed his master’s house for Joseph’s sake, and the blessing
of Yahweh was on all that were in the house and in the field.
By the way, all of this wrong that was done toward Joseph from the outside did nothing to
him because Joseph had it together on the inside. He had a mentality that said God was
personally involved in all of the things that were done to him. It didn’t have to be things that
were pleasant – they were unpleasant, unjust, sinful circumstances and God was seen as
involved with these circumstances in His relationship with Joseph.
You have had up to this point the narrative of how Potiphars’s wife attempts to seduce Joseph
starting back at verse 7 and then, Joseph flees from the house, but she grabs the garment and
takes it to her husband and tells him that Joseph had attacked her, offering the garment as
proof, when she had really stolen it from him. That’s low! But notice at the end of the
narrative:
Genesis 39:21
21 But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the
sight of the keeper of the prison.
And in verse 23:
Genesis 39:23
23 The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph's authority,
because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made it prosper.
So the mentality of Joseph is that God is involved in all of these things.
Principle number two: Joseph had a Romans 8:28 mentality and applied it. Go over to
chapter 45 to establish that point. Notice here that Joseph is going to tell us what is going on
upstairs over all these years through these terrible circumstances. What theology does Joseph
have as he looks back on what happened to him? How does he react to that?
Genesis 45:4-8
4 And Joseph said to his brothers, "Please come near to me." So they came near. Then he
said: "I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 But now, do not therefore be
grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to
preserve life. 6 For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five

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years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7 And God sent me before you to
preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 So
now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and
lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
He could have said, ‘Now I’ve got you! Off with your head!’ If he had done that do you think
it would have been justified? I could see him doing that. Didn’t these brothers have
something coming for their horrible treatment of him? But that wasn’t Joseph’s mentality. He
was in Romans 8:28 in regard to his circumstances. Therefore, he saw the hand of God in all
of these things.

That is the difference between maturity and immaturity. Immaturity looks at these messy
circumstances and does not see the hand of God. Maturity looks at this mess and sees God in
it. You may be in a set of circumstances right now that is not of your own choosing and it is
terrible. See the difference in stability is how you look at it. If you are going to look at it from
a standpoint of immaturity, you will not see God personally involved in it. If you can look at
it from the standpoint of maturity and see God’s hand involved in it, you will have a whole
different set of reactions. The human reaction to a situation like Joseph’s would be to lop
their heads off, but he is not giving a human reaction. He is reacting from the divine
viewpoint. What is divine viewpoint? Look at verse 5:
5 But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here;
for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For these two years the famine has been in the
land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7
And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your
lives by a great deliverance. 8 So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has
made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of
Egypt.
Notice his viewpoint is then summed up in two things. We are not calling this Joseph’s
actions because we are preserving the idea that he did not choose his circumstances. He is in
circumstances outside of his choice and he is reacting to them. The reaction can be either a
human reaction of it can be based on doctrine. His is based on the doctrine that God is
involved. The concept of God’s ability to take all of these things and work them together for
something very, very good is really true. That is the way Joseph reacted to his brothers. So
that if you do the wrong thing to me, by that mentality I react in a totally different way than I
would otherwise.
Let’s ask this: how do you react to ugly, unjust, sinful, rotten, no-good circumstances? That
is a very essential understanding for our own stability. Don’t fool yourself that these things
can be excuses for wrong reactions. How often do we say that we were unjustly treated and
that is why the reaction is all right? We think we have a right to be aggressive or mopey
because of these things. They are wrong and sinful and they were done to you, but you are
making excuses for your reactions. As long as you do that you will stew and mope until you
recognize that you have the responsibility for your reactions and those reactions involve
choices. Joseph chose to recognize that the doctrine was really true:

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God is sovereign and he opted to make that part of his mentality. He opted to recognize that
God can make these things come together for good. He got that in his knowledge and in his
knowledge he got in control of his life and therefore gained some maturity.

Chester McCalley Volition 11

All scripture references are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted

Joseph had a Romans 8:28 type of mentality. All of this lesson is coming off of one basic
principle, and that is principle number 4, which is the implications of the right to choose, that
being that we, as believers, may be forced into situations in life that may be contrary to our
will. The important thing here is that, being in a situation contrary to our will, we are still
fully responsible for every reaction we make under that particular set of circumstances.

We used Joseph as an example of being in a set of circumstances that he didn’t pick, he


didn’t choose to be approached by Potiphar’s wife. This was not of his choosing at all,
however, he was responsible for the reactions and response under that. We then noted that
very often Joseph’s reactions fell in the category that he recognized that God was personally
involved in all of these things. They were unpleasant, they were unjust and they were sinful,
but that is never an excuse for an improper response and until we get the mentality that sees
that, we really will not get a stability like Joseph had, and therefore, we turn to the concept in
Romans 8:28.

The set of circumstances that we are talking about is a set of circumstances that we did not
choose, and usually the one that we did not choose are very unpleasant circumstances. This is
a very difficult thing to get across. First, let’s do the exegesis of Romans 8:28.
Romans 8:28
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who
are the called according to His purpose.
The first thing we need to say about is that Romans 8:28 is the same kind of thing as the life
of Joseph, or it is the same setting as that of Joseph, namely unpleasant circumstances.
Romans 8:28 really is a verse that is couched in a context of unpleasant circumstances.
Notice that the context of Romans 8:28 is sin and suffering and miserable circumstances. It is
not in a setting of pleasant things. Let’s establish that; go back to Romans 8:18
Romans 8:18
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the
glory which shall be revealed in us.
It is a context of present time suffering.
Romans 8:20
20 For the creation was subjected to futility…
That is not a pleasant circumstance; that is part of the sin and bondage circumstance.

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Romans 8:21
21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption
Bondage, slavery, deterioration…that’s not pleasant, is it?
Romans 8:22
22 For we know that the whole creation groans…

Maybe one telling word for the setting for Romans 8:28 is it is in a setting of groans; it is a
groans context. We will find that we have three entities that are groaning, or where the word
“groan” is used. We will find that creation groans in the context of Romans 8.

Romans 8:23
3 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan
within ourselves,

Creation groans and believers groan.


Romans 8:26
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses…the Spirit Himself makes intercession
for us with groanings…

Why would this be? Creation looks at what is going to be and what is and says these are
horrible circumstances. The believer looks at what is going to be and looks at what is and
says we are in up to our necks! This is a groaning, moaning universe. The Holy Spirit looks
at the time that believers and creation will be made what it ultimately is going to be because
of the cross work of Christ, and the Holy Spirit also groans because of the present. So, we are
in a big “groan” context.
I would say that this fits over Joseph’s life. Genesis chapter 7 says his brothers hate him.
How would you respond if you were Joseph? I would respond with a groan. He gets sold and
mistreated, they try to kill him – isn’t that a context which would dictate a groaning? So
Romans 8:28 is parallel to this because we have an identical setting between the two. The
teaching will be that we can’t control the groan context, but we can control and are fully
responsible to our responses and reactions to it. In order to do so, we need Romans 8:28.
Therefore, we start with our first word in the exegesis of what is being said. The first thing
we need to deal with is the words “for we know”. “We know” is used in Paul’s writings
about 30 times. If you will trace through those 30 times you will find that there is a meaning
behind it when Paul says “for we know that”. “We know” is used to introduce common
knowledge among taught believers. It is possessed by taught believers. In all 30 contexts it
means this. When Paul introduces by saying “we know” he is referring to some kind of
common body of information that if you have been taught at all by an apostle, if you have
listened at all to Peter, this is common knowledge to you. Or if you have been exposed to the
preaching of Paul, this is common knowledge. Verse 28, then, is introducing a category of
truth and he is simply saying at the beginning of verse 28 that if you have listened to his
teaching, then you understand what this is all about. He flags it by saying, ‘here comes an

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ordinary concept by taught believers’. We might say it is a common knowledge, but I don’t
think it has common application. Most taught believers do know Romans 8:28 and I think
that we can fairly say that, but it is not commonly applied at all.

Second, the word “oida” is used and it is a word used of knowledge, not learned from
experience, but knowledge based on fact. It could be the kind of word that would be used for
‘we know that 2 plus 2 equals 4’. It is demonstrable fact and this is what Paul is talking
about. We know a certain fact in this context.

Also it is first in the sentence in the Greek, and thus emphatic. That means this is not to be
whined, which is often the way Romans 8:28 is stated. Everything is going to pieces,
everything is a big groan, and we say with a whine, ‘well, remember, all things….’ As though
there is nothing else we can do, so we might as well grab Romans 8:28 and put it in. Paul
says, right off, don’t read it that way. The punch line of Romans 8:28 is the verb “oidamen”
– “For we know”. This is common knowledge based on fact and we are very emphatic about
what we know.

The next part of the sentence involves a translation decision. If you have known Romans
8:28 for 20, 30 or 40 years, and have used it on many occasions, let me give you some good
news, though the first part of it may sound bad, the second part is good. If you have used
Romans 8:28 based on King James translation, you have a very weak translation of Romans
8:28, and you have a very impersonal Romans 8:28. It all revolves

around ‘all things work together’. If we have used the King James translation, we must say
we are using a mistranslation. The text does not say that all things work together. In the
Greek, ‘all things’ is “panta” and work together is one word: “sunergei”. A little technical
information will help us get through the verse.

First of all, this word “panta” is plural. And, “panta” can be one of two things: it can be a
plural nominative, or it can be a plural accusative. In other words, the word “panta” can be
the subject or it can be the object. The King James Version opted for the nominative case. In
other words, “all things” is the subject of working together; it is not the things that is the
object of it.

Second, “sunergei” is present indicative singular. Why can the King James Version not be
right? “All things” is plural. It should be ‘all things - they work together’; it can’t be ‘all
things – it works together’. That would be like saying ‘all things – it works together’. That’s
not correct, so we can say the King James Version is incorrect because this is a singular thing.

What can we do with that, then? Can we make “panta” the direct object? It’s in the
accusative case. Let’s turn it around and put it this way: you could translate it ‘he works
together all things’. This makes ‘all things’ the object. The New American says it this way:

Romans 8:28
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good… (NASU)

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We could add a little more evidence. The King James comes from what is called the
Byzantine Text. The Critical Text has the words “ha theos” in there: God. So the important
thing here is that the subject is God. Which is the more personal? “All things work together”
or “He, God, works all things together”? You see the personal effect we get. The important
thing is that God is the subject of the verb. He is the one who does all the working together of
these things.

Now, if He works all of these things together, what direction is He working them in? The
Greek is again very emphatic. In verse 28, the words “for good” are this: ‘for’ is the
preposition “eis”, which is inevitably ‘direction toward’. It is where things are going. Like
we put our faith directed toward Christ. In this context, God takes all things and He works
them and directs them toward good. Now that is hard to get hold of.

When my cars were down, someone let me use his this week, but that person didn’t tell me
that had an auto-_ honk on it. I got into the commuter traffic and I was in the left lane,
making a turn behind a woman who had a bunch of kids in the car and turned the wheel in a
certain way and the horn started blowing. She was uptight to begin with and this horn started
honking. She didn’t understand that I had not done this. By the end of the week I was ready
to cut every wire under the hood of the car so that it wouldn’t honk again. Nonetheless, I
didn’t cause these circumstances. Here is a woman glaring at me, and it’s pretty tough in
those circumstances to see that God is involved in it. He wouldn’t have me glowered at by
someone! The emphasis is that God is able to take all of these little messes and circumstances
that you can’t see His hand in and bring them around to something that is very good.

Now, when you talk about God bringing things to good, we must remember two things. One,
God is the source of good, but He is more than that. He is also the definer of good. So that we
are absolutely assured that God’s personal involvement is working – present tense – together
all the time all of these things in the direction of good as He defines good. That is important
because for all things to work together for good, we could define “good” as my maximum
comfort. That is not the point. What is the “good” in the context? Look at verse 29:

29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son,

We see all of these isolated things, and the emphasis is that we ought to see behind them
God, who encompasses all of this mess with the verb “sunergei” – works together – and it
equals good, ultimately, which is that we will be made into the image of His Son. Can you
see, if we have this mentality, what our reaction is going to be? It is going to be continual
lashing out at things, being depressed over things until we can back off and see the big
picture. The big picture is God bringing all these things together in a way that is important.
We talk about the importance of defining good from God’s standpoint, and that applies to
everything. We have been so effected by sin that we cannot even define it. That is why we
have Romans 1, 2 and 3. Why does Paul take the time to define sin for us? He
defines sin for us because God cannot assume that the man that is submerged in the problem
will understand what the problem is.

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Let’s look at Proverbs 6:16-19 for another example. We are so involved in the sin problem
that we cannot even define sin, and therefore we need God to define it for us. In this passage,
God gives a list of things that are big to Him. I don’t think we can say these things in verses
16-19 represent human consensus.

Proverbs 6:16-19
16 These six things the LORD hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
17 A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
19 A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.

Verse 18 says “A heart that devises wicked plans.” If you keep these under the lid, it’s not
bad, is it? Just a mental attitude that is plotting and planning bad things for people can’t be
bad, can it, as long as you don’t do it? Well, God doesn’t look at it that way; He looks at the
very mental attitude.

“Feet that are swift in running to evil” Do you love to get involved in tragedy?

“And one who sows discord among brethren.” This is a person who is divisive in any way.
And these do not represent a human consensus list. They don’t make a consensus list because
we are so involved in the sin problem that we cannot even define the sin.

Back to Romans 8:28…We really stepped a little further than we should have in asking what
is good? Good is our being conformed to the image of Christ, but notice we left out one word
we need to deal with. We are assured that God works continually together in the direction of
good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose. There are two things we
need to add, and the qualifiers are that you have the believer from two views. You have the
believer defined from the human side and you have the believer defined from the divine side.
The believer from the human side is “them that love the Lord”. The believer from the divine
side is “called according to His purpose”. Notice that we are looking for the mentality in the
life of a believer that is walking with the Lord in verse 28. Notice the last words, that is you
have a regulating factor in God’s dealing, in working all these things together. What rule does
God go by? Well, it says “according to His purpose”. Purpose is prothesis; two words: thesis
(thought) and pro (fore). They go together into one Greek term, “to use predetermined
designed, or intelligent plan”. With that we can read the 28th verse:

“We emphatically know (common truth among believers) that God works together
continually for and in the direction of good for them that love God (the human side) and
them who are the called according to His intelligent design.”
What is he saying there? He is adding the idea that it is not a problem with God to take all of
these scattered incidences and all of these scattered circumstances and bring them together in

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an intelligent design. Let’s look at an illustration. Suppose you have a kitchen table and
sitting on the table you have a cup of flour, a stick of butter, some salt and pepper and a garlic
bud. If you take each of those things individually and how would you like to sit down and
eat a cup of flour for lunch? Can you think of anything more distasteful, if you could swallow
it? You would say this is terrible, it sticks in my throat and I can’t talk anymore. Or how
about the garlic bud? Would you say you love to chew garlic buds? How about a stick of
butter…How about a tablespoon of pepper? Each of those things by themselves is absolutely
irksome, but get a good chef on the job and he know how to sunergei. He knows how to
proportion each ingredient so that they work together and you get a delicious dish. So the
basic concept is this: Here is a circumstance that by itself is not pleasant at all; it’s a big cup
of flour in my life. The point is that we have to have the kind of mentality that sees that God
is able to take all of those things, as a master “chef” and bring them together for good. We
can’t do that; we must be assured, however, that God can do that.

There is a difference right here between a mature believer and an immature believer. It’s real
simple: the immature believer sees only the mess. The mature believer sees God’s hand in it.
So all of Joseph’s brothers are shaking in their boots as they stand in front of him, because
they don’t see the good, they only see that they sold him and abused him. They can see all of
that, but they don’t see God at all. But Joseph says, hey, relax. In fact, there is a word used in
the Hebrew text that says they were standing like stones before Joseph. The reason they were
stone stiff is that they didn’t see God at all. They saw all the mess and all the things they had
done, and Joseph said, ‘don’t be grieved, don’t be angry with yourselves and let me give you
my perspective and my reactions to all these things.’ Joseph might look at his brother Reuben
and say, ‘Reuben, you have guilt over the time you threw me in the pit. Let me tell you the
way I see it, so you can relax. I saw God throwing me in the pit. That’s why I’m stable and
relaxed and why I can tell you to relax.’

That’s why Joseph doesn’t have all those squirrelly, crazy reactions of a kid that was
mistreated when he was little. You don’t see anything unstable about Joseph. Do you see any
aggression toward his brothers? He’s relaxed; in fact several times before this revelation in
chapter 45 of Joseph to his brothers of who he was, they would come down and he had some
fun with them. He would get a sack of food and put some item in it that was common to him
and common to them. You can imagine that Joseph is having a good time. Probably saying to
his wife, ‘when my brother, who gave me such a bad time, gets home with that sack, he is
really going to be surprised to find the king’s gold cup in there’. He probably had a good
laugh over it. Why was he relaxed? He was relaxed because he was able to see the personal
involvement of God in all these circumstances, therefore his reactions are a little humor, a
little fun, plenty of stability, and he is able to tell his
brothers that he is not going to react to them with wrath, because his reaction pattern is
determined by his theology. And his theology says that God is in control of all these things,
and therefore his reactions are controlled in every sense of the word.

Look at chapter 37 to trace the force of it. Later on we will get into some of my favorite
things. One of them is when I have had a very busy day and there was something at the house
that I was to have done. She has infinite patience about something like that until I decide to
do it. I could go 3 months without cleaning the garage, but when I mark think to myself as

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soon as I have supper I’m going to clean the garage, she will say, ‘when in the world are you
going to clean the garage?’ That gives me an opportunity to react and one of the most sin-
nature satisfying things is to have a busy day, be two bites into the meal, and piously push it
back and say, well you ruined my meal. What I am really saying is I’m not in control, you are
running my life. Have you ever done such a thing? Remember, ‘you ruined my day’ says I’m
not in control. If I were in control, you couldn’t ruin my day. All of this is rooted back in
Romans 8:28 mental attitude, theology and doctrine.

Just to show that Joseph was the kind of man who could see all of this stuff, let’s list the
circumstances:

Genesis 37:5 – Joseph dreamed a dream, told it to his brothers and they hated him. Is it right
for them to hate him? It’s unjust, isn’t it? When you are treated unjustly, do you have a right
to retaliate? You can, and often do, but there is another option, and that is the Romans 8:28
mentality.

Genesis 37:8 – They hated him more because he was to rule over them. They were resisting
God’s truth; they were sinning. How did Joseph look at? The better mentality than retaliation
is to recognize that God can take all of these things and work them together for good. The
issue with Joseph, therefore, was not his attitude toward his brothers; the issue is his attitude
toward God.

Genesis 37:18 – They conspired against him.

Genesis 37:24 – They cast him into a pit.

Genesis 37:28 – They sold Joseph to the Midianites. That’s degrading, isn’t it? That’s
justification, isn’t it, to have a few neuroses. Sure, but neuroses are always the result of
choices. The statement “I can’t help how I feel” is nonsense. You bet you can help it. It is
because of a choice here and a choice there that led you to the way you feel at the present
moment. Joseph just didn’t engage in that kind of thinking. I think we could give him a
million reasons for being neurotic, but he wasn’t because he made the right choices and his
choices were determined by his thoughts and his thoughts were filled with doctrine. We are
going to find out that coming out of this area of self-control in 2 Peter 1:6 that he is going to
talk about how in our knowledge we need to develop self-control. The sequence is very
interesting, because it is the knowledge that leads us to the ability to control ourselves in
every sense of the word.

I think it is fair to say that we are not born with this kind of attitude are we? We have to learn
it. There is another man who learned it. His name is Paul. If we put a line representing the
life of Paul and block off a period of four years in his life that is a period that he was in jail.
The reason he was in jail was because of sin, rebellion and hatred of the word of God. The
intent of jailing him was to hurt him.

There he is in this set of circumstances and he is responsible for his reaction to it. Do you
know what came out of those four years? Out of those four years came the greatest

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Christology in the New Testament, namely the letters to the Ephesians, Philippians and
Colossians. I think it is very interesting that out of this period in Paul’s life when his rights
were violated, his comfort was violated, his right to sustenance – some of his books were
written to thank the believers for sending down somebody to keep him from starving to
death. I’m sure all the Christians were wringing their hands, thinking the gospel couldn’t go
out because Paul was

in jail. How could he preach? How could he get the gospel throughout the entire Empire?
How could he give us doctrines? Well, God would put him in the worst circumstances and
gave him all this truth if he would react the proper way. Ephesians shows how he was
reacting. Look at Philippians 1:12. Philippians 1:12 has a Romans 8:28 concept in it. Paul is
in jail and they are doing all they can to make life miserable for Paul and he gives his
viewpoint. Recognizing that his unpleasant circumstances may be interpreted by Christians to
be a real setback for the gospel, he says:

Philippians 1:12
But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned
out for the furtherance of the gospel…

Were these pleasant things that happened to him? What makes up the things that happened to
Paul? What category do they go into? They include jail, deprivation, sinful acts and so forth.
Anything that is bad. The word for “has happened” is interesting; it is the preposition kata
(down) and eme (me), so it means things down on me. All the things that have come down
upon Paul have fallen out actually, which suggests contrast. Rather than what you would
expect out of these circumstances didn’t happen. Rather than being sinned against and this
being horrible, rather than being placed in jail and the gospel not going forth, it hasn’t
worked out that way at all. It has fallen out rather to the furtherance of the gospel. So Paul
recognized that the four year imprisonment not only is the opportunity for these great
christological epistles, but it is also the basis by which God was able to take all of this muck
put it together, mix it together and make a beautiful dish. So, what men intended for good
evil, God turned around and made it all turn out for good.

That leads us to, then, the biblical doctrine of self-control. Or you might say, “Who runs my
life?” First of all, when we talk about self-control you might have a struggle recognizing this
as a biblical doctrine, because we often talk about what is the essence of the Christian life
being the control of the Holy Spirit, not self-control. Well, let us establish first of all that this
is a biblical doctrine. The first thing we need to see is that
self-control is a biblical word. It is the word egkrateia. The word egkrateia is made up of
krateia that means power, and the eg on the front is the preposition en. The meaning of it is
the idea of controlled power emerging from within a person.

You will notice that so far we have talked about the human will, but unless I have slipped,
you have not heard my say that man has will power. I am doing that intentionally, because
the idea of the will of the believer is not associated in Scripture with power. The will is
associated in Scripture with responsibility. The reason for that is that when we come to

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Romans 6: 1-11 the power is in the Cross. The responsibility in the will to let not the sin
nature will. The idea of this biblical word is a controlling power that emerges from within.

This may seem contradictory to Christianity, and by the way to some Christianity it is
contradictory. It is not contradictory to biblical Christianity. Biblical Christianity says I am to
be in control of my life and you are to be in control of your life. If you think it contradicts,
let’s look at the things that give us problems. Would you argue with the fact that it is not self-
effort that makes it in the Christian life? It is not self-effort but God who produces in us. We
have been taught that, we’ve been over it and seen it in the New Testament and anybody that
is at all acquainted with Paul’s writings is not going to quibble with that. Salvation is not self-
effort. The Christian life is not a bunch of self-effort, it is God that produces in us. Then how
are we going to live with self-control? Yet the word is there and is very much a biblical
concept. This is no contradiction to it, or we can ask, how does self-control relate to the
filling of the Spirit? How does self-control relate to the Spirit’s control?

This is really big and we need to concentrate on this area. Most teaching in this area is so
mushy. You will hear people say, you are only the glove through which God works, therefore
you become passive and inactive and you begin to develop some very unhealthy, mystical
attitudes toward the Christian life. We are going to see from this passage that we are
supposed to be in the driver’s seat. You are not, circumstances are not, I am in the driver’s
seat. We will see how that aligns with the biblical concept of self-control. We will begin the
next lesson with the negative concept, which is who runs my life? We will go to two common
options. I realize the pious option, but I am asking who, on the moment-by-moment runs
your life? You can’t give an absolute, because, even though we know what it ought to be –
the Spirit controls – we have moment-by-moment reactions.

Father, we are thankful again for Your truth. We pray that you will help us to be very strong
in relationship to ourselves and face the fact that by our very nature we love to shirk
responsibility. We love to look at the nature of the thing that happened and justify our
reaction, even if it wasn’t a Christian reaction. We pray that as we continue our study tonight,
we will be able to see into ourselves and be able to straighten out some of the difficulties that
we often have because we don’t have our lives under control. They are under the control of
someone or something else, and therefore help us to each recognize the tremendous content
that we are about to look at in terms of getting our lives under control. We ask this in Christ’s
Name. Amen.
Chester McCalley Volition 12

XXI. All scripture references are from the King James Version unless
otherwise noted

In the area of decision making, the area of volition, the area of choice, if you would like to
have a question to work over during the week, here is a real killer, one you can ask yourself
in the morning when you are beginning your day, and then to ask yourself in the evening:

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What deserves priority today? Don’t answer that question immediately, just write it down. At
the end of the day, answer this question: Did the items deserving priority today get it? If you
have the nerve to ask it and write it down, I think you will find a great deal of enlightenment.
Don’t become discouraged over it, but I think it does begin to focus on why some of us don’t
really make the progress we ought to. We simply are not seeing the priorities as they ought to
be.
Now we want to cover the area of the biblical doctrine of self-control, or as we said, the idea
of who controls my life. That is what we are really asking: who controls my life? The first
category that we want to look at under this doctrine of self-control is to simply ask the
question: Is this a biblical concept? In other words, does true biblical teaching talk about self-
control or not? The answer would come from 1) the word occurs in the Bible. We are going
to be looking at that word in three places:
Galatians 5:23.For King James users, this word gets obscured by the fact that it is usually
translated “temperate”, but I think New American Standard comes across and does translate
the word as self-control.
In 2 Peter 1:6 we are definitely told that it is to be present and we are told what it can flow
from.
Finally in Titus 1:8. It is given as a requirement for an overseer or a bishop or a
pastor/teacher.
So the word occurs in Scripture and is a definite concept. So if we ask, is self-control
biblical, our answer is this: it is a fruit of the Spirit. 2 Peter 1:6 says in the road from faith up
to the climax of Christian character, which is agape, or love, one of the steps along the way is
that you must learn self-control. In Titus 1:8, it is a requirement for an overseer.
Then second, it is the word egkrateia. Remember that is a compound word, divided this way:
krateia means power and it has the preposition en on the front of it. The idea that comes from
this word is controlled power that emerges from within. If we were going to take the word
literally, power from within, what is a good English expression of having power with control
coming from within? It is our English word self-control. I believe the New American
Standard version consistently translates it as self-control, which is a good translation of that
biblical word.
So, is it a biblical concept? Well, the Bible talks about it as a fruit of the Spirit and tells us
that we need to have self-control. Now, the problem that comes from that, and it’s easy to
understand, is the word “self”. We all ask, ‘what? Self is in control of the life?’ The problem
emerges from the fact that the Christian life is not self-effort, but rather the concept that God
produces in us. So you can easily look at this concept of self-control and say it’s all off base,
because it is God that controls us and not we that control ourselves. Then you would ask how
that relates to Romans 12:1 which says that we are to present
our bodies, or that we are to yield our bodies to Him. Even if we can’t answer that question
right now, it has to work in, doesn’t it, because of two things. First, it is a biblical injunction
that we have it, and that is what the word means (egkrateia = self-control). Second, it is
certainly true that it is His production in us, and we want to see how these two things tie

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together. We are asking how does self-control relate to the Spirit’s control? We will try to get
some answers to that.
If we have a problem between the Spirit’s control and self-control, let me tell you why we
have the problem. It is a very simple solution: we have the problem because we have not
defined self-control by biblical definition. So that, it is possible to talk about a person who is
not even a Christian and say he has lots of self-control. That would be decent, you can’t say
that only Christians have self-control and unbelievers don’t. We need to get the definition
from the biblical standpoint. Let me give you a concept that is very important in
interpretation of the Bible.
For every word in Scripture there is a human viewpoint definition. There is even a human
viewpoint description of God, isn’t there? Ask you next-door neighbor to say a few things
about God. Do you think it will be accurate? This really is an important point. The reason
behind that is very simple: Satan is a Bible teacher. When he approached Eve in the Garden,
he used the Bible, didn’t he? When he approached Christ in the temptation in Matthew
Chapter 4, he used the Bible, and only the Bible. He misused it, but keep in mind there is a
human viewpoint interpretation for every one, therefore, the job of a good teacher is to do
two things.
Number 1: Identify biblical words that have been defined by human viewpoint.
Number 2: To define them [words] by biblical usage.
That is why, for example, if we ask somebody to tell us what love means. I don’t mean this
with arrogance, but I wouldn’t be interested! I would like to know, if we are going to talk
about love, how it is defined in this book, the Bible. If the person defined love and said love
is used in the following places in the Bible, then you would begin to listen, but by and large
you would not.
Let me illustrate this principle of how there is a human viewpoint definition for every word
in the Bible and how serious this is. We can use the Bible all the way to hell using human
viewpoint definitions of words. For example, let’s use John 2:19 to show just how important
it is to understand what the Bible means by a word. These are ones you are aware of, but I
want you to realize that the readers took a word of God, put a human viewpoint definition to
it and missed the whole passage.
John 2:19
19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it
up.
Did they understand the word “temple”? How did they understand it? They took that word
“temple” and gave it a human viewpoint definition. They thought of the bricks and the
stones that made up the physical temple. Is that what He meant? Is that what the word
“temple” means here?
Look over at John 3:3
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again,
he cannot see the kingdom of God.

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How did he interpret that word “born”, correctly or incorrectly? He interpreted it in the
physical realm and that was not what Jesus meant at all; that was a human viewpoint
definition that was not the true meaning.
John 4:15
15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to
draw.
Does she have the right understanding of the word “water”? That isn’t what He meant by
“water” at all.
John 6:27-28
27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto
everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father
sealed.
28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

Now, what He meant by “work” and what they meant by “work” – were they the same thing?
Not at all, they completely misunderstood what He meant by work. In verse 29 He is defining
words:
John 6:29
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom
he hath sent.
Why do you think He had to define the word “work”? Very simply that they had attached the
human viewpoint definition to the word “work” and Christ has to come back and define it for
them: to work is to believe.
Here is a safe rule for you: Approach all Bible study with the conscious realization that my
mentality has been conditioned by Satan’s cosmos (where we live) to misinterpret every
word in this book. That is why we try to take time to define self-control from the Scriptures.
Don’t Satan and God both use the word love? Do they define it the same? Don’t they both
use the word salvation? Do they use it the same? We went to the humanist manifesto; they
talk about man’s salvation. Do they mean the same thing the Bible does? Of course not, it’s
an entirely different meaning. We always want biblical definition.
Let’s begin then, with the biblical aspects of “self-control”.

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
This is the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,
goodness, faith, meekness – then in the King James version, we have the word temperance
which is egkrateia, the inner power to control our lives, or self-control. Just on the face of the
passage, what can we say as a first aspect of self-control? It is this: self- control is not
contrary to, but a product of the Holy Spirit, so that we shouldn’t think of self-control as

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something that is fighting His control. It is in harmony with it. So that this passage clearly
indicates that.
One of the reasons we get confused here is that whenever we think of the control of the
Spirit, we inevitably think that the Holy Spirit is controlling me without. That is an error. The
Scripture teaches that the control of the Spirit is from within. We think of it as from without,
but it is really from within, or maybe we could put it this way: When we think of the Holy
Spirit’s control as from without, we are thinking of the Holy Spirit as in control instead of us.
The real concept is the Holy Spirit in control through us. The first one makes a washrag out
of you; you are limp and take on a characteristic of let-God-have-His-way. Rather, in this
verse which states the fruit of the Spirit is self-control, it is the product not a replacement of
us. Basically, it is a simple concept: The Holy Spirit controls from within by giving us a
perspective on life through the word of God and through knowledge. This, of course, makes
it possible for us to exercise our volition in a very full sense of the word.
Second, only then, since it is a fruit of the Spirit, it is only in fellowship with God that I am in
control of my life. The control of the Spirit makes possible self-control. Or we could say:
He gets hold of us so that we can get hold of ourselves.
Third, let’s put down some normal and abnormal understandings of the control of the Spirit.
We will try to diagram each and see which one you most identify with.
Let’s begin with cathology. Here is a common, but a very abnormal concept of the control of
the Holy Spirit.

1) Holy Spirit 2) Actions

Believer

Here is the common mentality: The Holy Spirit whooshes through and produces all of His
actions and the man is essentially the glove through which God works, but essentially it is
God doing the work, it is the Holy Spirits actions via the believer. When we have this
mentality, this kind of believer is essentially passive. It is the passive view of the Christian
life, and having that passive view, he will make few choices. Of course, the reason he doesn’t
make any choices is that God makes them all. There is some truth in that, but if he is passive,
are we overlooking something we have been seeing in Scripture? God has given man a will,
and do you know what the control of the Holy Spirit is? The control of the Holy Spirit is not
a bypassing of the human will. Many believers have a bypass of the brain and the will and
are always singing “I Surrender All” meaning the mind, the emotions and the will and

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everything. It has truth to it – we want these actions to be produced by Him, don’t we? But it
is passive.
The second problem with this kind of believer is what he does to grammar. The active voice
is meaningless to him. Let me show you what I mean.
If you have a present active voice imperative, the present emphasizes the repetition of it; the
imperative means this is a duty, and active voice means you are the doer. The active voice in
an imperative verb is simply saying you produce the action. Therefore, in the phrase “rejoice
always” the subject, or the person doing the acting is you, or the believer. If it is all passive
voice, what do you do with the active voice? This type of mentality overlooks that, very
clearly. Therefore, this kind of believer is going to function as a non-person. If you would get
a group of them together in the same church, they would look the same, dress the same, act
the same, pray the same and end the prayer the same way and say “praise the Lord” all at the
same time, because it is all gelled into the first washrag is no different from the second
washrag, because they are all being used by Jesus to do His work and they are basically non-
persons and have no particular characteristics.
This person is also going to be very subjective. Basically, the influence in his life is that he
will be guided by outside influence. Being guided by outside influence means you don’t have
your life under control. It means that what the Lord is going to do tonight will be defined by
the pastor. Therefore, this outside influence will be extremely strong and this is not what the
control of the Holy Spirit means.
Let’s look at a normal concept, what we ought to be thinking.
1) Holy Spirit 2) Believer 3) Actions
Notice the first distinction: in the first diagram, it is all the Holy Spirit and what He does. In
the second diagram, it is the Holy Spirit and what He does and it includes you. The reason it
includes you is because you have options and choices. The Holy Spirit acts upon the believer,
then the individual believer takes action and he produces something. This emphasizes that
there are some choices; there is some action that flows from man that is very much in the
picture. This fellow will be different. He is not going to be a passive individual; he is going
to be active. He is going to be making choices all the time. He is going to see that God’s
word says to do something and he will do it. He will obey actively and he is not going to be
sitting here saying that he sees what God’s word says, but the Holy Spirit hasn’t moved him
yet. He knows he should be in the word, but he is waiting for the Holy Spirit to move him
because he might be doing it for the wrong reasons. That is because of this mentality. We are
not looking at the fact that the Holy Spirit appeals to our wills to make decisions.
Maybe you have been in that pattern. You want to do it from the right motivation, but
somehow you don’t feel like you have it yet, so you pray for God to do something to get the
motivation. What happens? Have you gotten it yet? If you have not given the word priority,
and you prayed about it, did you get it? Of course not. And He won’t, because His appeal is
that He said do it, when we respond in obedience, then He can bring blessing to us. This one
is active and how does the active voice appear to this second man? When the word says do it,
he is on the active voice. Active voice has meaning. He is awake to it. He’s busy, responding
to the imperatives to Scripture.

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When you personally respond and act in obedience are you functioning as a person? Yes, you
function as a real person and have all the things that go with personality. You respond to the
word and you fail and you hurt. You get up on your feet again and exercise your choices and
respond to the word of God and you fall again. You feel all of this and you are involved in all
of this. You are operating like a person. Since your approach is not subjective, you become
very objective if you are looking at the word for direction, and not at yourself.
Second, instead of being guided by outer influence, you are guided by inner influence. You
have inner drive. That is the kind of believer that has super abundant obedient energy coming
out. You are not passive, you are really moving, because you are using your options and your
will to operate on the word of God. You are real, alive, an active kind of believer.
Now, let’s come down to the central issue. The real central issue is this: who is in control of
my life? In asking that question, let’s just say you cannot answer absolutely, can you? The
obvious answer is that God is in control, but that is really not true. You must say that there
are times when He is in control, and times when other things are in control, so that you
cannot answer it absolutely. This is a question that must be answered issue by issue. As you
go through tomorrow, you see on that particular thing you responded to the word of God,
acted and may a good choice. That’s God in control. However, two hours later, you blew it.
You had another option, you made a bad choice and that choice was made under the
influence of the flesh or the influence of the world and that was a bad decision. You are
looking at this issue-by-issue.
A second thing, when we ask this question, is that, granted, we all know what the answer
should be, don’t we? Obviously, the Holy Spirit should be. But let’s be sure, in order to grow,
to be able to distinguish between what should be and what is. Whenever someone asks you
publicly who is in control, you respond with what should be. But when you are in secret, ask
who is in control and you may then want to come up with what really is. A distinction must
be made. You wonder how these may two may be confused, but they are confused very
easily. It is very easy to make ourselves think that what we should be is what we really are.
The mental device that we use to pervert the facts is called rationalization. There is a danger
of rationalization at that point.
If we are going to talk about who is in control, it would be good to talk about the options.
The first two are the most common options for who controls a life.
The first one is circumstances. Let’s tie one thing in here. When we talk about the options,
we are saying this: What option for reaction do I have? Will my reactions to a situation be
under my control and the control of the Holy Spirit? Or are all of my reactions controlled by
my circumstances? Here is an illustration: The car breaks down. You have to react, and it is
easy to look at all of the circumstances, and for many people life is one continuous response
to circumstances. That means we are not in control of our lives. That means you are
controlled by a car and for one whole hour you are controlled by a car. That is not egkrateia.
That is not inner power to control circumstances. It doesn’t mean you have to jump up and
down over them, but it does say, just analyze for a moment. When you look back at the day,
how much time did you spend responding to various circumstances? That is saying that you
do not have self-control. But the circumstances do not have to control your life; this is one of

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the first options you have. We cannot determine circumstances, but we can determine
response to circumstances and we are fully responsible in that.
So the issue and the question here would simply be this: Do I determine my reaction or do
circumstances determine my reaction? Am I in control of the way I respond when the car
falls apart, or will the car falling apart determine how I react? There is one of the options for
control: live your life controlled by circumstances.
The second is live your life controlled by another person or persons. If the husband is in a
bad mood, the wife responds by joining him in that. After all, marriage is oneness…. Or a
typical home situation: you ruined my day. Now stop and listen. If you can ruin my day you
are in control of my life. But the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. So these things are all very
important. Now when it comes to persons, I am not saying don’t be considerate of other
people’s wishes. I am saying when other people influence you, be sure it is your choice. After
all, we are responsible for opting in the right direction toward God.
Let me put in a special remark about being controlled by other people. The area that I will
remark on is marriage, because you have a relationship with two people that God’s word
defines that to be one where the wife is to be in submission to her husband. That involves the
will. When we talk about submission in marriage, we are talking about the wife recognizing
the husband’s headship and responding to it. Submission is not wife responding to a set of
verbal orders. I can’t ever recall giving my wife a set of verbal orders. It is the type of thing
whereby you recognize from Genesis that she is to be a helper for him. What is submission?
She watches the direction he is going and not needing to be told, she responds to the direction
he is going. For example, when we first started here around 1960 with a Bible class, I wanted
to start a church that would give priority to teaching. I had a mighty group of maybe half a
dozen people, half of which were women. They couldn’t very well support a pastor to study.
My wife said she would teach school so that I could study and build the church. What do you
call that? I would call that first-class submission. She recognized that she was to be a helper
in the direction I was going. But, when we begin to talk about this concept, if she is to
submit, obviously he is to lead.
Now, there is a potential danger on the parts of both the husband and the wife. Let’s take the
wife first. If a wife is to submit to her husband, what potential of misusing your will do you
have immediately? It is the one that we all love to use to cop out for the responsibility for the
decisions we make. It is: It wasn’t my fault; that’s what my husband wanted. But really, you
made a bad choice, and to get out of the responsibility for that choice you say it was your
husband’s authority that drove you in that direction. I’m not saying this is done, but can you
see the potential for how that could happen?
On the other hand, can you see how the husband could misuse that? He could confuse
leadership with insisting that he have his own way and begin to crush her volition. Her
choices would then be by choice. When you crush volition, especially with a woman, you
crush her love. Would you want a loving response by choice, or a loving response because
she has to? You can see the tremendous importance of preserving her volition so that she
makes her choices in the right way. I put that in parenthetically because a husband and wife
relationship is one of will, one to the other, and we need to preserve it so that a woman can

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make good decisions and not be forced to make decisions under the domination of her
husband.
Next, we ought to try to identify what healthy Christian responses are. First, we will find
them in the word. What does that say to us? At the root of right reaction is right knowledge.
We don’t have to guess and you certainly can’t say that a Christian automatically reacts to
things with Christian responses. Christians can respond with very unhealthy responses. We
are saying that at the root of right reaction and right choices to circumstances has got to be
right knowledge. When we have a response or a reaction, it is going to come from one of two
things: 1) we are going to respond from what we know we should do, or 2) the only other
response in a situation, if we don’t have knowledge is that we are going to respond in line
with what we feel. We will respond according to our emotions. Apart from the knowledge of
the word of God, the only framework for response to anything is emotions.
So that we can say this: Christian responses are determined by objective truth in the word of
God and thus are responses to the way a Christian thinks. A human response is determined by
the sin nature, and thus are responses to the way we feel. We cannot respond correctly until
we have the knowledge and understanding of the word as to how we are to respond. We can
never act or respond correctly until we think correctly.
Let’s make another biblical distinction, and that is the difference between an action and a
reaction.

Commands are the expression in the Bible of God’s will. Those commands are not embedded
in our minds; it requires study the textbook. Second, it requires distinction relative to the age
we are in. We say that because we don’t want anyone making a lamb sacrifice, which is
commanded by the word of God. Relative to the age in which we live, we are not to be doing
that. Those commands go into two groups: The “do” group and the “don’t” group; the
negative group (don’t to this) or the positive group (do this).
Humans have been given a will and we can choose to do the “don’ts” and not do the dos.
Let’s suppose that our response is negative. If it becomes negative then we fall under what
we might call God’s disciplinary plan. Basically that has two things to it: 1) God desires that
His children get out of this spiritual quagmire, and 2) He more than desires it; He takes action
to do it.
We are coming down on the gloomy side now; we are going to opt for being negative toward
what God has told us to do. Think of this as getting sidetracked from where God wants us to
go, but this is where we choose to go.
Hebrews 12:10
10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit,
that we might be partakers of his holiness.
The idea is that when a child got out of line, the father wanted the child to be right, our
heavenly Father wants us to be right, and therefore He has a desire to get us back onto the
path of holiness. We might also add 1 Corinthians 11:29-30:

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29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not
discerning the Lord's body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and
many sleep.

Let’s suppose, however, that we opt in the opposite direction, and our volition toward the
truth of God’s word is positive. When our will is positive toward the will of God, then we are
involved in obeying the actions that His word commands, and following with the reactions
that His word commands. Let me give you an example of the difference between an action
and a reaction. I think you will see what I mean by an action passage and a reaction passage.
First, an action passage:
1 Peter 5:2
2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint,
but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

I would call this a command to an action: feed the flock of God which is among you. It
simply says here is the course of action God wants you to take. However, go over to 1 Peter
3:9
9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye
are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
Do you see why I would call this a reaction passage? Something has been done to you and
you have to react to it. You must respond to it. Do you see any reaction in that passage?
What does it assume? Somebody just did you evil. I am going to tell you the Christian

reaction to that, and later we will get in to what Christian reaction is, especially when we are
sinned against. How do we respond to those kinds of things? The word “evil” is a word often
used for verbal abuse. We are told, “don’t respond to verbal abuse”. Is it wrong to verbally
abuse somebody? Yes. And Peter is telling these believers they are in a set of circumstances
in which they are abused, they are really misused. But he is telling them they are responsible
for how they react. We think Peter doesn’t know how badly we were abused, and that the
abuser deserves what we give back. Scripture says to get off that level. God has a will for the
way we react to sin. If someone comes up to you and gives you a verbal abuse and misuses
you, don’t respond by doing the same thing. He is simply saying one of the Christian
reactions is don’t return sin for sin, or railing for railing. But contrary-wise, here is the
Christian reaction: Blessing. Do you have any command element in verse 9? Yes. Peter is
saying, ‘here is what I do not want you to do…’ He is talking about you and me, that when
we are attacked unjustly, we are to respond with a Christian response. We find that response
defined in the word.
So, the key here at the last that Peter is giving us is responsibility for reactions. He is not
saying that being raised in the ghetto and having a history of always killing someone when
they killed one of ours is an excuse. Peter is saying we need to learn some new Christian
reactions. You must learn that when you are getting killed, you don’t kill back. I’m using that
metaphorically. We also need to know that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and if
somebody is pounding on it, you would be wise to pound back and to subdue so that the body
is preserved. When I was in high school a young man who was a believer was beaten by

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someone else for making a Christian remark. It was said to me that as his teeth were getting
beaten out, he didn’t lift a hand. Well, I don’t think that’s a Christian response there. We’re
not talking about that kind of thing. We are talking about retaliating toward sin with sin. But
notice that we are fully responsible for these things.
One more thing, let’s make a comparison between actions and reactions. This is very
important.
1) An action has this quality: it can be planned. And it can be planned to get the
response we want. For example, a salesman is not going to go out in the morning and
say, ‘you stupid idiot, you need my product.’ That will not get the desired response.
Therefore, he has sense enough to know that you have got to plan your actions to get
the desired response. This can get perverted, and when it does it is called
manipulation. If there is anything that a girl needs to know it is how to spot a
manipulator. I have always defined manipulation this way: it is the practical means of
implementing self-centeredness. I want what I want and whatever I have to do with
you to get it I will do. The person who gets that done to him doesn’t have any
egkrateia; he doesn’t have self-control, he is being dominated and controlled by
another. You can see that if you get a manipulating man with a girl who has not
learned to be controlled by the Spirit and how to control herself what a catastrophe
that would be. You then have a manipulating husband and a wife does not have any
self-control and you have a perfect formula for misery that can only get worse when
they have children that have to be raised in the middle of that. So it is the opposite of
open, honest dealings with people.
2) On the other hand, reactions cannot be planned, they are too spontaneous and happen
too quickly. Let’s put it this way: a bad action tells us a lot. A bad reaction tells us a
lot more. Also, a reaction reflects our thinking, so reactions are tied very closely to
the doctrine we believe.
We will look next at 2 Peter 1:6 next. Try to think ahead about all of the “outs” we are given
today for not having to assume responsibility for what we are. Never forget it, what I am
right now is a result of a series of choices. You may say there are some things in your life that
you didn’t choose and you couldn’t control, but you could react, couldn’t you? So you can
say that where you are today is a result of conscious choices over a period of time and it is a
result of your reactions in given situations that were human viewpoint reactions, they were
not reactions derived from the word of God and therefore, we again have spelled out very
strongly the sense of responsibility. When you understand this sense of responsibility,
doesn’t it feel good, even if you are failing 50% or 75% of the time? Doesn’t if feel good to
know that you are in the driver’s seat? And I don’t mean in contrast to God being in the
driver’s seat; He is in the driver’s seat and therefore He wants you to control your life. You
do not have to be dominated by these things. You take control of your life, and that is called
maturity. You don’t find a lot of people around like that.
Incidentally, in Titus 1:8, one of the requirements of the pastor/teacher is that he have self-
control. Do you see why? Suppose he responded to everything that people wanted done –
how faithful would he be to the word of God? Paul is simply saying he must be in self-
control rather than being dominated by every outside influence. The story many times of

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losing the priority on the word of God is that the pastor has no self-control. The board or
somebody else got through to him and he began to back off on things due to an inherent
character problem, which is lack of self-control. Self-control means you make the choices in
the light of the truth of God’s word.
Father, we are thankful tonight for Your truth and we are thankful that Your word in its
truthfulness many times is so straightforward and so merciless, and yet we are so thankful
that when You have mercilessly pointed out how weak and faltering, and how we cop-out on
responsibility, that that mercilessness gets down to the root of things and really says here is
the real medicine you need and when you get this straightened out you can get on your feet.
And we are thankful, Father, that You always tell us the truth; You don’t kid us, You give us
the truth no matter how it may hurt so we can grow in the likeness of Jesus Christ and we
pray that we may be awake, alert believers, not laying blame for sinful actions against us, but
realizing that we have the responsibility for the right reaction in every circumstance and
therefore making the right choices in the light of Your truth. We ask this in Christ’s name.
Amen.

Chester McCalley Volition 13

XXII. All scripture references are from the King James Version unless
otherwise noted

2 Peter 1:6
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
KJV

2 Peter 1:6
6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your
perseverance, godliness
NASU

We will be looking at answering some questions in regard to those passages that tell us how
we are responsible to react in given situations. We looks at 1 Peter 3:9 that says

9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye
are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

That is rather clear; when we are abused we don’t respond by abusing back. However, the
question has been asked what do we do about the concept of justice. For example, Joseph
forgave his brothers, but would it have been wrong if Joseph had told them were kidnappers
–which they were – and kidnapping is against the law (surely there was regulation pertaining
to that in Egypt). Would it have been wrong for Joseph to have gone in that direction, or the
question is, what would you do if someone began to hit your wife with a stick? Would you

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simply stand there and bless the person as he does it? Or would you step in and do something
to protect. Therefore, we need to draw some lines in that direction in the future.

We will also build the idea that we have this thing called responsibility that we have been
emphasizing. I will use it as an umbrella under which to put various things. Also, we will
look at the concept we just began called “egkrateia”, meaning self-control. We need to ask,
and answer over how much do we have self-control? We usually use self-control in a limited
sense, meaning you don’t lose your temper or something of that sort. How big is this fruit of
the Spirit called self-control? Does it include everything?

What about our responsibility? Are we willing to put under that heading that we are
responsible for our actions? I think we all would be willing to say that we are and that we
certainly can demonstrate that God holds us responsible for our actions.

Then we studied that not only does God hold us responsible for our actions, but also He holds
us responsible for our reactions. Again, 2 Peter makes that clear. When we are abused how
do we react? We are not to react with more abuse, but rather with blessing. It is very clear
that God says we are responsible for what we do, we are responsible for the way we act, and
we are also responsible for our thoughts. Certain thought patterns are sinful and are
forbidden.

Then we want to bring in the last one that we always want to refuse to put under the umbrella
of responsibility, and that is that we are absolutely responsible to control our feelings or
emotions. I mean to include under that good ones and bad ones. The point is, that there is
nothing in our make-up that we are not to be in absolute control of. The reason we can put
feelings here is that feelings are produced by what we think, and when our thought pattern is
under control we have absolute emotional control. We will find out that we can take charge
of our emotional life. That is so helpful, because we often say – and it is Satan’s statement –
we can’t help what we feel. Oh, yes we can! 100% of what we feel is determined by what we
think. If we don’t go this way and if we say we can’t help what we feel then we will do
absolutely nothing about things we “cannot help”, like bad emotions and feelings.

Romans 8:37 also shows that this must go under the umbrella of self-control because it says
we are “more than conquerors”. Do we add this qualification: except on the feelings that I
can’t help? Is that said in this verse? Or 2 Corinthians 10:5, that we are to bring into captivity
to Christ every thought. That covers our mentality and all of these things are captive to Him –
except feelings that we have that we can’t help.

If we have wrong feelings tonight, we will be able to demonstrate that those feelings came
about by a series of bad attitudes and bad decisions that brought us to the point of those bad
feelings. We will show that everything goes under the umbrella of responsibility; there is
nothing in life not provided for by the Cross and that we are not responsible for or cannot
control. When we talk about the fruit of the Spirit being self-control, then that means mastery
of every aspect of life, including my feelings and my emotions.

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Now we are down to studying self-control in Galatians 5:23 where it says it is a fruit of the
Spirit. There are two other passages we need to deal with and we will find that self-control is
a product of God’s knowledge program. We will be looking at 2 Peter 1:6. What we will see
here is that we may react or respond to a situation purely within a framework of emotion, or,
if we are going to have real self-control, then we are going to react or respond under a
program that we have learned, and that will be God’s knowledge program.

2 Peter 1:6
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

The first thing we will say is that the letter of 2 Peter is a letter of reminders. In other words,
in the book of 2 Peter, the author is not giving new information; he is giving old information
to these believers. Peter is going to base his reminders, in both his first and second letters,
around a basic analogy that he makes. The analogy for believers is this: what food is to the
body, the word is to the inner man. That will carry two ideas with it then. First, food is taken
into the body for nourishment and as the body has to be nourished by food, so the inner man
of the believer must be nourished by food. Secondly, both require nourishment and both
require repetition. You cannot try to not eat for a week.

We all try, but it won’t work. The idea is that, just as we need fats, carbohydrates and proteins
daily, we need spiritual food daily. So Peter is going to build around this.

Chapter one of 2 Peter revolves around three ideas; we will focus on one pertaining to self-
control. We are going from broad context down to the idea of self-control. The first idea is
the concept of divine assets. This is simply looking at what God has willed for His children.
Think of this in terms of looking at your own child and seeing what his financial need are
going to be in a given situation and so you go to the bank and deposit for them what they are
going to need. This is an expression of what God wants for us in terms of supplying for our
needs. Peter will stress assets.

Then, inevitably, when he stresses assets, he will then move into the idea that these carry
responsibility with them. That is where we will get to the idea of self-control. We will have
the responsibility for these assets in verses 5-14. Notice, by the way, you have in capsule
form in the text a little sequence of steps in the Christian life. 2 Peter 1:5 reads: “And beside
this, giving all diligence, add to your faith”. Add is not a good expression, but notice where
we start: we start with faith. Isn’t that logical? Where do you start the Christian life? You start
it with faith in Christ, then virtue, then knowledge, then self-control. Notice in verse 6, what
comes with knowledge. Knowledge is the framework so that we can have self-control, and
we end up in verse 7 with love, agape. It is the last word and the capstone of the virtues of
the Christian life. So, encapsulated in verses 5, 6 and 7, you go from initial faith clear
through the various phases of the Christian experience all the way up to the area of love.

Finally, the third idea is a reminder of the origin of Scripture.

2 Peter 1:1-4

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Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like
precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our
Lord,
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and
godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might
be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through
lust.

Peter has, as we come into chapter 1, expressed very clearly that there is something he wants
for us. Notice the second verse:

2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our
Lord,

That’s what Peter wants: he wants believers to come to knowledge of God. The word for
knowledge is an important word and we have had it before. It is “epignosis”. It is a
compound word made up of a noun, “gnosis” meaning to knowledge, and “epi” which is an
intensifier. Basically, the intensifier here does three things for knowledge: 1) It emphasizes
full knowledge. 2) It emphasizes precise knowledge, accurate knowledge. 3) Personal
knowledge. Epignosis is not a “so what?” thing….here are the facts, so what? Peter simply
says he would like to see multiplied toward believers a full and precise and intimate
knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ. This is his desire for us in the context. With that, then,
Peter begins to give us a reminder of assets.

3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and
godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might
be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through
lust.

Let’s begin with a definition. What do we mean by “our assets”? Assets are the sum total of
benefits that are available to all believers. In 20th Century America we should have no trouble
emphasizing benefits, because whenever we look for a job, one of the things we are
interested in, besides the salary, is what the benefits are. What are some of the extras that we
get? Even in terms of our government today people are very much aware of Social Security
benefits and so forth. God has put together a package called assets that is the sum total of
benefits to all believers and there are three things in it: 1) Listed in the word, 2) based on the
Cross, 3) taken by faith. This is what verses 3 and 4 are talking about.

Generally when we talk about assets our emphasis is on what they are. We are going to look
at this from a little different angle because these assets, according to #3, are there, but we
don’t have to take them. We have a choice as to whether we are going to appropriate these
benefits or not. So then our ordinary emphasis is to look at what the benefits are. Our

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emphasis in this passage will be whether we are going to use these assets or not. That moves
us into the area of volition.

Let’s ask a question here: Have you been making good choices? Have you had an
opportunity to respond with a Christian reaction to anything? If you have made good choices
and responses, you should be encouraged. Be alert to those things and do some real analysis
of your own self in light of God’s word.

Peter is going to tell us six things about the sum total of benefits that are available to
believers.

3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and
godliness

or as NASU has it:

3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness,
(NASU)

1) What is the source of our assets? Divine power is the moving force and the cause behind
all of the assets we have. There are several things about that: The word for “divine” is a little
different. Normally our word for “god” is “theos”; this uses the word “theias” which is used
to describe deity. As a matter of fact, it is the word that the Greeks used for Zeus, their god.
In the New Testament, however, it is used most frequently when the author is about to
describe some characteristic of God, or when about to introduce an attribute of God of some
kind. It is used in that way here: Peter is about to introduce the concept of divine power
(dunamis), inherent power, something that has power in it. A pen for example, does not have
“dunamis”; a stick of dynamite would have “dunamis”. That is roughly a good illustration.

So what is the source, then, of our assets? It is God’s divine power, or omnipotence.
Remember when we talk about God’s attributes we must always put three things with it: 1)
All of God’s characteristics are infinite. That means they cannot be increased. A simple way
of saying that is to say that when Peter talks about the divine power, God cannot rise in the
morning and say, “Look at Me! How I’ve grown stronger over night!” God cannot grow
stronger, because the power expressed in Peter is the same power that has always been there;
it cannot be increased. 2) Or it cannot be decreased because God is immutable. 3) And
though we can grasp it, we cannot understand it completely, because God is
incomprehensible. We can understand Him, but we can never understand Him completely.

What do we have in verse 3, then? According as God’s infinite, immutable, unchangeable,


incomprehensible power. How is that for saying we have some assets available and the
source is this divine power.

2) He tells us something about the nature of these assets. That is found in verse 3 also:
according as His divine power hath given. What that is going to spell out is the once for all
gift of grace. These assets are a once for all gift of grace. “Hath given” is in the perfect tense,

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which means in regard to these assets we do not ever need to say “please give me”. That is
contradicting His word that tells us He has done it already. We might put it this way: There
aren’t any groceries to buy; they are all on the shelf. There are not any assets to ask for; they
are all there just to be appropriated. Since they are all there, available, where does that leave
us? It leaves us with volition. It is there, on the shelf, for us to reach and take, but it is our
choice. You have the same word in verse 4. Peter really has divine, gracious giving on his
mind.

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises”

This is the same word and the same tense. If you were to ask a first year Greek student what
the word for “give” is, he would probably say the word is “didomi”. That is the word used in
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” That is not the
word that is used here in 2 Peter 1:3.

The word for “hath given” in verse 3 is “doreomai”. It is a bigger word in this sense: it is a
word for open-handed generosity. The emphasis is on the nature of our assets. They are an
open-handed, generous, bestowal and grant once-for-all given by God. Therefore, the issue is
not only that they are there, but if we wish to use them. And if we wish to use them is an
appeal to our volition. We may neglect them; we may never touch them. This is the
importance of choice. That is the nature of the assets.

3) Now let’s look at the scope of the assets. As we add these things, it gets bigger all the time.

3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things

Therefore, no need ever exists. If a need exists, let’s trace it back to its cause: our volition.
We just don’t choose to expose ourselves to these things and we simply do not choose to
make use of them. That emphasizes the scope of it. The key is that there is nothing that we
are going to need that is not provided. There is a problem, however, because of our sin
nature, and that is learning to be satisfied with His provision rather than be tortured by our
“wanters”.

4) What about the value of our assets? What is in this account?

3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and
godliness

The first term is godliness, “eusebeia”. This is made from two words: “sebeia”to worship
and “eu” means well or right. God has given us everything that is needed to worship rightly.
In other words, we don’t have to guess if we are approaching God in the right way. It is all
there in our assets. We can worship rightly and then notice that all these assets are all given to
us not with the idea of cramping our lifestyle. God wants to give us a bank account so that
we don’t have to cut back on things. Verse 3 says it is all things that pertain to life. That is not
the Greek word “bios”, food and clothing, it is “zoe”, the fullest sense of life and a life of
godliness.

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5) What is the means of using our assets? This is found in the words “through”, or “by means
of Him that has called us to glory and virtue”. In this phrase you have the human side and
that is through knowledge of Him. And the divine side is “who has called us by His glory”.

6) He talks about the expression of assets. These are not intangible things; they are tangible.
That is, they are very real. What is God’s expression of that? Verse 4:

4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises

The “great and precious promises” is the way God has expressed what we have. He has
expressed what He has provided for us by making promises to us.

One little technical point we might bring up: When you come to the last part of verse 3 it
says

of him that hath called us to glory and virtue

The KJV omits the little word “idios”, which means, “He has called us to or by His own
unique glory and His own unique virtue”. Then the word “whereby” is literally “through
these”. In other words, out of God’s glorious, good disposition, He has done something for
us; He has given us promises. The emphasis is that the promises we have in the word flow
out of the good disposition of God; they flow out of His glorious
character. They come out of His “aratee”, which is His moral excellence. When we talk
about a promise, what determines how good a promise is? A promise is no better than the
person who makes it. That is rather obvious.

That means several things, and we have all experienced it. A promise may fall through
because the person who made it lied. If you are over five minutes old, you know exactly what
that means for someone to make a promise and to just plain lie. Second, a promise may be
broken because the one who made the promise had a change of mind. Or a promise may be
broken because some circumstance came up that couldn’t be controlled. I guess we wouldn’t
really call that a broken promise, because the person couldn’t control the circumstances.

When it comes to the word of God, we have to dump all of that, don’t’ we? God can’t lie;
He’s righteous, so we won’t break His promise by lying. God is immutable, so He is not
going to tell you that He re-thought it. He doesn’t make dumb promises; He makes promises
that are good and He doesn’t change His mind and He doesn’t have things come up in His
day that keep Him from fulfilling a promise. His promises are kept because he is Sovereign.
He doesn’t change His mind because He is immutable. His promises are good because He is
veracity and truth and righteousness and justice. So that if that is the case, and none of those
(negative) factors can happen and God makes promises of that nature, then can you explain
why Peter calls them great and precious. They are great and precious because of the Person
who makes the promises.

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Now, what is the purpose….BIG BREAK IN THE RECORDING

…show what is prominent in our mentality, whether or not it is the word of God or we on a
human-type thing.

Now, let me add a little point to this. I think there is an area we need to take a look at because
I think it is a little disguise that Satan uses. Don’t you like people that are honest in their
reactions? People that don’t put on? We like someone because he doesn’t pretend. We like
someone who says just what’s on his mind. That is because it says he is honest. Let me ask
you: is an honest reaction equal to a holy reaction? It is good to be honest and
straightforward. I would rather have someone speak out of his sin nature honestly than speak
out of his sin nature dishonestly. But, an honest reaction may simply demonstrate our
mentality, our human viewpoint. As a matter of fact, I have given some very honest reactions
in life that were also very sinful. Sometimes we worship spontaneity, but we also need to
recognize it is very easy to cover over a sinful reaction by saying, ‘it was only honest’. But
the real issue is that it was honest, but it was also a sinful reaction. That leads us to some
realities about our reactions.

This is where we will come into the area that the chief refuge from responsibility is
complaining. That is an ace; it will get you out of responsibility every time. That is why the
word of God says never, never, never complain. It is strictly forbidden. Complaining is
nothing more than a quarrel with the externals. What are you complaining about? You have a
quarrel with circumstances. What is the real issue? Is it a quarrel with circumstances or a
reaction to circumstances? Complaining is nothing more than listing the excuses for a
reaction produced by our sin nature. That’s why in Philippians 2 it says, “don’t murmur about
anything.” The word is “goggusmas”, which sounds like it! You see it everywhere, at home
and at work. But Paul says not to do it, because that is simply a listing of all your complaints
that say you are not responsible for your responses and reactions. We will find out how much
that is really used to cop-out and why we need to write out complaining completely from our
vocabulary and never, never, never do it again.

Then we will move into the area of how we cop-out…(ANOTHER BREAK) nothing on the
outside that can hurt us. Only here. There was a general who said, “Gentlemen, we have met
the enemy and it is us.” That we will find to be very true.

Don’t we do that as Christians? We will say, “My wife is driving me up the wall!” Shouldn’t
we rather say, “I’m letting my wife drive me up the wall.”? You see the first is saying that
externals are the problem. When we say I allow it, then we bring it back to the real issue:
me. We think our kids drive us crazy. Kids can’t drive us crazy, only our reactions to them
can. Therefore, this ought to free us by beginning to sense the real responsibility for divine
viewpoint reactions.

In the next lesson we will look at what a snow job Satan has done to make us roll over and
say we can’t help it and that it is justified because we were dumped on and they deserved to
be dumped back.

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Father we are thankful tonight for Your word. We pray that we will be very serious with
ourselves, recognizing that we are our own problem and that when, in our mentality we do
not have a divine viewpoint, when we are not storing knowledge of the word of God, all of
our reactions are bound to be wrong. We will act out of our sin natures, we will act out of
emotion and then we will proceed to excuse ourselves by saying we were wronged and
therefore we have a right to this attitude. We were mistreated and therefore we have a right to
be bitter. May we dump all of this human garbage and learn to accept the responsibility that
is placed on us by Your word for our actions, for our reactions, for our thoughts and for our
feelings. In Christ’s Name we pray. Amen.

Chester McCalley Volition 14

XXIII.All scripture references are from the King James Version unless
otherwise noted

We are talking about volition, the human capacity to choose. Let me run down a few
questions before we begin and let’s look back over our week. We all made choices, hundreds
of them, this week. There are a few things to think about in making choices. How well do
you identify the options? Did you take time to see that you could go in different directions?
Did you look at each of those options?

That is very important; because you respond so many times by making choices that it is easy
to forget to take a moment before you make the choice to look at what the options are. Once
you noted that there were several options, did you relate it to God’s will? If you didn’t, then
you didn’t relate it to absolute good, because God’s will is the best for you and you ought to
have taken those options and related them to His will as expressed in the word. When you
did, what was the result? If you had three options and decided the second option best aligned
with God’s will and chose #3, then that was a bad choice. It wasn’t choosing the best thing,
you should have chosen #2.

Then, one other thing must come in to the picture after you begin to develop enthusiasm for
making the right choices. It is expressed in Ephesians 4:15:

15 But speaking the truth in love,

We’ll just take that little phrase and sever “in love” off the end of it. Notice you have two
concepts. You have doing the right thing, that is speaking the truth. But notice the verse goes
further than just doing the right thing; it extends to doing the right thing in the right way, or
with the right attitude. So, speaking the truth in love says we are going to do the right thing;
in love says we are going to do the right thing in the right way, or in the proper manner or
with the proper attitude. Therefore, if we look at the options we had, related them to the word
of God and saw that #2 was most in line with the word of God and opted for #2 and did it
with an attitude that didn’t care about anyone else and was implemented in any way that we

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thought we ought to, that is making the right choice with the wrong attitude, or not in a
Christian way. And, of course, that is part of maturity.

For example, you may have decided to make a first place to understand what the book of
Ephesians teaches. You make the decision to make that a priority in your day, but you also
remember that you have a wife, 14 youngsters and there is a responsibility there. The
pressure would be, not did you make the right choice, but how are you going to implement
it? Are you going to implement it with wisdom throughout the day or are you going to order
all your kids into the closet, handcuff your wife to the basement pole and say these two hours
are yours? You may have made a choice that is right in priority, but the implementation of it
was not wise. That is simply saying we make Christian choices and we should implement
them in a Christian way.

Today we will be dealing with reactions. When we are making a reactionary choice, that
simply means that something has happened to stimulate us. Just like we identify the options
in making choices, we need to identify the stimulus. You might say that this happened and
you had to react to it. How did you react? Did you react in a Christian way, or in line with
Christian principles, or in a non-Christian way? All of these things are very important.

Let’s look at some of the central facts of Christian reactions. This is, of course, in the
category of having with the word “reaction” a presupposition to it. Therefore, when we talk
about the central facts from the word of God about our reactions, what are we presupposing?
The presupposition behind it is very simple: we cannot respond or react without something to
respond to. In other words, there has to be some kind of stimulus behind our reactions.

When we talk about these stimuli we must face certain realities. In this world there are
certain stimuli that we ought to expect, such as, in a non-Christian world we must expect to
be treated in a non-Christian way. That was the teaching that the Lord gave the disciples in
John 15. The world hated Christ, you belong to Him, therefore, the world hates you. Jesus is
simply building up these disciples as to what their expectations should be. If we are
expecting the wrong thing, then we are really compounding our problem. We need to put
down what our expectations ought to be: we should expect to be treated in a non-Christian
way.

That is going to need a little development. Are we going to say that a Christian is sort of a
passive punching bag in the world and that whatever anybody wants to do to you, your wife
or your family and that you should adopt a punching bag mentality? We will find out that this
is not the case. We will look at some of the options that a believer should easily expect and
see justice and right treatment within the structure of his civil government. Probably our
prime example of suffering, and of that concept is Paul. In the last part of the book of acts,
Paul utilizes over and over again every Roman law and every procedure within their courts to
maintain his time out of jail. He was certainly, in the last part of Acts, not a punching bag,
although he suffered a great deal for Christ.

Nonetheless, in a non-Christian world we must expect to be treated in a non-Christian way.


There is really nothing that can create more problems than to have expectations that fall

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through. Therefore, if we have glowing expectations and then they don’t work out, then we
must respond to another situation. The point of saying this is that we should be very realistic.
We should expect to be treated in a non-Christian way.

The second very realistic expectation is that whenever we react or respond – and I am using
those two words synonymously now – they reveal what is dominant in our mentality at that
moment. There are several ideas involved in that and we will look at those and deepen them
with some passages that I think will amplify them.

The first thing to keep in mind is that the phrase “our response” presupposes that there has
been a stimulus of some kind. Something has happened to us, something was done to us or
something was said about us and we responded to that stimulus. When we did, it was just like
turning on a light, it revealed what was dominant in our mentality.

Notice, I didn’t say what was present in our mentality. For example, we may know what to
do, but that wasn’t the dominant thing. It tells what was dominant in our minds at the
moment of that particular stimulus; therefore, dominant could be the sin nature and emotions.
If that is the dominant thing, being led by the way we feel or the sin nature, then our reaction
is going to reveal that, over that which is to be normal, namely, the Holy Spirit. A walk by the
Spirit is not one of emotion, but one led by objective reality, namely the word of God. If the
word is predominant in a moment, the response is going to be right.

Again, when we talk about responses, let’s look at a couple of things. First, it is good to give
honest responses. If we don’t give an honest response, that is what the bible calls hypocrisy.
Consequently, it is good to be non-hypocritical and honest in our responses. However, let’s
take it a little bit further and say that an honest response is not necessarily a right response. In
other words, responses can come from the Holy Spirit; responses can also come from the sin
nature. As I have said before, there have been many times when I responded just the way I
felt about a situation and it was also a sin, in that that response was not true to the word of
God. I think this is important because there is a lot of emphasis today saying that someone is
very “up-front”, which is good, but an “up-front” response is not necessarily pleasing to God.

So the two points about expectations are this: 1) expect to be treated in a non-Christian way
in a non-Christian world, and 2) look at what is dominant in your mentality. We will see that
when we say we can’t control or help how we feel, that is not true. Whatever we may feel
about someone or some thing, we feel that way because of how we think. That is simply
saying that as believers, we can really get in the driver’s seat of our emotions. We can control
the way we feel and the way it is done is by controlling the way we think. This is possible! If
we say it is impossible for us to control how we think, then why did God give us the Bible
telling us to respond in particular ways, to do particular things, have particular mentalities
and choose specific things? God puts those things there because He wants His will, which is
perfect good, to control our thinking. If the word controls our thinking, then the rest is always
under control.

Let’s look at some realities about reactions. The great and important thing about reactions is
simply that if someone does something good to us we don’t have a reaction problem. It is not

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too difficult to respond with a thank-you when someone does something good to us. Usually
the problem is when the stimulus is nasty. When someone says something that is not true we
tend to think, then, that we have a right to justify the bad reaction by what they did to us.
That is the tendency most of us have. If I react to the wrong way to the stimulus, I feel better
about it if the stimulus was sinful in the first place, because I think that person had it coming.
What we will find out in this study is that, very subtly, Satan wants us to have the wrong
reaction and feel very justified about that wrong reaction.

Let’s begin to deal with some of the subtle ways he does that. One of the chief ways of
copping out on responsibility is via the path of complaining. Complaining is one of man’s
chief refuges from responsibility. We can see that when we begin to ask what we are doing
when we complain, what is the nature of complaining.

When we are complaining we are really having a quarrel with circumstances. When we
complain, we see a set of circumstances that we don’t like, so we engage in complaining
about the circumstances. That is not to say that the circumstances are not very bad ones, but
do bad circumstances justify complaining? Or is there another adjustment the believer ought
to make? We could put it another way. Basically, complaining is a list of excuses, maybe
good ones! – for a reaction that was produced by a sin nature. The point is that we reacted
toward something or someone in a non-Christian way, however, if we list all the things that
were done, we can probably give a good justification for the wrong reaction to the situation
and complaining is one of the ways we do it.

There is a very simple solution for complaining and that is never, never do it. Philippians
2:14 says:
14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings
Remember that we said the three pivotal aspects about the exercise of the will of the believer
are 1) We never seek the will of God about acts or attitudes forbidden by the word, 2) we
never seek the will of God about acts or attitudes commanded by the word. That is just an
open and shut case. Notice that in the area of complaining, we are dealing with one of those
things. In Philippians 2:14 Paul is addressing Christians and saying do all things without
murmuring. The word murmuring is an onomatopoetic word, in other words, it is a word that
sounds like what it means, like pop, crack and sizzle. You hardly have to look up sizzle; all
you have to do is listen. In verse 14, this concept of complaining and griping, the Greeks
apparently heard enough of it that they developed a word, guggusmos, that is meant to sound
like it. Therefore, the Greeks saw in these terms that when they would go into this group of
people and just hear this sound. You see that this is certainly true when you walk into many
offices – it’s just murmuring all the time. The only exception, or course, is that this never
happens among believers in a church….

Paul is simply saying the divine will is that all of this murmuring is wiped out. We have a
very sharp command. It is not a matter or curtailing or limiting, it is a matter of absolute
prohibition on his part of all these things that have to be with murmuring. I would take this
murmuring to be a reactionary sin. You hardly murmur about nothing; there is something that
stimulated the murmuring. The interesting thing is that Paul says nothing about the stimulus

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for it, only that he doesn’t want the reaction of murmuring. I think you can see why: If
complaining and murmuring is really a list of excuses for a reaction produced by the sin
nature, as long as we have excuses in front of us, how will we respond to the word of God?
Until we assume responsibility, and when we are talking about these reaction passages, if we
don’t accept responsibility, we are mentally reading the passages this way: Do all things
without murmuring (I did it, but it was justified by the circumstance, therefore I am not
responsible for the command).

We have erected this enormous barrier between us and the word of God. We can read
It, we can write it, and we can memorize it, but we will never make any progress because we
can’t respond as long we have the mental defense of this in front of it.

By the way, there is something different about this series. The different thing is that when
you are developing a series to teach, after you have done the Bible study part of it, you have
to bring it into understandable language and break it down with illustrations. This series has
the unique feature of all that I have done in not having to go outside of the study for all of my
illustrations. I don’t know why that is the case, but nonetheless, if any of you feel that I have
meddled or known something about you, I guarantee that I only know something about you
because I know something about me.

Number 2: This is very important. Our reactions are determined by the internal, not the
external. What we are really saying here is that we are trying to fix the cause of wrong
reactions at this point. That is not an easy thing to do. Or perhaps I should say that is not an
easy thing to accept when we really come down to fixing the cause, because we have all
manner of expressions that we use to say we don’t believe #2. We don’t buy that our
reactions were determined by the internal and not the external. The proofs that we don’t
believe #2 are the sentences that we have all said, such as, “My wife is driving me up a wall.”
External things are causing my reactions. This is saying, of course, that your wife runs your
life. You just copped out of responsibility, and when you do that, you are doing absolutely
nothing towards maturity. It is impossible. If we are responsible for our reactions, what
should we really be saying? “I chose to allow her to drive me up a wall.” What that does is
to say that my reaction is caused by the external. “I allow her to drive me up the wall is
assuming responsibility. I may still be going up the wall, but at least I have come to the issue.

We feel the way we do because we have chosen to respond that way in a series of situations.
If we have reaction A one time, then we have reaction A repeatedly, what is going to happen?
We soon will train our reaction in one way and we will respond to stimuli X the wrong way.
Three months later we respond to it the wrong way. Two weeks later, the wrong way. And
eventually that equals what we feel. Eventually what will happen is that this wrong reaction
will have cut a furrow and we will just be reacting that way and think we are helpless. But we
got to that helpless place through a series of wrong reactions.

What will be the key to that? The key is to go back to the real issue: me and my response to
the word of God. We will soon be looking at the classic example of the man who went all the
way from rejecting the word of God in terms of responsibilities – his name was Saul – and
Saul was a man that, we see in Samuel, would admit that he sinned, but he would never once

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assume responsibility for it. And that man will go through all the way to troubles with
jealousy and then move into the area of leaving the word of God and going to a witch at
Endor, and end up with suicide. Our choices and reactions are very, very important.

That ought to be liberating, too. If we have labored under the assumption that we know we
have sinned, but we can’t help it, it ought to be encouraging to know that we can go back and
get to the root of it. We can go back and see the choices that were made in a direction.

Whenever someone says, “this is how I feel” is it legitimate to ask, “why do you feel that
way?” Then we begin to look back on our thoughts, choices and viewpoint to get the answer
to that. So if you feel you are under a load a believer and there are things the word demands
that you just can’t seem to relate rightly to them, that doesn’t have to be. We can give up the
“I can’t help how I feel” attitude and go back to the thought processes that lead up to a series
of feelings.

How can we begin to deal with a problem for which we accept no responsibility? That is
always the first thing. Until we accept responsibility and accept that we might have been
wronged by the external things over and over again but we can – and the classic example is
Joseph, but his reaction was doctrinal. The reaction of Joseph was to the truth of God’s
personal involvement in his life, the Romans 8:28 concept, and of course, in the end the
people that were shaking were his brothers. Joseph is in control because he did not use the
external for an excuse; he drew on an internal strength, which is called in the New Testament
“egkrateia”, self-control, which is the fruit of the Spirit produced in the life of the believer.
When we get back to these things we can have the right reaction.

Let’s come down to a more concrete example. We are still talking about our reactions being
caused by the internal, not the external. Let’s say we have been acquainted with someone and
we have known them for about 6 months and the relationship has been going great, and then
one day…. and there is not any relationship that doesn’t have a “one day” to it. We react to
something that is done and say, “That’s it. I’m not going to put up with that any more.” That
is a reaction. The question is: is that a Christian reaction or not? Is it ever correct to react by
saying you are through with it? I think the answer is it might be or it might not be. It really
depends doesn’t it?

For example, if you find out that someone is regularly taking out your wife, what would a
divine viewpoint reaction be? I would think it is perfectly right not to put up with that. Yet,
on the other hand, look at Colossians 3. One of the central facts in reacting to other believers
is learning to put up with certain things. In fact, those very words pretty adequately handle
the Greek in this context. Verse 13 says:

13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any:
even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

“Forbearing” simply means to put up with; putting up with one another.

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“If any man have a quarrel against any.” I assume here that the quarrel is justified. If you
have been wronged and you have a quarrel against someone, “even as Christ forgave you, so
also do ye.” There are a few concepts in there.
Notice, first of all, the reality of verse 13. It assumes something about Christians. It assumes
that there is something in me that God is going to have to tell me to tolerate things. It says
there is something in you that God is going to have to tell me to tolerate it. Have you ever
tried to sustain a relationship with an intolerant person? I think this is probably why people
like cats and dogs so well. You can just lose your temper and break glass and dump over
chairs and kick your dog and what is the dog going to do? Give you a lecture? No, you can
come home in any shape you want and the dog will still wag his tail and be your buddy. My
cats never criticize me. I can do anything I want and there is no criticism forthcoming.

Nonetheless, in the passage, Paul is assuming a very basic reality. Notice that it is not a
matter of going around and correcting everybody. There is the truth that we exhort and we
help one another in maturity, but there is the concept in this passage in Colossians which is
the concept of putting up with and forgiving one another in these certain circumstances.

In the same way that I need you to put up with me, you need me to put up with you.
Consequently, the mutuality of that points out the reality of this scripture. You have a clear
concept then, in this particular passage of a human viewpoint reaction of refusing to put up
with someone and a refusal to tolerate something.

Third, the external may precipitate our reactions, but should not control our reactions.
Granted someone may do something very wrong toward us and we react. I am not saying our
reaction was not precipitated by what happened. The stimulus is what precipitated the
reaction that we have, but it should not control what our reaction is. So that, if we were to
diagram it might look like this:

EXTERNAL STIMULUS REACTION


(GOOD OR BAD) (OUR CHOICE)

If we are responsible then we choose how we react. That reaction may be determined by
divine viewpoint, or it may be determined by human viewpoint.

When we get back to this, if we are continually reacting to stimuli by human viewpoint, we
are going to develop certain personality characteristics. Let’s suppose you are in a situation
wherein you are continually mistreated by a husband or wife or parents or children and the
human reaction has not been in line with the word of God, but has been the wrong reaction.
Pretty soon you find yourself bitter. Pretty soon you say you have tried everything to root out
the bitterness but you cannot get rid of it. That may be very true that the bitterness is so
ingrained, but how did it get there? It got there through a series of human viewpoint reactions
to a nasty situation.

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Therefore, you develop the fear concept. If you have lost a couple of jobs and reacted in a
non-Christian way, when you get to the third job, you will probably always be living with the
nagging fear every morning that you may lose your job. You could even get a little paranoid
about it. If the boss comes in with a different expression on his face, you might think you are
going to be hacked today.

How did that come about? You might think that with all these things that have happened you
just can’t help but be that way. Well, yes you could help it. It might be an automatic response
now, but it was the result of these things, and how are you going to get to the solution to it?
You are going to get to the solution by looking at yourself and acknowledging that you have
been living a lifestyle of human viewpoint reactions to the situation. The solution then comes
when you begin to see things from a divine viewpoint and then react in line with that and
begin to build up good things: patience, kindness, love and so forth come under this caption.
It just depends on what controls and what choices we make.

Father, we’re thankful for Your word. We pray that we will recognize that we cannot really
obey it as we should until we recognize that You have made us as responsible people and that
You have given us the actions that we are to take; You have given us the reactions that we are
to have in good situations. You have told us how to react when we are mistreated and we pray
today that you will further today, through the study of Your word, open our eyes to the truth
here so that we can begin to react and respond in harmony with the will of God. We ask this
in Christ’s name.
Chester McCalley Volition 15
All scripture references are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted

We have been looking at 3 of the four concepts about our reactions. Remember that our
reaction presupposes that there is a stimulus of some type and that we are responding to it.
We are talking about our responses and reactions.

First, we noted that complaining is one of the great refuges from responsibility. Second, and
extremely important, is that our reactions are determined by internal not the external. This is
best summarized by the statement: “My wife is driving me up a wall.” That is saying that that
my reaction is caused by the external, and that is not an accurate statement at all. An accurate
statement is “I am allowing my wife to drive me up a wall”. When we say she does it to me,
than we are saying that our reactions are controlled by the external. When you say “I let you
do this to me” you accept responsibility and say that your reaction is due to the internal. This
principle is very important because it leaves us without excuse.

At the same time that is not to say that the external may not precipitate a reaction, but it
should not control it. So, an external circumstance, whether good or bad, provides us an
opportunity to a reaction and the reaction is our choice. We will do one of two things: we will
either react out of a mentality controlled by the word of God, or we will react out of a
mentality that is controlled by human viewpoint, which represents the sin nature.

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By the way, we are using the terms “divine viewpoint” and “human viewpoint” freely. If you
are not familiar with that terminology, all we mean is that the divine viewpoint is what is in
the Bible. It is God’s revelation, God’s truth and when we talk about divine viewpoint we are
talking about what the Bible teaches. When we talk about human viewpoint, we are talking
about everything else outside of it. Therefore, in any situation we may react with one of these
two. Of course, one of the objects in this study is to fill our mentality with knowledge of the
divine viewpoint, so that the next time we get stimulated by a good thing or a bad thing, we
will react according to knowledge rather than under the impetus of our sin nature.

Now, we are ready for the fourth point. This is the development of self-control, that is, the
concept that we are responsible for our actions, means we can take control of our emotional
world. There are several things implied by this. First, in the expression “emotional world”
we are simply trying to recognize that God made us to have feelings. There is nothing wrong
with emotions. There is everything wrong with emotions in control. We are not saying that
self-control is going to make a zombie out of you so that you never feel anything; that is not
true at all. It is simply saying that when we have self-control it can include our emotions.

Therefore, under the umbrella of responsibility, again keeping in mind that man will do
everything he can both consciously and subconsciously to find something that doesn’t fit
under the umbrella. Remember that we put under that umbrella we are responsible our
actions, our reactions and we are responsible for the way we feel. The reason we are
responsible for the way we feel is that they are a result of a thought process. The point is that
when doctrine, the word of God, takes over in our mentality, then we are responding to it
rather than to all these things that are stated under it.

Let’s look at some passages that relate thinking to emotion. How does the way I feel tie in to
the way I think? We all have certain feelings in various directions and we want to tie to see
what this has to do with the way we think. Let’s turn to Mark 7:15. We will look at two
passages that relate volition and thinking. Showing that the way we think is going to
determine the choices that we are going to make. This is the teaching of Jesus. If I had to put
a caption over this little section, I would say that this is Christian thinking versus modern
sociologic concepts, because they go head on at this point. Notice a principle is stated in
verse 15:

Mark 7:15-23
15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things
which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.

Remember that our reactions are not determined by the external, they are determined by the
internal. So the first simple concept in this passage is the idea that the external is not the
issue, the internal is. We will have two lines of teaching in regard to that. In this passage, He
says that the external cannot defile. Since the external cannot defile, He will also teach that
the external cannot purify either. That is found in Matthew 23:25 & 26.

Notice that the important thing underscored in verse 16:

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16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

This says two things: first, it is important and second, it is important for everybody, because
all people have ears.

17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him
concerning the parable. 18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do
ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile
him;

We are going to find that the “it” down through verse 19 is a reference to a physical
application. In other words, when he talks about external he is going to mean food coming
from outside. We are in a very tangible context and we know he is not just talking about ideas
down through verse 19, but something more physical than that.

19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught,
purging all meats?

As you know, you do not ingest ideas into the stomach; food gets ingested in the stomach.
That is the first indication that he is talking about an external, physical thing. However,
notice, that he is going to explain that in the following verses:

20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.
21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications,
murders,

Now we are moving past “from within the stomach” to the mentality, within the mind, within
the man himself.

22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride,


foolishness:
23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

He is simply teaching us that the sins of men come from the nature of men. That may seem
like a very simple statement, one that Christians would accept, but let’s keep in mind that we
live in a whole society that does not buy this. When we look at the sins of men, crime and so
forth, we do not associate them in modern thinking back to men doing what they do because
of their nature. The sins of men, by modern thinking, do not come from the nature; they come
from the environment. By the way, when we shift, as sociological thought does in this issue,
we move toward basis of socialism. This is a very important concept because it bears on the
political life of a country. The basic concept of socialism is 1) that the evils of humanity
come from environment. 2) The reasoning then goes on that, therefore, the solution to these
evils is improved and changed environment. And 3) the government can do that best. Do you
recognize this? Under socialism government looks at and identifies certain evils. I don’t
know if they would use that word or not, but evils such as poverty, crime, lack of housing –
all those things that you would say are not good for man. They are the things that are lacking

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and those things that are done that we need to deal with. Where does poverty come from?
Why is there crime? Why do men steal from one another? Why do people cheat? Why to they
kill? These things are obviously there; you cannot deny the existence of them, but why do
they do them? The answer in socialism is environment.

What is the answer of Jesus? “From within out of the heart proceeds” these things. In
socialism, it comes from environment and therefore your obvious next step is to improve and
change environment. Who can do that any better than Big Brother, which is government and
that is called socialism. If you are alert at all, do you see that this is the mentality of our
government today or not? By and large that is the mentality of it, which is why we have
arrived at such a socialistic state. Notice, however, that it goes right back to the beginning
premise. I am not trying to meddle in politics; I have a very basic objection to this because I
believe the Bible. I can’t buy the beginning premise; it doesn’t come out of man’s
environment, it comes out of the statement of Jesus in this particular context.

The second passage is in 2 Corinthians 10. This is a very important passage. The first thing
we must look at is the context of this passage. The whole book, by the way, is asking the
question is Paul under unfair attack? There is nothing about Paul that is not attacked in the
book of 2 Corinthians. The book records attacks on his actions, his attitudes, his motivations,
his teaching, his own personal character and his whole ministry. It is one massive attack on
the apostle Paul. His actions, coming down in the first chapter, because he had said he was
going to make a visit to see these people and some things came up and changed his plans, so
they attacked his actions.

They attack his motivation in 2 Corinthians 10:2 and accuse him of carnality.

But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith
I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.

In one context, probably one of the nastiest things they came against Paul with is this, that he
would not accept payment for his teaching and their attack was that this is what Paul thought
his teaching was worth. I would like to answer that: He is teaching for free because that’s all
his content is worth; it’s not worth anything and he is admitting that to you openly.

If you want to go into the subject of what Christian reactions to non-Christian thinking
should be, what is the key book? 2 Corinthians, because that is the whole subject of how
Paul reacts to these unjust accusations. The theme of 2 Corinthians is simply Christian
reaction to non-Christian treatment. So if we want a detailed study on this subject, this is the
book to go to. We will see Paul reacting with divine viewpoint, reacting in the right way
under some horribly terrible non-Christian treatment. As a matter of fact, I think we could
say that 2 Corinthians is Christian reaction to the most extreme non-Christian treatment that
we can find anyway as far as Scripture is concerned.

In chapter 10 the attack on Paul is this: when Paul is absent he is demanding and he is strong.
When he is present he is weak. Demanding when you are absent and weak when you are

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present all equals that he is a hypocrite, he will talk to you one way when he is away from
you and another way when he is with you. Notice verse 1:
2 Corinthians 10:1-2
Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence
am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: 2 But I beseech you, that I may
not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against
some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.

There is the context, Paul is bold when he is absent, weak when he is present which all adds
up to hypocrisy. How would you like to give your whole life to the ministry of the word of
God and die daily, literally die daily, for preaching that message and have to react to that sort
of accusation? I would say Paul has every right to be bitter. He has a right to develop a
complex. He has a right to a little self-pity, doesn’t he? Well, the first person to say no, he
doesn’t would be Paul himself, though there is seemingly justification from the human
standpoint. Paul grew to maturity because he understood that he was responsible for his
attitudes and reactions.

In responding to this treatment, he is going to give us a very key passage. Paul is going to
say I am in my ministry doing two things in a certain order. 1) My ministry is dedicated to
tearing down. We love to think of building up; we love to think positively, but Paul’s first
emphasis in this passage is not positive. His first emphasis is the steel ball and the wrecking
crew. 2) is going to be the concept of building up. Since this method is recorded in Scripture,
this is really going to indicate what the Holy Spirit wants to do in respect to us. His ministry
toward us through the word of God is very negative. He wants to tear down certain
framework that we have now existing so we can clear out all the rubbish and put up
something decent. We ought always to think in terms of relating to the Lord in a negative
way and a positive way. There are many times He comes in and says, “That’s junk. Burn it. It
has to go. I want to put something nice there, but I can’t do it as long as you are holding on to
this.” The thing we are trying to focus on is that God cannot build maturity until we accept
responsibility for choices, which is very basic and very important.

I think a framework for verses 4 and 5, think of a lot that has a whole bunch of dilapidated,
useless building on it. In comes the wrecking crew with the bulldozer. They pile it up and
push it over into a corner and all this stuff starts going up in flames. Then in comes a new
crew with the cleared land and begins to build a magnificent building. Now, make that shift
into 2 Corinthians 10: 4 & 5. Basically God looks down at every one of us and the lot He
looks at is our mentality. Do you know what He sees? He sees an old, shabby, broken down
bunch of buildings and He says, “Hey, I want to build there in your mentality. I want to build
something other than all that junk you have there. There’s a little bitterness over there. I don’t
want that there. I want to put something nice, the Fruit of the Spirit, over there where that
pile of bitterness is. All those reactionary things, those fears and apprehensions that you react
with, I would like to bulldoze those off, burn it up and I’d like to put up a nice structure of
stability.”

This passage is going to be the way that He does that. Basically, God comes in and looks at
us and says, “See that idea over there on that left forty of your mentality? That’s wrong; burn

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it. And over here adjacent to it is an attitude that is sinful; burn it. Over there is a concept,
one of your favorites that you love to work on, and that’s human viewpoint and I’m going to
drop a steel ball on it.”

You ask, “Do we have to let this happen?” Oh, no. Why not? Because you have a volition.
You can say you are sorry and that you want your little outhouse in place of patience and
self-control; you like it and what to hold on to it. That’s okay, keep on with bitterness, fear
and apprehension and live with all of that – unless you decide you would like to have God
install some running water, indoor toilets and so forth in your mentality. He wants to get rid
of all of that so that He can come in and give us new attitudes, new concepts, a whole new
structure built up with divine viewpoint framework.

2 Corinthians 10:4
4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down
of strong holds;)

Notice three immediate concepts: 1) we are at war; we are engaged in battle. We don’t have
to be. There is one way to avoid ever having a fight and that is always get beat up. There is
no fight when you have your hands in your pockets. You get bruises and so forth, but there is
no fight. If you want to proceed in the Christian life without any warfare, without any battle,
we can do that, just don’t do anything, and be dominated by human opinion and so forth. But
Paul doesn’t look at is this way. We are in a battle, or warfare.

Concept 2): Not only is that true, but we are not in the battle without any means to win it
because we have weapons. We are in a battle and we have something to fight the battle with.

Again, the quality of whether or not we win in the warfare depends very largely upon the
nature of the weapons. Consequently, when we come to chapter 10, we are in warfare and
have been equipped for warfare, so the question is who is our weapons manufacturer?

Concept 3): We are mighty through God. The three concepts are that we are in battle, we
have weapons to fight it with and God has given us the weapons, so that obviously spells
victory. Well, not necessarily, though, does it? Because all Christians are in warfare, all of
them have weapons supplied by God in the arsenal of the word of God, but all Christians
don’t experience victory. Why? Not all Christians experience victory because you may
choose to say you are sorry, but you are going to keep the arsenal of weapons shut and go do
battle on your own. That’s fine, but then we come back from battle with all kinds of mental
attitudes, such as self-pity, that God does not want us to have.

When we come to verse 4, then, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong
holds;, what are strongholds in this context? Strongholds will be anything and everything
contrary to the word of God.

In this battle we are going to get some real action and that action is going to extend around
three participles, three –ing words in the Greek text. The first two are negative and the third
one is positive.

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The first participle is “casting down”. The second one is “that exalts itself”. They are both
present tense participles, so they both describe ongoing activities. We are continually casting
down because they are continually rising up. We will see more about that when we get to the
nature of one of these. The emphasis is that every time we cast down a human viewpoint
idea, another one pops up. We clobber that one and what happens? Another one pops up. Do
you see why Satan would like to make you think that you can have a once for all victory
experience in the Christian life? He loves for you to have that kind of thinking because that
gives him the chance, with the present tense, of popping up all these things all around you,
while you thought you had the battle won, and you are standing there saying you have
victory in the Lord, when all the while over your shoulder is a snake. As you say that you
have made your decision that day and won it, another snake hangs down from the ceiling.
You turn around – if you ever do turn around - and realize that it wasn’t a once-for-all thing
after all.

Therefore, it’s a continuous activity. If you can think of a never-ending snake and God giving
you a shovel with the instructions that if one pops up you are to clobber it. So you clobber it.
But if you will just look to your right, there is another one in the corner, so you clobber that
one. Do you ever have that kind of experience in Bible study? You get this concept down,
then as soon as you get it down you come to another passage and that passage tells you you
are rotten over here. Then you deal with that, and as soon as you deal with that another
passage comes along and tells you that you blew it because while you were doing this, you
forgot that. While you were making a right turn you forgot to hold altitude and you are going
down fast now. So you pull up and so forth. That is the process Paul is dealing with in the
context.

This looks like there is no victory, doesn’t it? Every time a human viewpoint comes up you
hit it with the word and then something else comes up and you hit it, that jus spells out a
never-ending battle and nobody ever seems to win. Oh, yes. Every time something exalts
itself against knowing God and we crush it, do you know what we have done? We have
logged a captive.

Now, the third participle is in the last part of verse 5:

bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

A couple of things before we go into this in detail: 1) Human viewpoint never stops
bombarding us. Verse 5 says “casting down imaginations and every high thing that keeps on
lifting itself up against knowledge of God.” Can you identify with that? Let’s be very
concrete. In thinking back over your week, has anything come up, whatever it’s nature that
prevented you from knowing Christ? Therefore, we must be very realistic and say it will
never go away. Next week, or right now, what is rearing up against our knowing Christ? That
is what Paul is talking about. Matching the participle in verse 5, “things that rise up” is the
participle “casting down”. 2) What is our response to be to that? We are to clobber it every
single time. It is always casting down imaginations.

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What happens when we do that? When we clobber human viewpoint in our mentality we are
gaining captives for Him, which is the latter part of the verse, bringing into captivity every
thought to the obedience of Christ. The important of this is very simple: when we can operate
on 2 Corinthians 10:5, our thoughts will be in control and when our thoughts are in control
everything else is in control in the fullest sense of the word.

Now, let’s get into the detail of verse 5. We begin with the participle “casting down
imaginations”. First of all, the word for casting down is “kathaireo”. This means, for
example, tearing down a building. The word involves the demolition crew. Look also at how
it is used in Luke 1:52

52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.

This is probably the best meaning of this word. We are looking specifically for the word
meaning here. He is talking about rulers, and He has put them down, He has dethroned the
mighty from their thrones. It is used of tearing down a building and dethroning a ruler.
Taking it back to the context in 2 Corinthians, this certainly fits, doesn’t it? Verse 5 is in the
present tense, so it is a continuous activity on our part: continually dethroning imaginations
“logismos”, from which comes our English word logic. It means logic, reasoning,
calculation, scheme, plan, thought process. In this context, the last definition is probably the
most clear of the synonyms.

What do we have we expand it out for its meaning? We are engaged in a battle and the battle
is, first of all, negative. We have to destroy something, and that is we are continually tearing
down or dethroning thought processes. Why doesn’t he build first? Why don’t we just be
positive? We can’t until we get the junk cleared. Therefore, the assumption is that my mind,
my mentality, is clouded with all kinds of wrong thought processes. Paul is saying we must
get all of this cleared out.

Notice that these instructions precede and go before construction. Destruction goes before
construction. We have to be willing to give up what we think so that He can get hold of what
we think.

Let’s translate this into something very practical. You may say you would like to grow into a
mature Christian mentality, so that your actions are Christian and your reactions are
Christian. But you must remember something: no believer ever grows until he learns to
throw up. By that I mean we must literally get sick of human viewpoint to the point that we
don’t want it any more. We must get tired of the human mentality that produces bad
emotions, bad reactions, bitterness and so forth. We must get sick of it and want to get away
from it. Therefore, at this point in 2 Corinthians we have to be negative and identify in our
environment whatever is contrary to the word of God and we have to actively deny it. This is
a very negative concept, and, of course, what is it that gets in our way? Notice in verse 5:

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of
God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

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Continually dethroning thought processes and, or perhaps even, every high thing that keeps
rising up and getting in the way of knowing God.

What can some of those high things be? They can be very, very trivial. Here’s an option to
learn the word and come to know God but I have to cut the grass. At that point the lawn
mower happens to be one of those high things that we are to clobber in this context.

Notice, and again we have been talking about self-control, that step two is that we gain
control. We gain control by submission of our mentality to Christ. Occasionally you will
come across a believer who wants to play with God’s word. We said the other night, sort of
like the girl who likes a guy too much to leave him, but not enough to marry him. That is just
miserable on the inside, and you get believers like that who like to play at Scripture and have
a little bit of it, but that doesn’t work in this context. This is a battle that involves the mind
and we can’t play at it. As a matter of fact, I would say that the most dangerous thing that we
can ever do is to fail to respond to the truth in the right way. We will see that in our study of
Saul. Saul exposed himself to the word of God, but he did not respond correctly to the word
of God; he responded negatively to it and he end up a suicide. This may sound strange in
order of importance, but first of all, the best thing to do for ourselves is total allegiance to the
word of God.

The next best thing is to forget it all together. The third, and worst thing is to play with it. We
will see this again in the life of Saul. Truth is not the kind of thing that you can just be cool
about, and say there it is; let’s go take a look at it. When we take a look at it, God says we are
then responsible. If we are negative toward it, mild problems all the way up to psychotic
conditions can come out of that wrong response to the word of God.

The latter part of the verse says, “bring into captivity every thought.” That is the word
“noema” and it is translated as “thought”. It is a word that takes in your designs, your intents,
purpose and, in a broad sense, it is any product of the mind. This, of course, is other than the
word of God.

So the statement is: bringing into captivity every product of my mental process, every
product of the mind to Christ. Now, let me ask you, does this verse spell out control? We
could then make another umbrella called the “control umbrella”. This context is saying we
can control our thoughts. We control it by tearing out the junk that is contrary to the word of
God and we add to it bringing all the thought process into submission to Him. Coming out of
our thoughts we have our actions – as a man thinketh in his heart so is he. Out of that come
our reactions. And out of that come our feelings.

What is all of this? “Egkratea”, fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:23, which means we are in
control of our life. Now, let’s start the development of that a little further. We are now going
to talk about controlling our emotions by our thoughts. Controlling what we feel by the way
we think. Or, application of divine viewpoint, that is, the word of God, to our emotional
world. We will see a positive aspect to this, and then we will go into Saul who did not apply
God’s word and his emotional world went all the way to suicide.

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Father, once again we give You thanks for Your word and we would ask You to enable us by
Your Spirit to be very realistic with ourselves. Help us not to spare ourselves and help us to
cut through all of the excuses that our environment has given us; all of the excuses that we
have thought up ourselves; all of the excuses that Satan wants us to erect in our minds so
instead of being more than conquerors through Christ we just roll over under the things we
can’t help and play dead until we die. Therefore, Father, help us to learn this from Your word.
In Christ’s Name, Amen.
Chester McCalley Volition 16

XXIV. All scripture references are from the King James Version unless
otherwise noted

We are coming tonight to a conclusion of what has turned out to be about a 16-week study in
the area of volition; the right and the privilege we have of making decisions. We will have
one more session and I think it would be well to go back and compress everything into the
main features of it and restate some of the points. I think this is important because I am
finding myself saying, “Let’s see, we covered that.” Then fumbling to try to remember where
that was. If I am forgetting it in the process of preparing, then probably in the process of
hearing it you have the same problem. I think that perhaps some restatement of some of these
points will be helpful. When questions are asked or comments are made about the teaching it
helps me to find out what that sometimes I might go back and say it differently, because there
is the way you intend it and then there is the way it is taken. Consequently, some of these
points I would like to rephrase for better understanding.

We will be doing two things in closing: One is the subject we introduced last time, which is
controlling our emotions by our thoughts, or the application of the word of God to our
emotional world. This is a very important thing, because we generally like to say we can’t
help what you feel. We are going to find out that this is not true at all. We can very much help
what we feel.

We are going to build around two premises. 1) I can control my thoughts. 2 Corinthians 2:5b
says,
“and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”. Paul went about the
negative part where we tear down strongholds and where our thoughts are committed to
Christ. This verse is simply saying we can control our thoughts. If we don’t buy premise #1,
if we think we are just poor victims of our mentality and we can’t bring it into the line of
God’ word, then, of course, we are going to be defeated, but that is the premise we are going
to be working from tonight. 2) God does not want His children to be defeated in anything.
We can take that a little further: not only does God not want His children to be defeated, but
more than that, He has provided for victory. Romans 8:37 is the basic passage for saying that:

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

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If we are going to say that we can’t help the way we feel, then we are gong to have to say we
are to be victorious in every area of the Christian life, except that we may be the victims of
our feelings. To me, by Romans 8:37 as a sample passage, we cannot say that. Notice the
wording of Romans 8:37. The important expression in that phrase is “we are more than
conquerors”. This is an interesting expression in the Greek New Testament, because “more
than conquerors” is expressed in the verb “hupernikao”. It is a compound word. The word
“nikao” means to win or to conquer. We have seen that word lots in the last few years. You
can’t go a day in the English language without speaking Greek. The athletic brand, Nike, is
from the word “nikao” and it means winner, conqueror. When you wear those shoes you
have a Greek word emblazoned on the back stating you are a winner. On the front of that
word meaning to win, or winner, is the word “huper”, from which we get super in English.
So the compound word in verse 37 is saying “in all these things – do we put in parentheses
here and add except our emotions, which we can’t control, or all these things except the way
we feel about things, which we can’t help? We can’t do that can we? In all these things, our
activities, our actions, our reactions, our feelings, we are to be characterized as super
winners.

Under that umbrella of super winner, are we going to exclude our feelings? Can we say we
can get it all together, except for feelings? Of course the answer to that is no, and therefore,
you see where we are going with the second premise. God does not want His children to be
defeated. If He does, how do get around the concept in Romans 8:37? This is to describe the
Christian in his life. It is also includes our feelings.

Let’s ask some questions about feelings. Are feelings spontaneous or, are they produced by
something else, by a cause? By that I mean, if you are sitting in a situation and nothing
happened, would you completely spontaneously have a reaction and have a certain feeling? Is
that true of feelings?

How are we going to answer that? First we will look at the question are they spontaneous?
No. The second answer to that question is yes. No, basically they are not spontaneous.
Feelings are the result of our thoughts, or our thought life, our better stated, our thought
habits. That is simply saying that if we have a certain feeling, it is legitimate to ask why we
have that feeling and trace back to its cause.

For example, I have a feeling of fear that my business will fail. In this we have expressed a
feeling, an attitude, and that is “I am afraid”. Then we should ask why? The answer to that
can lie in one of two places. I am afraid my business will fail based on fact. I have done
business with many businesses that should fear failing, considering the service given. If the
owner would wake up, he would have to be aware that there are facts behind the feeling of
fear that his business would fail. Or, it can be simply based on a learned reactionary pattern.
In other words, it is not so much based on fact. Let’s suppose that the business next door
fails and the business down the block fails and the business across town fails, or your uncle’s
business fails, another friend’s business fails. Now, does that really say that your business is
going to fail? You could very easily begin to react to each of those, however, and pretty soon
you have yourself all whipped up feeling that your business is going to fail, too. Where did

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that feeling come from? Well, it was a learned reaction to a series of things that happened
over time. Therefore we can say feelings come from our thoughts.

But we can also answer the question are they spontaneous? By saying, yes they are. They can
become that after we practice bad reactions over a period of time. Let’s work out a concrete
example of this. Let’s suppose

FEELING UNDERLYING DEALING WITH GOD’S WORD


TOUGHTS IT
Fear of Death Looking at one’s Denial, closing All of our thoughts
age, health, family your eyes to facts are to be brought
medical history into captivity to
Christ

So we can change our mental attitude. We begin, not to ignore these things, but to give them
new emphasis. We can see several things: 1) I do possess eternal life. Let that fill your
mentality. Then throw in a little more doctrine. 2 Corinthians 5:8 says, “8 We are confident, I
say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” We
throw into our mentality Philippians 1:20-21, “According to my earnest expectation and my
hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also
Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” We throw in the fact that God, as
Sovereign, has a plan for me. Then what happens? Fear is under control of our mind. And
our mind is, in turn, filled with biblical truth and it doesn’t deny our age, it doesn’t deny our
health, but it really does put into perspective which of the categories is the big one. It is
through the intake of doctrine that we come to control these various things.

We should add to this, and it is very important, a series of negative responses to God’s word
can lead to neurosis and even psychosis. We want to stress the tremendous importance of the
fact that when we have contact with God’s word and we do not respond by saying yes and
believing it, we are beginning to form habits that can very well lead to a neurotic disposition,
and ultimately a psychotic disposition. We are going to see one that was negative to God’s
word and he went, I believe, all the way from his negative response to the word of God to
developing, first of all, some little problems, second into a neurosis and finally into a
psychotic state. His name was Saul. Let’s look at his history in 1 Samuel 8. Let’s just look at
a little of the historical, chronological outline of Saul. First of all, you have the section of
Samuel that talks about Saul’s establishment as king, that is 1 Samuel 8:9 & 10. In the
establishment of Saul as king, the first thing we see is the demand of the nation. They had
had judges up till this time and the people simply got tired of it and said they wanted to be
like the other nations and have a king, so they made a demand. Following that, God warned
them what was going to happen. Then a meeting occurs in chapter 9, and it is the meeting of
Samuel, God’s prophet (God’s mouthpiece speaking to Israel through His prophet) and Saul.
Notice a very important beginning with this man, Saul, in chapter 9. We are going to see him
from the state of chapter 9 all the way to his suicide. Through all these tempestuous periods
of feeling and emotion and fear and guilt and revenge we will see where they are rooted; his

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feelings of fear and his feelings of jealousy were rooted in a negative response to the word of
God.

1 Samuel 9:2
And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man,

Starting here, “choice young man” is translated as a passive participle, but in the Hebrew
means a selected young man, the idea of potential. So, we start with a choice young man, or a
man chosen by God. Now, take this and note something. The choice young man is going to
end his life by suicide. That ought to be interesting: how did a choice young man come to the
place of suicide? What happened to him? Was he a victim? We will find out that the choice
young man came face to face with the word of God and he made some bad choices.
Basically, they were a denial of responsibility. Saul will say, “Yes, I sinned, but I am not
responsible.” Saul committed suicide because, ultimately, he had a negative response to
God’s word, and he said he was not responsible for that. We will find that from that point on
it is just one tumble over the cliff.

At this point then, we start with tremendous potential, but let’s pretend we don’t know what
is to follow or the rest of the story; we just have a superb physical specimen, a choice young
man ready to go into life. The next thing that occurs is that he gets a private anointing by
Samuel. God tells Samuel that Saul is the man that is going to be king over Israel and he is
anointed in verse 1 Samuel 9:26-10:1. Notice what happens in that passage.

1 Sam 9:26-10:1
And they arose early: and it came to pass about the spring of the day, that Samuel called Saul
to the top of the house, saying, Up, that I may send thee away. And Saul arose, and they went
out both of them, he and Samuel, abroad. 27 And as they were going down to the end of the
city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us, (and he passed on,) but stand
thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God.
1 Samuel 10
Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it
not because the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?

In verse 27 “And as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid
the servant pass on before us, (and he passed on,) but stand thou still a while, that I may shew
thee the word of God”
we have a choice young man and now he meets the word of God. Then in the following verse
God confirms the choice of Saul as king. In the last part of chapter 10 he is installed as king,
and then we move in Chapter 11 to the reign of Saul. The two major things we have are that
we have a choice young man who is now exposed to the word of God. When we are exposed
to the word of God we have an obligation to affirm that this is true and God said we are to
believe it and to make it our option. If we do not do that, then we are setting up the choices
that, protracted over a period of time, can lead from neurosis clear to suicide.

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Basically in chapter 11 through chapter 12 we would see how Saul gains national recognition
as king and in the middle of chapter 12 you have Samuel giving a speech to Saul as he is to
take the throne. Notice what it revolves around in 1 Samuel 12:14:

If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the
commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you
continue following the LORD your God:

This is the important issue. Samuel is stressing to Saul that it how he responds to the word of
God is so important. See in verse 15:

1 Samuel 12:15
But if ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the
LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against your fathers.

Notice the point we have made: a choice young man in contact with the word of God then
Samuel comes along and stresses the point to him. You must respond to the word of God in a
positive way. This is of tremendous importance.

With chapter 13, Saul is installed and chapter 13 through chapter 14 is a series of accounts of
war with the Philistines. However, when we come to chapter 13:8, we begin to get the first
negative volition on the part of Saul toward the word of God. Basically, God’s word had said
that the priests and the king were to keep separate in their offices. The priest is not to do what
the king is to do and the king is not to do what the priests is to do. Is that always true? Can’t
you think of some circumstances in which it is okay, because of mitigating circumstances and
in full respect of the word of God and for expediency for the king to take a priestly role?
What Saul will always do, and this is his character, is to appear one way but act another way
and then make excuses for his wrong behavior. That is the mentality we will see in Saul all
the way through. When it comes to out and out sinning, Saul did not hold a candle to King
David. David could do 20 sins while Saul was thinking about the first one – an interesting
contrast between the two, but notice what happens in Chapter 13, verse 8 as they are ready to
go into battle:

And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel
came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.

Samuel had told Saul he would meet him in a week, and Saul is going to get a little test here
as to whether he thinks he really must obey the word of God. Can you see the pressure when
Samuel did not come? The prophet is late and Saul is losing control of the people and thinks
he should do something. See what happens in verse 9:

And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the
burnt offering.

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Is there anything wrong with the things that Saul had brought to him? No they are legitimate
things, even commanded by the word of God, but here is the sin: he, the king – not the priest
– offered the burnt offering. This is a big thing. Isn’t a peace offering God’s work? The point
is that God had said a priest is to do that, not the king. How seriously was this taken?

1 Sam 13:10
10 And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering,
behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him.

In verse 1 Samuel 13:1-10 we have Saul’s sin. In 13:11-13 we have Saul’s rationalization, or
his cop-out on responsibility, the subject we have been talking about. Notice the way he does
this in verse 11:

1 Samuel 13:11-12
And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were
scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the
Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; 12 Therefore said I, The Philistines
will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I
forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.

If Saul had faced it, what should he have said? He should have said that he disobeyed the
word of God. But that’s not Saul. Saul always rationalizes his disobedience. He rationalized
because the people were scattering from him. He rationalized Samuel didn’t come in the days
appointed and he rationalized that the Philistines had gathered themselves together at
Michmash. He rationalized that the Philistines would attack him and he had not made
supplication to the Lord. He forced himself, therefore, and offered a burnt offering. There is
the pattern that is set up, and we can say this: Saul never once faces disobedience. He always
faces it and then cops out on his responsibility without exception. And his justification, by
the way, is always pious; it is always spiritual. You can always see this, here is disobedience
reeking with piety all the way through.

Then in chapter 15:1-3 we have, first, opportunity to affirm and obey the word of God. Then
we have, second, disobedience, and third, he refuses to accept responsibility, or he
rationalizes his responsibility for his choices.

What will that lead us to? This sequence repeated and repeated will lead to a neurotic and,
ultimately, a psychotic man. In other words, these choices are going to lead to certain
feelings. Repeated, bad choices and refusals to accept responsibility will lead to these
problems

His second opportunity to obey the word of God and accept responsibility for disobeying it
when he sins is in chapter 1 Samue15.

1 Samuel 15:1-3
Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people,
over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD. 2 Thus

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saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for
him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. 3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly
destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and
suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

Saul ought to relate to these words. He didn’t obey before and got into trouble, this time he
should make a good choice and accept responsibility. Verse 3 is very clear about God’s
instructions to Saul. He is supposed to wipe out the Amalekites. There is no respect for age,
sex, not even the cattle. God wants the whole nation to be wiped out. So Saul begins to
respond to that, gathering the people together, but Saul has a bad problem. He rationalized
responsibility and when you rationalize responsibility you will ultimately rationalize duty.
Notice the way he does that in verse 7:

And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against
Egypt.
8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, 9 But Saul and the people spared Agag,
and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was
good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they
destroyed utterly.

That is not what God demanded. It says Saul spared Agag. Who do you think Saul is going to
blame for this when he rationalizes on his second opportunity? He will blame the people. He
modified what God ordered them to do. We have now his second opportunity and he
disobeys. Sometimes we talk about partial disobedience. I don’t really think there is any such
thing; we obey or we do not. Just because he did a little bit of what God said did not justify
the fact that God said he was disobedient. He disobeyed. Notice the rationalization that
comes in verse 13:

13 And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have
performed the commandment of the LORD. 14 And Samuel said, What meaneth then this
bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? 15 And Saul
said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the
sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly
destroyed.

What Saul says just reeks, doesn’t it? But the last couple of words of his first sentence to
Samuel almost get wiped out because of the bleating of the sheep, don’t they? Samuel
immediately asks what this bleating of sheep means! In verse 15 Saul uses the first person
plural “they” and then goes on to place the blame on the people, but with piety, “to sacrifice
unto the LORD thy God and the rest we have utterly destroyed”. Notice the “we “ is on the
obedient side and “they” – those people – were on the disobedient side. Again, Saul refuses
responsibility in both cases under a cloak of piety.

1 Samuel 15:19-20
Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and
didst evil in the sight of the LORD? 20 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the

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voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought
Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.

He has it all rationalized in his mind, he has gone the way the Lord sent him, and has brought
Agag the king of the Amalekites and has utterly destroyed the Amalekites. The same thing is
found in verses 24 and 25 about his rejection.

I think there is an interesting parallel to another Old Testament character: King David. In 2
Samuel 12:13 we see that David has sinned. Let’s compare the sin of David to the sin of Saul.
Saul just failed to execute all the judgment on the Amalekites as he ought to have. All he did
was to offer a peace offering when the priest wasn’t there. Those are kind of “clean” kinds of
sins, aren’t they? They are kind of antiseptic. What did David do? He committed adultery,
and not only that, but he had the husband of the woman he got pregnant killed in battle. Isn’t
that worse than a peace offering? It is the difference in how these two men respond to their
sin and the difference is that Saul responded by rejecting his responsibility and David accepts
responsibility for it. Notice how David responds when the prophet Nathan points out David’s
sin:

2 Samuel 12:13
And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD.

There is no “they”, no “the people” and no rationalization, just a short sentence. That is not
Saul; Saul would have had a little more to add to that. In Psalm 32 we see what makes David
so great:

Psalm 32:5
5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my
transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
This is just open acceptance of responsibility. Do you see the difference between the two
men? David makes no excuses; he assumes responsibility. Again in Psalm 51 we see David’s
openness without rationalization:

Psalm 51:3-4
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned.

David takes full responsibility for his sin against God. David and Saul are two different men.

Back in 1 Samuel 15, we see that we have a rationalizing person, refusing to take
responsibility and now, in chapter 18: 6-11 we begin to come to his emotional demise. From
here we will see him go to a complete basket case. We will break this down in to several
categories of things that begin to pop up in his character. They all show an emotional life out
of control.

1 Sam 18:6-11

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6 And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the
Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king
Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music. 7 And the women answered one
another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.

8 And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed
unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have
more but the kingdom?
9 And Saul eyed David from that day and forward. 10 And it came to pass on the morrow,
that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house:
and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul's hand. 11
And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David
avoided out of his presence twice.

The point is that we cannot handle anything emotionally until we have responded mentally to
the word of God. Saul will have an emotional stress face him here that he cannot cope with
or handle. The reason he cannot is that he has a negative attitude toward the word of God.
The first feeling is the feeling of jealousy, which will eat him up. We could ask how do you
deal with jealousy? Why was he jealous? Where is his insecurity coming from? It comes
from his original negative volition toward the word of God. So in one sense, we have
emotions out of control. Jealousy is his first out of control emotion. In verse 6 we see that
David has had a victory over Goliath and he is coming back into town and the people are
singing:

6 And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the
Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king
Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music. 7 And the women answered one
another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.

Saul could not handle the song. At this point he doesn’t have any choice; he has already
registered a negative volition toward the word of God and now the man who won’t accept
responsibility for sin is going to lose control of his emotional life. In verse 8 we see his
response:

8 And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed
unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have
more but the kingdom?
9 And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.

You see jealousy beginning to come in. Secondly, you have fear begin to enter. His emotional
world is beginning to fall apart. You see that he is beginning to get a little irrational.

11 And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And
David avoided out of his presence twice.

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It is not unfair to say that something is falling apart here. David is playing music to Saul and
all of a sudden Saul throws a javelin at him. He is out of control. Then in verse 12:

12 And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, and was departed from
Saul.

Why wouldn’t the Lord be with Saul? He could have been, but Saul registered negative
volition to the word of God and when he sinned he would not admit that he was responsible
for it. From that point on all his actions are going to be colored by this jealousy and fear.
This is the time that the feelings begin to consume. There is jealousy that you get over, but he
is past that point and the jealousy is going to eat him up. In chapter 18 verse 20 we see where
Saul is looking at the marriage of his daughter. Since he is out of control of his emotional life
and he is eaten up with jealousy and fear, he is even going to look at his daughter as a means
of manipulating vengeance. Even his family life is covered by his jealousy now.

1 Sam 18:20
And Michal Saul's daughter loved David: and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.
21 And Saul said, I will give him her, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the
Philistines may be against him. Wherefore Saul said to David, Thou shalt this day be my son
in law in the one of the twain.

Third, we find the emotions and feelings deepen; it gets worse. In chapter 18, verse 12 we
read that he was afraid, but notice what is happening in verse 29:

1 Samuel 18:29
And Saul was yet the more afraid of David;

The emotional trauma and problem begins to deepen. And fifth, he is unable to sustain any
kind of purpose. Is this good or bad? This man is getting eaten up; he is out of control. He
can do nothing now because of his negative reaction to the word of God. See what happens
next:

1 Samuel 19:1
And Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David.

And in verse 6:

1 Samuel 19:6
6 And Saul hearkened unto the voice of Jonathan: and Saul sware, As the LORD liveth, he
shall not be slain.

That is real stability, isn’t it? Kill him! No, don’t kill him! Everything is out of control and
he cannot maintain purpose. We see it again in verses 9 and 10:

1 Samuel 19:9-10

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9 And the evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in
his hand: and David played with his hand.

10 And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin; but he slipped away out
of Saul's presence, and he smote the javelin into the wall: and David fled, and escaped that
night.

Saul says to kill David, then not to kill him, then he throws a javelin at him. He is unable to
sustain purpose, and it all roots back to the opportunity to obey the word of God, to say that
he had sinned, but he just couldn’t do it and it has led to his emotional demise.

A sixth feature that comes in is that he simply becomes the victim of obsession. In chapter 19
verses 20 and 21 he become so obsessed with David that he goes from place to place and that
is all he can think about.

1 Samuel 19:21-22
And when it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. And Saul
sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also. 22 Then went he also to
Ramah, and came to a great well that is in Sechu: and he asked and said, Where are Samuel
and David? And one said, Behold, they be at Naioth in Ramah.

From here on you see Saul tearing all over the place trying to fulfill his obsessive jealousy.

Seventh, he develops an inability to respond with gratefulness because he is so bitter and so


out of control. Even when someone is good to him, he can’t be grateful.

1 Samuel 24:16
16 And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that
Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David?

David had had the opportunity to kill Saul and he told Saul that he spared his life. What did
Saul do? He burst into tears and he is now lifting up his voice and weeping. This happened a
second time after this first time. He was so eaten up that he could not respond with
gratefulness.

Eighth, contact with truth is lost. In 1 Samuel 28 we see Saul is demolished emotionally:

1 Samuel 28:7
Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go
to her, and inquire of her.

Here he is, the one who had the God of Israel, the truth of the Scriptures, and he has lost
contact with the truth. You see, truth rejected is ultimately truth lost.

Ninth, ending in chapter 39:4, he commits suicide

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1 Samuel 31:4
Then said Saul unto his armour bearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest
these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armour bearer
would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.

Where did this begin? Remember? In chapter 9 verse 2 we started with a choice young man
who was exposed to the word of God. That choice young man disobeyed it and refused to
accept responsibility for doing so. God gave him a second chance to do it and he went
through the same sequence a second time. Then all of his emotional demise entered into the
picture and we have the collapse of Saul. Would you be able to say here that Saul couldn’t
help what was happening to him? Probably so, but he couldn’t deal with these things by
dealing with fear. He had to go back to what all these things flowed from and therefore, had
he gone perhaps for some psychiatric help, the psychiatrist would have told him to deal with
the jealous and fear. God says this is all the product. The life out of control comes out of the
real issue. David’s response would have been to admit that he had sinned; that he had
disobeyed the word of God and that is why he was in the position he was in.

The last thing we want to cover is to deal with some specific Christian responses we should
have. We are talking about reactions in this context.

1) Never combat sin against us with sin. That is a non-Christian response.


1 Peter 3:9
9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye
are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

The term “rendering” is “apodidimi” and it is the word for reciprocating. It is used for
financial compensation and means to give back something. It is used here in the present
tense, so don’t ever have the habit of paying back evil for evil, or railing for railing.
“Railing” is “loideria” and it is verbal abuse. What is he saying? When you are sinned against
verbally, don’t respond in kind. Don’t combat sin with sin.

2) The second specific Christian response is in the latter part of that verse.
“but contrariwise blessing”

The aim of every reaction should be blessing. I take both of those principals out of 1 Peter
3:9.
What are you going to do if you go out to the parking lot and someone meets you with a club
and begins to beat your wife? Are you going to try to communicate blessing, or are you going
to try to do something to stop the beating. The key is this: Reactions should always align
with responsibility. This brings up the question, when we talk about the husband protecting
his wife, what does that include? The husband is to protect and care for his wife (Ephesians
5:21-33). She ought to be protected emotionally, mentally, spiritually – those are the
husband’s responsibility. Should we include that she is to be protected physically? Sure we
should. The husband is responsible to protect his wife physically; therefore, there should be
no problem of knowing what to do in a case like that. You are not returning sin for sin. Can
you see the difference between protecting your wife and the concept of not returning verbal

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abuse for verbal abuse? Verbal abuse is being sinned against and sinning in return. Is that
your responsibility? Of course not. But if someone is beating your wife, then you have a
responsibility to provide the physical protection needed.

Is it the Christian husband’s responsibility to prevent emotional abuse of his wife? Would
you do anything if you knew that someone was harassing her emotionally? Would you be
responsible to do anything? Yes, you would.

Are you responsible for spiritual protection? Of course you are. All of these things are the
husband’s responsibility. In fact, if there is a fellow believer under emotional, mental or
spiritual attack, should you try to help him? Of course you should. What about physical
attack? Yes, you should help him. There are doctrinal reasons for this. The body is the
temple of the Holy Spirit and therefore should be protected. I think we can extend that even
to having the responsibility in marriage for the other person. We have a responsibility to
protect other believers. And, the logical extension is that we have responsibility to protect
ourselves. I would protect my “temple”, my body if I had the means to do so. That is a
reaction that aligns with responsibility to protect.

Someone might say that he couldn’t do anything when his wife was being physically attacked
and simply wanted to communicate the gospel to that person. No! Knock him out first and
communicate the gospel at the hospital. There is responsibility that is entailed in marriage
that should be fulfilled. 1 Peter is not saying to neglect responsibility.

Even further, as believers, shouldn’t we react to crime by giving full assistance to the
enforcement of criminal laws and punishment? What is Romans 13 about? Romans 13 has
probably the most fundamental concepts you could have about civil government. The
government is to protect its citizens by creating fear in the criminal. You can get the biblical
concept of government with the 3 Ps:
The government is to protect, not produce, not provide. That is where we have gotten into
great trouble. We look at the government as the producer and provider of all good things.
That is not God’s place for it; God’s place is for government to protect. Therefore, if God
says that civil authorities are to produce fear among those that create havoc, as Romans 13
says, doesn’t it indicate that we as believers should support that vigorously?

When choosing a reaction to a wrong, what should you do? The reason for the wrong should
be considered. Here are two examples to explain what I mean:

1) Stephen was stoned. That was wrong to do to Stephen.


2) Someone goes by your house and throws rocks in the window.

Are there different reasons for those wrongs? They are both wrong, aren’t they? The reason
behind Stephen’s stoning is that he was suffering for Christ and he took it. In the second case,
there is suffering, not so much for Christ, but you are suffering for man’s sin. That is what I
mean when I say that when you choose a reaction to a wrong that you understand the reason
for the wrong. Stephen, in suffering for Christ, did not retaliate. That doesn’t mean that
Stephen was the kind of man you could walk over.

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Does my reaction to this situation harmonize with the known character of God? Does it
reflect love? Does it reflect justice? Does it reflect righteousness?

It is not wrong to expect and pursue civil justice. The example there is Paul. Nobody used the
Roman law to get his rights more than Paul did. We will look at 4 passages to see this. Paul
used his Roman citizenship, and scared them by doing so. He appealed to Caesar and stated
they had no right to punish him unless they could prove him guilty. He utilized Roman law,
therefore we can say that it is not wrong to expect and pursue civil justice.

It is not wrong to respond to error with truth. That means in some cases that you must call
something sin

Finally, it is not wrong to respond to slander by trying to clarify the issues, but vengeance is
God’s business. The example of that would be the case of Paul’s second letter to the
Corinthians, where he defends his apostleship, and he does it again in Galatians. But he is not
vindictive.

We will look at those more closely.

Father, we are thankful again today for Your word and we pray that we might see the
seriousness of having your truth and then not responding in the right way to it. Then, even
when we do respond wrongly by refusing to accept responsibility for it. The life of Saul is
such a pitiful thing, and yet we are thankful that You gave it to us so we can see how an
emotional world can be lost when the thought processes in regard to the word of God become
negative. Therefore, may we be very serious in our approach to truth. We ask this in Christ’s
Name.

Chester McCalley Volition 17

XXV. All scripture references are from the King James Version unless
otherwise noted

We will be finishing putting down some principles for determining Christian reactions. When
we talk about reactions this makes the assumption that there are going to be certain things
happening to us that stimulate us and cause us to have to react in some way. Of course, the
object for a believer is to respond to the various stimuli we have in life in a Christian way.
Whether it is a person, a remark or a circumstance, we face these things all the time. We
want to categorize these things.

First is, what do we do when the stimuli is an act or attitude of sin toward us? We found the
answer in 1 Peter 3:9. This all assumes that when we are sinned against we are responsible
for the way we react. The way out of that is to justify any kind of reaction we want to give

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because we were sinned against. That is what we often feel, but Scripture does not let us get
by with the fact that when sinned against there is a category of verses that look at that reality
and tell us how we are responsible to respond.

1 Peter 3:9a
9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing

The principle is that we never react to sin with sin. You lied about me so I will lie about you.
You slandered me, so I will pay you back by slandering you. That is not a Christian reaction
to respond to sin with sin.

On the other hand, not only are we never to react to sin with sin, but second, we are to react
in a way that communicates blessing. I will be very frank, I don’t know if there is any greater
test to see if our reactions are Christian than this, because when you are sinned against you
naturally want to get back; you want the person to be punished. This is not going to be the
kind of teaching that says just lay down and get run over, but it is saying that sin is not a
justification for our sinning in return. Then the second principle, to react in a way that
communicates blessing is in the last part of the same verse, which says:

1 Peter 3:9b
but contrariwise blessing;

The word blessing is a present tense participle, so the idea is “contrariwise communicating or
bestowing blessing”. It is not a noun but an act of doing so.

You could easily come up with a question at that point. You could ask how do you do that? It
is interesting that God’s word tells us what to do, but in this area it does not say exactly how
to go about doing that. I think the reason is that God expects us to have the kind of mature
common sense that in a given situation will determine how that is to be done. This is a very
supernatural way of reacting, but it is very, very important.

There are times when we should put down a third reaction, keeping in mind that we have
been sinned against. The third may be this: It may be wise to refuse verbal response and
respond to a wrong with a mental action God-ward. The reaction to having been sinned
against may be that we keep our mouths shut and say nothing. That is not true in every case,
as we will see later, but it may be a circumstance where to keep our mouths shut is best and,
instead, take the whole situation to God, moving it from a horizontal relationship – man to
man, to a vertical relationship – man to God. An example of that is found in 1 Peter 2:23.
Notice you have the negative part and you have the positive part of what we put here. The
example, of course, is Christ.

1 Peter 2:23
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but
committed himself to him that judgeth righteously

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You have the principle there that He did not return sin for sin against Himself. There was no
verbal response, no visible response, but His response was internal: “He committed Himself
to Him that judgeth righteously”. Here is a circumstance that, when sinned against, we keep
our mouths shut and in our own mentality simply rest the case with God in order for Him to
execute His own righteousness.

A fourth principle when we are sinned against, and probably the hardest, is to pray for those
who sinned against us. Of course we want to ask if we can do that after we hit them!
Matthew 5:44 is a very difficult reaction, though very clear in Christ’s teaching, however.

Matthew 5:44
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that
hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

The important thing in all of this is that in no sense does the word of God say that we are to
have a reaction that condones sin. That would be contrary to the whole teaching of Scripture.
He is not saying that we have not been sinned against. This is not a compromise with sin, but
He is saying that granted, you have been sinned against, but here is the way we are to react in
that. Don’t follow the normal human reaction of getting back with a bigger sin.

Fifth, we need to begin to see another aspect of this. If we have a protector responsibility,
react in line with that responsibility. What we are looking at here is basically, if you are in a
protector responsibility, such as a husband who is to protect his wife mentally, emotionally
and physically, if she is attacked mentally, emotionally or physically, you ought to react in
the way that your responsibility would dictate.
Another category would be parents. Parents are responsible for the care and protection of
their children. Therefore, how appropriate would it be, if you found some older person
beating on your child and you stood there and did nothing? You might say you are simply
going to react in a way that communicates blessing, but that would be very foggy, or you
might say you are going to refuse verbal response and commit it to God. That is using this
verse against the verse in 1 Peter. There is an appropriate time and place for each of these
responses. What this is all saying that we will not have Christian reactions until we begin to
mature, because maturity will say it is time to fulfill your responsibility under #5 and not
react as #3 above. I think any wife would be very disturbed if she was being beat upon and
her husband, as protector, stood there with his eyes closed saying he was praying and
committing it to God. He is using one thing to contradict his protector responsibility.

This would also go into any occupation that you might have that gives you a protector
responsibility, such as military or police. A Christian police officer would have every
responsibility, if you were being beat upon, to react in line with the duty that his job gives
him. Responsibility is the key. We might say, simply, that the response, or the duty, is
whatever is appropriate to stop the response.

Sixth, occasionally you will hear of a Christian that has some crime committed against him
and the person who perpetrated the crime is arrested and then the believer says he will
forgive and not prosecute. Is that a Christian response? It is often flagged as a wonderful

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Christian response to forgive and not see that the person that is clearly guilty is prosecuted. I
say that is not a Christian response, in this respect: If someone would break into my house
and physically and violently begin to abuse any member of my family I would say, “In the
name of Christ I forgive you.” Boom! You’re dead. Those things ought to be very consistent
in a Christian mentality. I know a lot of Christians, and I am one of them, who feel strongly
about protecting their families physically and their property. I think that is very good, but let
me qualify that you need to make sure of what you can do legally in order to protect yourself.
You could easily find yourself in a difficult situation.

Rather than the mentality that says someone can beat on you as a Christian, I believe the
biblical reaction should be this: We should react to crime by giving our encouragement and
support to the enforcement of civil law. How can we say that? We can say that in the light of
the fact that the word of God recognizes the importance of enforcing civil law, and goes so
far as to say what the civil law is supposed to be doing. Doesn’t it make sense, then, if
Scripture tells what civil law ought to be doing for its citizens, that we should go along with
the will of God for civil law? The relevant passage is Romans 13. This passage is very clear
as to the place that civil law has and is supposed to do. Consequently, when Scripture lines
out what the will of God is for civil government, when civil government does that, it ought to
have our complete and total support.

Romans 13:1-4
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the
powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the
ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are
not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that
which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee
for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for
he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

We are in the area of rulers. Are we talking about believers? No, he is talking about anyone in
civil authority, so it is not limited to believers. Some may be, some may not be believers; that
is not the issue. The point is that rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Notice the
emphasis here is that civil leaders are to protect by terrorizing the criminal. I am sure many
believers would think that is not Christian. Well, cut out Romans 13; it is very clear as to that
function. Verse 3 says, “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.” This is the
intent that God has for them. Notice the idea that, by terrorizing the criminal by carrying the
sword of execution. This is a reference, of course to capital punishment. That is the will of
God with respect to our civil government.

As we have pointed out earlier, if you want to get the biblical concept of civil government,
remember the 3 Ps: Its function is to protect, never produce, or provide. Biblically,
production and provision are not the function of civil government. Our government has
gotten into the business, has it not, or producing and providing? Where has that gotten us?
There is tremendous difficulty in trying to provide and therefore forgotten to protect. If this is
the divine function for government, is it not correct that we should react to crime by giving
our encouragement to enforcement of civil law.

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From this, then, a Christian response if a family member is being assaulted or robbed, is that
you can forgive, but you are to insist on the full brunt of the law coming down on the
criminal and whatever you can do to contribute to the protection of the rest of the citizenry,
then you go along with what God said the government is to do in Romans 13.

Let’s go back and look at the direction we are to go in determining Christian reactions. First,
the stimulus is sinful. Now let’s look at it from another direction. Suppose the stimulus is not
one of sin, but is a civil injustice. In other words, if we have been wronged by government,
and there is recourse, should we do anything about it? We will break this into two categories:
1) If the wrong is correctable and 2) if the wrong is not correctable. In other words, if the
Christian is wrong civilly, should you just lay down and take it, or should you react by trying
to get justice, or should you simply say that justice will come from God and not try to get it
through other means?

Our answer is this: It is not wrong to expect and pursue civil justice. Our best example is
Christ on trial, and the second it Paul. Let’s trace through the example of Paul, going to Acts
22. Notice how, in the pursuit of his ministry, Paul expected, pursued and insisted that he
have his rights under the law.

Acts 22:24
24 The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should
be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him.

Now, what is the Christian reaction right here? Should Paul just say he would follow the 1
Peter 3 passage and say nothing, not object to this scourging and just take it and commit the
case to God? He had that option, but was that the thing to do? Or should he pursue his rights?
Notice what he did in verse 25:

Acts 22:25
25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful
for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?

In other words, he said they were acting against Roman civil law. This is not legal. Now,
when the Centurion heard that, he told the chief captain, saying “Be careful what you do for
this man is a Roman”. They knew that if they violate the rights of a Roman citizen, they
would be in big legal trouble. How did they find out that they were about to get themselves
into big legal trouble? Paul was not afraid to react by expecting and pursuing civil justice.
Then in verse 27:

Acts 22:27-29
27 Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, “Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea.
28 And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said,
But I was free born. 29 Then straightway they departed from him which should have
examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and
because he had bound him.

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Notice how Paul reacted in this situation by saying they were treating him in an illegal way
and he would not tolerate that. Now, in Acts chapter 25, verses 10 and 11 Paul did a lot of
appealing to the existing Roman law:

Acts 25:10-11
10 Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews
have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. 11 For if I be an offender, or have
committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things
whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.

In this context he says he is perfectly willing to die for Christ, but under Roman civil law,
they must do it legally. Paul argues his innocence. What is Paul doing? He is utilizing the
existing Roman law in order to pursue his civil justice. Paul did not come along and say that
God is bigger than Caesar and he would rest it to God. Paul did rest it with God, but he also
recognized that the court was an appeal that he could legitimately make.

In Acts 26:32 we have a reference to the fact only that Paul did appeal to a court for justice:
Acts 26:32
32 Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not
appealed unto Caesar.

That is referring to a legal appeal. Then in Acts 28:17:

Acts 28:17-19
17 And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and
when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have
committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner
from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. 18 Who, when they had examined me, would
have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. 19 But when the Jews spake
against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation
of.

Notice again, Paul’s appeal for justice. I think we can say that in a correctable situation, and
notice in those cases Paul avoided a beating by means of appeal to the means for avoiding a
beating in the context. However, what do we do if not correctable?

And the answer is, and there aren’t any passages to go to, if the wrong can’t be corrected,
then we will have to suffer for it. For example, go to Acts 7:54. Stephen has been preaching
the truth.

Acts 7:54-60
54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with
their teeth.
55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory
of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens

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opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 57 Then they cried out with a
loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58 And cast him out of
the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet,
whose name was Saul.

59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.
And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Notice that he is directly under attack by a sinful thing. But apparently in this context it was
not correctable; therefore, Stephen takes it, commits his case to the Lord, has his eyes on the
Lord and therefore is stoned to death. So we may have correctable and uncorrectable, but I
take it the appeal, if it is correctable, start there like Paul did and if it is not the case, things
are still under the sovereign control of God.

A third category is that when the stimulus is slander of our reputation what do you do? Two
things here, the first one is positive, and the second is negative. The positive response is
when we are slandered or misrepresented; it is perfectly legitimate to attempt to clarify
issues. There is nothing that betrays lack of trust in the Lord if we attempt to clarify issues
when slandered. Our evidence for that is so big that we hardly need to go to a passage, but
let’s look at 2 Corinthians. 2 Corinthians is a vicious, sinful attack on the reputation of Paul –
his motivation, they said he acted out of carnality, they said he was two-faced. How did Paul
react to that? He reacted by writing the book of 2 Corinthians to say he is not two-faced, and
to explain his decision not to come to Corinth as he had said earlier. He wanted to explain to
them why he was not acting out of carnality, so he made a very definite attempt to clarify
issues.

However, there is a negative part to that. We may attempt to clarify issues, but negatively, do
not interfere in God’s role of vengeance. We may clarify, but we may not punish. Romans 12
makes that fairly clear. The man who vocally defended himself in 2 Corinthians, did the same
thing in Galatians regarding his apostleship. Notice, however, that though he would defend
himself against slander, he would not get into God’s role of executing the punishment on the
slanderer.

Romans 12:19
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written,
Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

I take it that “give place to wrath” means give place to God’s wrath. In other words, you
stand aside and give place to God’s wrath. The reason for that is that you have a promise
pertaining to it: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

So the emphasis is that while you may seek to clarify a situation if slandered and if wronged,
be sure you don’t get over into the department that belongs to God. The department that
belongs to God is the department of executing punishment on the wrongdoer, and you have a

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promise that God will do so. Now, when you come down to the following two verses, you
have a conclusion coming out of it.

Romans 12:20-21
Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou
shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with
good.

Several things are involved here. The first is that you have good actions toward the enemy:
you fed him, and gave him drink. And in doing so you are heaping coals on his head. Now
that little expression “coals on his head”, I am not ready yet to interpret. There are several
possibilities for what this means. One is that the meaning of heaping coals on his head is that
this is the most effective vengeance. It is the best way to do it. In other words, give him food;
give him something to drink and you will have brought about the most effective vengeance.
The coals on the head would say that if you really want to hurt someone and get in some
vengeance, then do good to him and that will be like putting hot coals on his head. The
second possibility is that the coals on the head are a figure of speech for shame, so they
represent the shame that he will feel when you treat him with goodness.

There is, however, a third possibility, and that is that heaping coals of fire on his head is
simply another good thing to do to him. It is good to give him food. It is a good act to give
him drink. And it is good to put coals of fire on his head. How can putting coals of fire on the
head be an expression of doing something good for someone? This comes from the fact that
live coals in that time were a necessity for cooking food. If that is the case, he is simply
saying, not only do you give him food and drink, but also you make sure he has the furnace.
Don’t let his furnace go out would be part of the emphasis. You do have an example or two
outside of the New Testament of a person who, as they did, carried goods on their head and
this was a basket of coals to take to his own fire to keep it going. I am not willing to opt for
any one of those three right now, because I have not researched that enough to do so. The
third one seems to have something to commend it, because of verse 21: overcome evil, but do
it with good.

Nonetheless, the negative aspect is that we should not get involved in God’s area of
vengeance.

A third principle is that it is always right to react to error with truth. The whole Bible is a
reference for that. What is Scripture? It is reacting to wrong human viewpoint with the
assertion of the truth. In Scripture you have error continually identified and you have truth
reaffirmed. I think we can also add to this that anger in so doing may be appropriate. Don’t
take a guilt trip if, in the correction of error there is some anger. I just can’t think that when
Christ purged the Temple, He didn’t have an emotion of anger. It is very hard for me to think
that when Paul is writing the book of Galatians that in the first chapter he isn’t a little bit
white-knuckled and probably is a little bit red around the neck, also. That is not, per sé, a
sinful thing, so don’t feel that emotion is inappropriate in these contexts. It is when emotions
control us that they become wrong.

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The next possibility of a stimulus is that sometimes the stimulus is morally neutral. We have
to react to something. We haven’t been sinned against; it is simply something that demands a
reaction on our part. Many responses that we are called upon to make in life require mature
Christian wisdom. In other words, they are not cut-and-dried; they require mature Christian
wisdom and therefore take time to develop. We could put it this way: in order to mature we
have to make choices. If we are going to mature through the word of God, which is the only
way we can mature, do you have any choices to make in respect to that? Of course you do.
You have to choose to expose yourself to it if you are going to get to maturity. Many
believers never get to a state of at least relative maturity because we don’t make the right
choices in respect to the word of God.

How does a child mature? How can a child mature if he never has to make choices? If he was
never faced with the option of God’s will and the wrong option and making a decision in
terms of opting for the word of God, he would not have the opportunity to mature. This is
where, for parents, it requires real caution. That is the wisdom to put our children in the kinds
of situations where they are protected enough, but not protected so much that they don’t have
to make a choice. That is one of the complaints I have with Christian schools trying to assert
the authority of God’s word, you have to say that is the team you are on, yet there is the
possibility that you can put your children in such a hot house that they never have to opt in
the right direction. This is where judgment is required. You cannot get to maturity without
making choices.

On the other hand, we must be mature to make right choices. Do you see how these two work
back and forth on one another? When we make a choice in the right direction, we gain
maturity. When we gain maturity, we gain more ability to make a right choice the next time.
Then the next time we make another right choice and we have built up two right choices,
which makes us mature enough to make some better choices. It is an interacting of a choice
in the right direction and maturity. Another choice in the right direction and there is more
maturity. Then another option comes up and this one really takes maturity, but you have it
because you made the right choices on the two elementary things. They become a sort of
building block. I think our first proposition is right: don’t we have some responses we have
to make as believers that really do require some real Christian wisdom? This is part of the
path we use to get there.

This last part applies, but many people will not respond to it, because the last things I want to
say are these: principles for the believer with the Job 23:12 mentality. Not all believers have
the Job 23:12 mentality, though every believer should have it. These last things are some
principles are applicable if we have adopted this as our mentality. I am using this verse only
as a sample. This ought to be the thinking of every believer. I think if we are willing to say
we are in the category of this verse and this thinking, we will be able to put down several
things that are the logical outflow of this mentality.

Job 23:12
Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of
his mouth more than my necessary food.

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The phrase “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips” reflects Job’s
mental attitude.
I” have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” Notice that food is
in italics and that is simply saying there is nothing more important to me than the word of
God. That is simply saying that he doesn’t care if it is food or the clothes on his back, there is
nothing more important than the word of God.

Now, what are some of the logical implications of that mentality?

The first principle is that the place of God’s word in my life may not be challenged – period.
That simply means that since it is more to me than anything else I will allow nothing to
challenge that priority. That is important not only personally, but it is the whole key to the
success of a local church maintaining what it is to be there for. It is someone up front to be
nicely mean enough to say no, this item over here looks like a threat to the priority of
teaching the word of God and it must go. Or this area over here looks like a tiny cloud on the
horizon; it really hasn’t challenged it yet, but it sure does look like a cloud on the horizon,
and it’s pretty and neat – but no way. It’s got to be challenged.

We need to take the same mentality in terms of our implication on these type things. If it is
more than food, more than drink, more than anything, then we are simply going to say that
we will not allow the place of God’s word to be challenged by anything in life.

Now, coming out of that also is this second principle: It is not the will of God to lead us into
a ministry that will cause us to neglect our biblical responsibility to our families. This is the
old mentality that has this slogan: serving over there excuses sinning over here. Not too long
ago I received a letter from a missionary who is a medical doctor. I have known him and like
him and his wife, but in the context of the letter he had applied to a mission board and asked
in the letter, “Please pray for my wife who, because of the requirements of the mission board,
will have to take care of the children for the first year.” I can’t see that. Even the missionary
who is going to save India, but leaves his kids back in the States to be educated is saying that
God will call you to a ministry that will cause you to neglect the very thing that you are, a
husband or a wife or a parent, to be in it. This seems inconceivable that God would call
someone into a ministry that would cause those areas to be neglected.

These are difficult. I have not faced this third principle, and I feel for people who do, but we
must say this. We know God’s program for edifying His children (Ephesians 4). Within the
context of the local church you have the teaching of the word of God on a regular basis. That
is the way God edifies His children. If you look at Ephesians 4, there is no doubt about the
way we come to maturity and how this is brought about as a group of believers and the
methodology is clearly teaching and instruction in doctrine within the context of a local
church.

If that is true, then we can say this: It is questionable (in my own thinking I would use the
word “wrong”) that God’s will leads believers into geographical locations where this does
not exist. We must put some qualifications on this. Is that to say that it might not be God’s
intent to move you out to a little place in who-knows-where, where there is absolutely no

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local church and no teaching of the word of God in order to establish one? I think we would
have to say that is feasible. Or it may be possible that this is involuntary, like in Acts 8 when
all the believers were driven out of Jerusalem and scattered everywhere. But, at the same
time, show me a believer in Paul’s epistles that was not associated in some way with the local
assembly of believers. I don’t think we can find one.

This brings us to a couple of hard questions. Surely a job promotion would justify this,
wouldn’t it? Well, it just depends. If you have the mentality of Job 23:12 then the word of
God is more important to you than the necessities of life, and that includes a child.

Job 23:12
12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words
of his mouth more than my necessary food.

I think that we also must think that if we are a parent and we take our children to a place that
they cannot be taught, what did you take them away from? Is it worth a big promotion to take
them away from doctrine? Might not that have a price tag on it that you don’t want to pay? Is
that the right responsibility toward your children? Does college or school justify this? Is it
worth it to take yourself out from the possibility of being taught the word of God for an
education? What I am trying to say is that I think we are all guilty of it – and I put myself at
the top of the list – and that is giving God’s word a very low priority. We give it a high
priority with out mouths – it’s God’s word. Then we turn right around and our priorities get
so screwed up that we find what we are saying with our mouths really isn’t the case and
when it came down to it, it was really a little thing that revealed we don’t really have the
mentality of Job 23:12 except in words.

Let me add one thing to this. I want to drive through the importance of the word of God. But
they are implications of Scripture; I can’t give you a verse that says “Do not go into
Pergamus for there is no local assembly there”. I can’t produce that, so let me just put that
under the umbrella that Paul made in 1 Corinthians 7:35. Paul’s message is that if you want
to spend maximum time for the Lord – and I say this for my own safety, because I don’t want
to be overbearing, though at the same time, could we possibly be overbearing on the
importance of these priorities? – then you might think about opting for single life. You can
imagine that, if you have been through 1 Corinthians 7 as a single person, and boy, as you
come down through this chapter it really begins to get heavy. You might even begin to
develop a little guilt, and Paul recognizes that. So he says:

1 Corinthians 7:35
35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that
which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

I would like to put those last remarks under that umbrella. I’m not trying to make a rule and
cast a snare, but simply saying that, for your own profit, have we really faced some of the
things we trade off for the word of God, such as a job promotion, or education. Haven’t we,
in some cases, sold off the word of God very cheaply in light of certain of these things.

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I would like to look at some of the really healthy responses to sin in 2 Corinthians.
(Recording ends here.)

Chester McCalley Volition 18

XXVI. All scripture references are from the King James Version unless
otherwise noted

We will be continuing in our series on volition, of the capacity to choose. We have


emphasized that we are responsible for our decisions – all of them. We are responsible for the
actions we take and we are responsible for the reactions that we have. Out of all of this I have
collected a handful of questions that have been asked along the way and we will try to cover
those and we will try to do some reiteration of what has been said so far.
By way of questions in the area of reactions, that means that something has been done to us,
said about us or something has stimulated and demanded a response on our part. We handled
in the last session what some of the Christians responses are that we should have. Such as we
are never to respond to sin against us by sinning back again. As is true in all biblical doctrine,
there is not a truth that we can emphasize in Scripture but what, if you want to, you can grab
hold of it and give it a twist. One of the questions was what do you do in a situation when
someone is sinning against and they say to you that you must respond in a Christian manner.
My first response would be to punch them in the nose. But, that type of attitude, that says I
have sinned against you, but you are responsible for responding in a Christian manner,
although true, when used as an excuse to continue to sin against a person is grotesque. It is in
a way congratulating one’s self for letting God be glorified through one’s sin, therefore
congratulating one’s self for one’s sin. That is in every sense of the word grotesque.
We have in Scripture plenty of passages that talk about the fact that we are not to sin toward
another believer. For example, if a child is mistreated by his parents, that child is responsible
before God to respond in a Christian way. Yet, what does it say in Ephesians? Fathers, don’t
provoke your children to wrath. This simply says don’t be engaged in acting toward
somebody in such a way that you will provoke an aggravated situation. While we are
responsible to respond and react in a Christian way when someone sins against us, there is
the other side of the coin that says we are not to sin against one another. Don’t give another
believer an opportunity to respond to sin in a Christian way, that is not edification and that is
not right and not a justification for sinning.
It is also not to say that we have to sit still for being sinned against continually. It may be that
you can move out from that situation. If that is the case, then we certainly ought to do
something.

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One area we haven’t touched and that I am still working on is the will of the unbeliever. I
think there are certainly some questions about the will of the unbeliever relative to the time
he first hears the Gospel. Is he able to respond? Is he responsible to respond? How does it
relate to Jesus’ stating that “No one comes to the Father except He draws him”? We will
cover that in the near future.
Our purpose today is to try to clarify questions about this series. Have you noticed how
ingrained the idea of not being responsible is? I did it this week. I said, “I know this is right,
but I can’t help how I…” Suddenly I thought, what am I saying! I found this study for
myself being very convicting and very liberating. I really appreciate finding out that in the
provision of Christ I am not a victim. I may think I am, but I am not a victim. We can take the
driver’s seat, not because of our strength, but because of what Christ has done.
Remember in whatever we study, whenever we come to new truth, or truth that is clarified, it
is always followed by some mental confusion. When we are in a certain state, even if it is a
state of complete ignorance, we kind of have certain things set up in a row, then we come
along and find out some new truth and that disturbs the orderly ignorance we have. When
our orderly ignorance gets disturbed with new truth, inevitably you have some confusion.
Then, of course, at that point, if we don’t give up, we get some new mental organization put
together. Really, the study of God’s word should be a continual going through this procedure,
whereby we have everything tied up together, then we get some new truth from God’s word
and the whole thing comes apart. You might see what is being said, but be really confused by
it. If you don’t go through periods of confusion that indicates you are not learning. As we
begin in emphasize, as we have in this series, the responsibility we have for our actions and
reactions, this might be a little bit of a new element that has come into our mentality, in that
we may have thought by and large in the Christian life we can live most of it successfully.
But after all, - and this study has been an attempt to destroy the “after all” and point out that
we are fully responsible for what we do in light of the provisions of Christ, then you may
find yourself disordered and in some confusion. That is normal and natural. Come through
that into a new organization of biblical truth and divine mentality.
Let’s go to Romans 6. You may have, in going through this series, a new sense of
responsibility, and perhaps a new sense of self-confidence. I really don’t have a problem in
saying a believer ought to be self-confident, though I don’t mean that to be confident in our
resources, but that because of what He has done for us, we can be very confident that we can
get hold of things. The thing we have tried very, very carefully to guard is to never use the
word “willpower”. That is a word that all of us have heard, and that is not very good at all,
because that can savor on the idea that I can live the Christian life by pure force of my will.
Notice the idea in Romans 6 is not the idea or willpower; it is the idea of will freedom based
on the power of the Cross. So we are free and able to act because of the tremendous power of
the effectiveness of Christ’s work. Romans 6 is so clear on that issue, in that when we come
down through the first 10 verses, the emphasis is reminding us of what Christ has done for
us. For example, verse 3:
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his
death?

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The thing we are to know and understand is our identity with Jesus Christ. Then you come to
verse 6:
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed,
that henceforth we should not serve sin.

This goes back to an historical accomplishment by the Cross of Christ. Then verse 9:
Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion
over him.
So the first 10 verses are emphasizing His accomplishments on the Cross; therefore, the
appropriate word there is not to do, it is not to will, the appropriate word there is to know. We
need to understand that this is where the power really lays. Now, coming out of that, we have
the freedom of our will, in 6:1-10 it is what He has done for us, and in verse 11, that is to get
into our mentality:
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Reckon is the term “logizomai”, put it to an account, regard this to be so. Notice we begin
with facts in our mentality and then in verse 11, we go to faith in our mentality. We really
count on this to be so. Then, verse 12:
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

There comes your will, or your volition, into the picture. Don’t allow sin to reign in your
mortal body. We are not talking about willpower. All of the power is in the Cross of Christ
and His accomplishment is, verse 11, to be transferred over into our mentality so we think
right. It is a matter of having, 1) the facts right (vs 1-10), and 2) then the thought is to be right
(v 11), then 3) the will is to function in a right way. That is really not saying that a Christian
is somebody with fantastic willpower; a Christian has been freed by the work of Christ, he
has this in his mentality, and therefore he decides, he picks the right options and operates in
the proper way.
So, let’s stay away from the idea or willpower. Again, potential perversion of the doctrine is
to come along and say that when you opt in the right direction, you feel good about it. That is
great, but here is what we must guard against: Satan can, at that point, work into our
mentality the sin of pride. “I opted in the right direction and I feel good about it.” There is
nothing wrong with that, that’s good. But can you see the perversion possible? “I am so
proud of my strength and my ability to be in the driver’s seat.” Now we have just plunged
over the cliff and Satan has maneuvered us by a perversion of a very legitimate doctrine into
a very incorrect thing. Keep in mind that self-control, the ability to decide rightly and
correctly, is not produced by us, but we are fully responsible for it.
One passage also that we omitted is Titus 1:8.
But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate(;

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We picked up on the term “egkrateia”, self-control, and we set it against the background that
we are not to be controlled by circumstances, we are not to be controlled by people, but we
are to be controlled by the Lord. We looked at Ephesians 5:23 where that is used, but we did
not cover another usage of the word “self-control”, meaning you make your own decisions
and not influenced by externals. To note that for a bishop, an overseer or a pastor/teacher, this
is requirement.
All believers are to have self-control. Ephesians 5 is clear that this is a fruit of the Spirit that
every believer ought to have. Why is it set forth as a special requirement of those who are in
a leadership position, especially in a local church? Some of you may be in time and perhaps
approaching it now, in a context that God wants you to be a leader in your local assembly or
another perhaps. Why is that a special requirement that the pastor must have this self-
control? I think answer is very obvious. There is a priority to be maintained in the local
assembly and that is the priority of the word of God. If there is anything true of being a
pastor that I have found in 21 years, every external force that is exerted upon you is a force
that is designed and it’s nature is to give the word of God more of a priority. That is what you
are bombarded with every day. No, that is not the case at all. Therefore, since the external
forces tend to pull away from that priority, shouldn’t it be very much true that those in
leadership in the local assembly are not effected by the external pressures, and therefore that
would be under the term “egkrateia”, which is that you have the inner power to control and
maintain a priority as over against the pressures. If you have ever been in a position of
leadership, you know that the pressures that come from people are very tempting. Because,
after all, you are leading people and you want people that you lead to like you and if you
want them to like you then you want to have their suggestions in operation. And yet, if you
are going to operate on the principle of the priority of the word of God, very often you have
to do what is contrary to what is frequently suggested. I know that in the 20th Century this is
not very popular because you are supposed to be open and available to suggestion, but when
those suggestions do not align with the real priorities of Scripture, you have to say no to
them. I hope you will understand this in the right way, I think probably the thing I am most
thankful for is the advice given to me by people that I have ignored, because, very frankly,
most of it has been pure garbage in terms of the priorities. I know that sounds egotistical but
I don’t mean it that way. I am talking in terms of the things that are priority and by-and-large
the suggestions to do this or do that have not been things that would implement that.
Consequently I have to back off and say, I’m really glad for the suggestions of people that we
have regarded as garbage and said no. We didn’t do it in that way, but we have gone in a
different course of action.
The same thing will be true for you as a believer. Think of the advice that you get. How much
of it is really the input of the word of God? When it isn’t, what do you have to do? You have
to smile, say thank you, and then you have to disregard it. I’m sure that if you are identified
with the Christian life and the priorities of the word of God you know exactly what I am
saying.
When you are trying to teach any doctrine, you are trying to teach it, but you are really trying
to do more than that. You are trying to get to the point of what we know to the point that it is
an automatic response. I’m sure that having lived with this for the last few weeks, that if I
find myself saying to someone, as I did this week, “I can’t help how I feel”….most of the
things I yell at you for are things I also do.

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Question: How does this differ from legalism?
Answer: First we must define legalism. Legalism very often is something along the lines of
“This is Sunday afternoon therefore I can’t mow the lawn.” We say he is a legalist. Legalism
is not what you do. What we do might reflect it. Legalism is a mental attitude that I can act in
some way that will merit God’s blessing. In other words, I can do something to deserve the
blessing of God. That is legalism. And yet at the same time, does God respond to certain
things that we do with blessing? Can you produce passages that say “if you will do this, I will
do this for you”? I think that is where it is important to come back to what can perhaps be
expressed this way: Let’s you have God’s blessing over here in response to our obedience
down here. The only thing a legalist would see is that he obeyed and God blessed his
obedience in return. This same thing could be performed by a person not involved in
legalism and he would have in his mentality the idea that we, first of all have God’s love for
us, responded to by our love for Him, and love, of course always manifests itself in
obedience. So that, when you go to 1 John 4:9 it says:
We love, because He first loved us.

Our love for the Lord is rooted in His love for us and if we love Him we will keep His
commands. We love him because He first loved us, which puts His love at the heart of things.
We respond with our love for Him and if we love Him we obey Him, and when we obey
Him, He blesses us. The whole mentality is, yes, you are blessed because you obeyed Him,
but that obedience did not flow out of yourself. That obedience flowed out of your love for
Him and the reason you love Him is that He first loved you. The person operating on a grace
basis is the person that recognizes that our blessing came from our obedience and our
obedience came from our Love for Him and our love for Him came from His love for us.
This person is able to take it all the way back.
The legalist can’t see that, or refuses to see that. All he can see is that his obedience brought
the blessing. God has made it possible for us to obey Him, and He has made us responsible to
obey Him which all goes back to the extension of God’s grace toward us. We could not
choose, we could not will in the right direction were it not for His cross. Plus, we have the
concept that our obedience is strictly due to our “by grace” salvation. Romans 6 looks back
to their pre-salvation life and says, “you were the slaves of sin”, which means your will is not
capable of deciding in the right direction as an unbeliever. However, due to His love and His
cross work, you have been freed so that you can decide. Your ability to make a decision in
the right direction is freed up by the first part of Romans 6, it is all made possible by the
cross work of Christ.
So, I think the answer of how to distinguish it from legalism is your ability to decide in the
right direction is made possible by Him and Him alone. Apart from that you are a slave and
unable to make the correct decision, which is Romans 6:17.
There is a sort of mentality around today, however, that is very bad. It is this: If you sense a
responsibility to obey the word of God, that’s legalism. Oh, by no means! That is
treacherous! I even hate to call it teaching. I don’t know what kind of mind it come from, but
it is a very clear denial of the word of God. It is the reason for doing that gets at the heart of
legalism, not the responsibility for doing, which is true under grace.

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We are more responsible under grace. God has done everything for us. Do we have any
obligation toward someone who has done everything for you at infinite cost? That spells
tremendous obligation under grace.
Question: Expections
Answer: The only way that we can do justice to the biblical teaching of what Christ has done
for us is to say this: It is possible for us to live absolutely free of the domination of the sin
nature. I did not say we did that, I said we must say it is possible. If we don’t say it is
possible, then we are denying the effectiveness of the word of Christ. This does not mean we
are to delude ourselves into thinking that we are doing that, but it is to say that this is
possible. You see, one of the characteristics of the New Testament is that it always lives
sensing the responsibility to live a perfect life. “Rejoice always.” What is that looking at?
I’m not saying we do that, but isn’t that the expectation? “Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit.”
That’s the expectation. “Don’t quench the Holy Spirit.” “Be filled with the Spirit.” “Walk by
the Spirit.” “In everything give thanks.” So what are your expectations? They are sky-high
and therefore, to be true to the New Testament we can never lower those things and that is
one thing that legalism does. Legalism looks at “rejoice always” and lower it down to
something you can do…”don’t go to the movies”. That’s better, much more relaxing than
rejoice always, and much easier. Legalism is really a cop-out for responsibility by bringing it
down to a very low level of fulfillment, rather than seeing it as high as it really is. We have to
keep our expectations up very high without deluding ourselves into thinking we’ve made it.
I would be willing to say that the expectations of the New Testament, especially in Paul’s
writings, describe what glorification will be like. They look clear down to the ultimate end of
salvation: justification, sanctification down to glorification. The sanctification process is to
be lived in the light of what we are going to be. Very, very high expectations and we can’t
give those up, and yet at the same time we should face the reality of our having blown it in
the light of what we ought to be.
I think this does lots of things. It keeps us from bringing the standards down low and then
getting proud of then having met our low standards. It keeps them way up high and it sure
keeps you anticipating, doesn’t it? Isn’t hope one of the very basic virtues in the Christian
life? This is where we are going, ultimately. And it keeps you real, doesn’t it? I have a very
difficult time with the Christian who says, “I’m mature”. Every time you look in the mirror
you wonder if you are really in the front door. Where are we really? That does a lot for pride
and it also keeps you in the growth process. You are anticipating moving. So I think it is very
important, yet you have to face the reality of knowing you blow it so often, if not a series of
continually doing it. That’s being realistic and I think to keep those high expectations is very
important, otherwise we get off into legalism, pride and a lot of perverted things that are
there. But keep these standards of the New Testament up to where they really are. If we
fulfilled everything that Paul said, we will be glorified I take it. Those are the standards.
Question: What are the Free-Will Baptists?
Answer: The Free-Will Baptists are basically a reaction against the concept that in salvation
basically you don’t really have anything to decide; if God draws you, He draws you and if He
draws you, you are in. You can kick and scream and yell, but you are going to be pulled
across the line. This resists the concept that faith is a gift, and therefore the logical sequence

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in salvation is that the Gospel is presented and then God regenerates you sovereignly, and
logically regeneration is followed by the gift of faith. So the first baby cry of a new believer
is faith. In other words, you are so dead in your sins that you can’t even believe until God
regenerates you. The Free-Will Baptists have responded to that particular point by saying,
“No that’s not the order. The order is: The Gospel, then we believe it, and then we get
regenerated.” This other one is a sort of Calvinistic approach that they are resisting. Now, I
do not agree with the Free-Will Baptists, nor do I agree with this. I don’t think either one is
correct, but that is what they are trying to say. They are trying to say there has been a
teaching abroad that says you are not able or free to decide. That often comes up in the
Calvinist-Arminian dispute. If you really Arminius, he was a pretty good Calvinist. It’s from
that point on that some of the distinctions have been forced.
We want to deal with the question is faith a gift? Is faith a work? Is it logical to say we are
dead in our sins and if you think you can believe, you are wrong, you can’t believe? Is that
what Scripture really teaches? I don’t know how many of you have brushed up against this
and looked at an unbeliever and thought, “Well, he can’t believe anyway until God makes it
possible for him to believe.” Is that a right mentality? Is that really true? Is that the way we
look at unbelievers? If he can’t believe do you then drop the Gospel and icily walk away?
Don’t encourage him, don’t say, “You need to believe.” He can’t anyway; it’s a gift of God.
Is that really accurate about the will of the unbeliever? This is an important area and we will
cover it. Sooner or later you will come up against it and will have to deal with election and
predestination.
That is a broad picture, but the very fact that there is a Free-Will Baptist denomination shows
that they have reacted against something and it is this doctrine of volition that we have been
talking about. I think if you keep in mind one thing: God is so sovereign that He can allow
His will to be challenged and He put in His creatures the tool to challenge it with, called
volition, and it won’t wreck His program. This is being pretty sovereign! I wouldn’t want to
say to somebody, “This is my house, here’s the ax by which, if you choose, you can chop it
down.” I wouldn’t do that. I’m not that in control of my house. God is that in control of His
house, that you can chop on it if you choose, but you won’t chop it down. Because He is in
control and that is a very, very important thing to realize. It can be challenged. Some of our
new Calvinists have a very low view of the sovereignty of God. They think that God is
sovereign in the sense that He can’t even permit a challenge. That’s a god too little for
Scripture; He’s much bigger than that, much bigger.
Father, we’re thankful for Your word. Help us to understand it with reference to obedience.
We’re thankful for what You have taught us through Your word, though when we learn new
things, we have new questions. At the same time, may we sense our responsibility, may we
sense the provisions given us in Jesus Christ, the very, very high standards of Your word and
that wherever we are – if we have been growing for 15 or 20 years, or if we have only been
growing for 2 weeks – that all of us have miles and miles and miles of land to take in, in
terms of what we will ultimately be in Jesus Christ, for which we give You thanks in His
name. Amen.
Chester McCalley Volition 19
All scripture references are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted

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We are trying to bring to a conclusion of our study on volition. Let us put into focus what we
have been studying by first of all saying that when we study the human will this is only part
of the biblical doctrine of man. Within Scripture we have clear teaching on the doctrine of
man. We could talk about the very clear teaching that has to do with the origin of man. In
other words, we could ask, ”Where do we come from?” and that would be under the umbrella
of the doctrine of man. By the way, it’s very interesting that right at the outset of studying
man, there is where we ask the first and most obvious question - where did we come from? –
And that is where we have the biggest fight, is it not? This is where you have the conflict of
the Genesis account, which says that man originated in the mind of God. This is where you
have the first countering influence, which is the whole concept of naturalistic evolution,
which is in conflict with the biblical account.

I think one of the interesting things that happened in the last year or so is that I don’t think
there is any problem with saying today the theory of evolution is rationally impossible. It is
not a feasible concept at all and that has been so well demonstrated by the people out at
Institute for Creation Research out in California. Did you see the October 15th article in the
Star about Duane Gish? Ron Merryman was here and knows Duane Gish well. Dr. Gish has
debated almost every known evolutionist and done it so successfully. Ron asked Dr. Gish,
“Just tell me personally, in all of these debates has anything ever been said that caused you to
think you needed to go home and do some homework?” Dr. Gish answered, “Never, not
once.” Did you catch the article in which the evolutionist said he had been devastated? In his
own words he said, “I don’t know how I can go home and face my wife.” This was the
October 15th Star.

I think we need to be very careful. So many that hold to the biblical account have stooped to
ridicule and ridicule is a poor argument for anything. I am reading Russell Doolittle who is a
protein chemist from the University of California and he made the comment that, “I’m
devastated. This is so important. How am I going to face my wife after making such a fool of
myself?” He said the debate had been turned down by astronomer Carl Sagen,
anthropologists Ashley Montague and Steven J. Gould (probably one of your leading
evolutionary proponents in the world. Doolittle says, “For the $5,000 fee, they could pay
some numbskull to come in and make a fool of himself. As it turns out, that’s exactly what
they got.” That is the evolutionist speaking. So you have had some people who are really
competent. Dr. Gish does not come on waving a Bible. He insists that the Bible account is
true, but he does not discuss on the Bible, he meets them on scientific grounds. When we talk
about the doctrine of man, this is one of the first things we come to and it is a very crucial
issue.

Or we could talk about the nature of man, what he is made up of and you certainly have
biblical information on that. We could talk about the purpose of man, which would answer
the question “what am I here for?” Or we could talk about where are we going? What is my
destiny?

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Very important is that, when God states, as He does in Scripture, that He has a purpose for
man. In other words, He wants us to be something; He wants us to do something. He has
certain expectations out of His creatures in terms of purpose. It is very, very important to
keep in mind under this idea that God allows His purposes and plans to be challenged. You
shouldn’t have any problem with that. I think for a balanced view of what the word of God
teaches, that is very important to grasp. You have certain teaching today that because God
plans a thing, it can’t even be challenged. He is going to do it and you can’t challenge it.
That’s not true. God is the kind of being that will say, “Here is My plan and here is My intent
for you. I will allow it to be challenged.” You would easily ask why He would do a thing like
that? Why would a God that is in control of everything allow Himself to be challenged?
There are two reasons for it: 1) He desires from His creatures volitional response. He does
not want mechanics. He wants us to respond to Him in a willing, loving way. It is certainly
true that God could have wound us all up and put us on a track and said, “When I release you
on the track you will go this way.” Consequently, it is very possible that the sovereign God
could have made us in such a way that we follow a certain track without any variation. He
doesn’t want that. He doesn’t want us to be mechanically manipulated. He wants out of His
creatures a volitional response. That is why He put Adam in the Garden and said, “Don’t eat
of that tree.” Adam could do it; God said don’t. What does that say about God? It says that
He wants us to volitionally choose in His direction.

That is simply a very basic concept in life. For instance, when you choose to open and look
at God’s word, God wants that. He wants you to choose to open to the book of Jeremiah. He
wants you to choose to read in John. He wants you to choose to read what is in the book of
Romans. You may think that is a simple concept, and that is true, but we often miss it.
Haven’t you ever prayed, “Lord, please give me a desire for Your word.”? God doesn’t want
to do that. He is not in that business. That is not what He desires. He doesn’t desire to impart
to you some kind of driving desire for His word. He gives you His word and says, “I want
you to choose to open the package.” That is very much like giving someone a present for his
birthday or Christmas and asking he asks you, “Will you please open it for me? I really don’t
have a desire to open that package, so would you do it or would you impart to me the desire
to do so?” How would you feel? I would take the package back and return it to him in a
different manner than I did the first time. You don’t want that sort of thing. What parent
hasn’t seen the enthusiasm when the kids come in and start tearing into the packages under
the Christmas tree and paper just is going in all directions? You feel good about that, don’t
you? You have given them something and they are really digging into it volitionally. God
wants that same type of reaction, therefore, He allows His purpose to be challenged and He
desires to see us go tearing into the package and He wants to see the paper flying in every
direction. This is why we emphasize the importance of volitional response.

Also, He not only desires volitional response, but God desires to demonstrate in history, in
time and in space that His will is best. Consequently, He is perfectly willing to chip off what
we call time and say that Satan has a will, Satan has a purpose, we have a purpose, we have a
will and He frees us to go ahead and live it out. Where does that lead us? Take the purposes
and the will of man and we are free to work it out. It’s as though God is saying, “Alright, you
have had thousands of years to work out what you as men think is good and best. Where do
you stand? Where are you right now? How have you brought about in My universe harmony?

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Have you brought about harmony among men? Have you brought about peace among men?
Do you have justice and righteousness? Is that what predominates in the human population?”

God’s desire, therefore, is for us to look back and see that the course we have been taking
must not be the best course of action. Therefore, you have the reason that God allows His
purpose for the universe to be challenged. Not only, does He allow His purposes and plans to
be challenged, but following in sequence is that God gives us the tool to do one of two
things: to challenge or affirm His will. It is called volition, the right to choose. Therefore,
every one of us will make use of our right to choose, or our volition, to do one of two things:
challenge God or affirm that what He wants is best.

Basically, our decisions throughout the week have been one of these two things. We either
challenge God’s will as best, and want to take a particular course of action, realizing that
God’s word says something different, and that is God’s will, but we want to take a little
vacation and go down a different road. God will not knock you over. If He sees you getting
dangerously near a cliff, He may give some discipline to bump you back on the road. That is
not to say when God gives us freedom He is passive to negative volition. He is not passive to
the wrong choices. Evidence of this is what the Bible says about discipline: Acts 5, Ananias
and Sapphira. I Corinthians 11, the Corinthian church. Or 1 John 5, Psalm 32, and so forth.
There is discipline; there is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict. All of those come in to
play.

God is not passive, but at the same time, God is not overbearing to the extent that you cannot
wander form the right path if you so choose. Basically, one of the questions we ought to be
asking is what kind of balance have we had with our volition over the past week? To what
extent have we challenged God’s will, knowing what ought to be, but, we prefer to go in
another direction.

What have those challenges done for us? They have effectively put us out of right
relationship with God and therefore distorted our purpose as men and women. To what extent
have we affirmed God’s will? When God says do this, and we say, yes, that’s right and we are
going to act in a particular way, then we affirm His will.

In order to get a little better perspective on volition, let’s look at some of the basics of the
make-up of man, what we are like. The first, very basic thing for a believer is to recognize
that his existence was initiated, not by some kind of fortuitous chance, but in the mind of the
intelligent, sovereign God.

Genesis 1:26
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have
dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over
all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

While this is very fundamental, it still leads to a very basic conclusion. When we come to the
origin of man, we have two directions we can go. I don’t mean this as ridicule, but I mean it
as a serious statement. Basically, if we do not accept man as coming from the hand of God,

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then the only concept we have left is that we start with nothing and add chance changes and
that equals everything. Frankly, even if I don’t have a bible, that would give me problems. I
just really have trouble saying that nothing plus a little chance plus time causes certain things
to happen and that is the explanation for everything.

If you look at man, and you look at the universe – everything that’s out there – how did it get
there? How did you get here? You can think, you can feel, you can reason, you can do
numerous things. You look at the universe and it has features to it. How do you explain all of
that? How do you explain a flower or a garden or trees? How do you explain people or cats,
dogs, cows, chickens? How do you explain everything? Basically, apart from coming from
the hand of God, the explanation which evolution gives us is that you start with nothing and
you add to that nothing lots and lots of time and lots of chance events. So that when you put
nothing + time + chance together, that explains everything. Frankly, intellectually, that gives
me real problems. When you press this issue, what part of this is usually expanded to say this
could happen? Time. You’ve got to have lots and lots and lots and lots of time. If you are
dropping a bb from the fifth story into a soda bottle, it’s feasible that if you drop enough bbs
you will get one in the bottle if you are trying, the chances are pretty high. Let’s say you have
the soda bottle and you are standing 2 feet over it, as opposed to being on the fifth story,
what’s the difference? What do you need in the second case that you don’t need in the first
case to get the bb in the bottle? You need time. And that is the clue that evolution has to posit
– and sometimes it gets staggering – when man, billions of years ago… Why did you have to
drop that “billions” in there? You have to have it to make any sense out of evolution
whatsoever. Therefore, you get this enormous time span in there and figure that if you have
18 million years, surely you can get the bb in from the 5th story. You probably will – several
times.

But the only way you can get that is by this enormous expansion of time. That is why
whenever you hear an evolutionist talk, he will be talking in terms of putting man way back
there in the distant past. He has to, or the whole thing falls apart because all these things must
come together to make man possible. Although, maybe the housewife’s argument is better. If
I look at my husband with a t-shirt, bottle of beer, television and a potbelly, it is very difficult
to convince me that this is the end product of millions of years of evolution. Maybe that’s the
best argument of all.

The biblical concept coming out of Genesis 1 is that man existed and was initiated from the
intelligent, sovereign God. In other words, it is not nothing + chance. Notice how that is
clearly stated in 1:26 – “And God said.” This phrase presupposes a mental process. God is
intelligent, or we might put it this way: God has been thinking. What has He been thinking?
He has been thinking about making you and me. He says, “Let us” and I take the plural
would at least allow for the Trinity. There is no problem from a New Testament standpoint of
putting Jesus Christ in the capacity of Creator. Colossians1:16-17, Hebrews 1, John 1:3 all do
that.

So, when we look at the phrase, “Let Us make man in Our image,” we think in terms of
where man originated. He originated in the mind of God. What does that do for you? First, as
human beings, that ought to give us tremendous dignity. We are sinners, true, but we are

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important. In God’s mind we existed. If we have a guilt problem or a self-image problem,
stop and think about this: God thought about making you and me in His own mind.

“Image” is the Hebrew word “tselem” which means shadow, a sketch or an outline, it is not a
photograph. So God said let’s make man and let’s sketch him or outline him something like
our likeness. You then have the concept that man was initiated in the mind of the sovereign
God.

What does that imply? We will come to this in just a moment, but doesn’t it say this: if God
made me, He has the right to govern me. Or, if God made me, I am responsible to God. This
is the doctrine we have been emphasizing.

Our existence was initiated in the mind of the intelligent, sovereign God and man’s function
– what God wants us to do – was to represent God’s will on earth. That is what He has put us
here for, to represent His will on earth.

Again, in verse 26, why did God want to make man in His image? What is the purpose of
this? “and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and
over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the
earth.” In this you have set up an order in God’s universe. The order starts with God, who is
sovereign and over all of His creatures. God is sovereign over all. God says, “In Our image
let’s create a man and let’s make him sovereign. But he is to be sovereign in submission to
us.” That little statement says a whole lot. When we face any issue in life, we are to be in
control – the word “egkrateia” from the New Testament, the fruit of the Spirit is self-control
– but what is the key to our control? The key to our control is our relationship to the will of
God. We have looked at 1 Peter 3, when we are attacked by sin we are not to render verbal
abuse for exchange for verbal abuse. What is that saying? It is saying when you are verbally
abused, you are sovereign, you are in control and that control is determined by what God has
taught us to do in His word. Let me repeat, once again, that we have creation at the end of the
order list and the creation is to be in submission.

The whole thing is God, in His intelligent mind, has an order whereby His universe and His
creatures are supposed to function and operate in every sense of the word. To be very simple
and basic, whenever that order is destroyed, that is where problems come in. Out of that you
have sin, travail and suffering coming out of any disruption in the order that God has created.

Let me correct once again the point that we made earlier, that as believers, when we are
sinned against we are responsible for our reaction to being sinned against. Very often
Scripture defines those reactions. The thing we need to emphasize is that, if you happen to be
the one doing the sinning against someone else, you don’t sit there smugly saying, “When
you are sinned against you are not supposed to return verbal abuse for verbal abuse, so
straighten up and fly right while I verbally abuse you”. That is a horrible perversion, and if
you are doing that you are in the same class as those standing around congratulating
themselves for crucifying Christ, because it executed the purpose of God in salvation. There
is really no difference. Notice, you have clear-cut order involved.

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Also, it is very important to recognize that our existence was initiated in the mind of an
intelligent God, which gives us order; our function was to represent God’s will on earth. Our
problem with that is that in Genesis we come to the Fall and Adam opted to say, “I’m sorry. I
don’t want to do that. I think I see a course of action that is better than God’s will and I
choose to take that”. Every one of us has received from Adam a virus, so to speak, and the
virus is that we have this same mentality. We don’t willingly say, “All I want is to know the
will of God so I can obey it. It is my joy, my delight, my food; everything I want is just to
know the will of God and obey it.” That is what you say in a testimony, but I’m not talking
about what you say in public, I’m talking about what you do in real life. In real life, we have
the virus that came from Adam, that little idea that we say, “Well, I think this course is okay,
can I check it out?” What does God say to that? He says, “You bet your boots you can check
it out.” We come back all bloody and God asks us what happened, and when we acknowledge
that we came back all bloodied He asks if we are ready to align ourselves with His will. We
then align with it, or should align with it! Sometimes we don’t do that.

Nonetheless, this was the function for Adam. He did not do it, he refused to do so, and this
gives a virus, so to speak, to the rest of the human race and while we give birth to a beautiful
little baby, we soon begin to find out that baby wants baby’s way. That is because he has the
virus from his father, Adam. The whole object, of course, in the Christian life, is that God has
put in front of us an explanation of His will and the question is how which option we will
take? You might say you don’t have time for God’s will right now, you are busy in another
place, and you really don’t reject it, but neglect it out of business and begin to pursue your
life. You make your choices without reference to the word of God; you determine your
purpose without reference to the word of God, and proceed to move down a course of life.
Then you wake up about 20 and realize that things are not going too well. There is a mess
over here, you’ve taken a mud bath over there and been hit hard over there…what’s wrong?
It’s very simple: God has made us for a certain purpose, namely to obey His will, if we are
not functioning that way we are therefore hurt.
God cut out a square hole and we are trying to cram a big round dowel into the square hole
and it doesn’t fit because God has not made us that way. Are we free to do that? Sure, you
can try all your lifetime to cram the round dowel into the square hole, if that’s what you want
to do. Nevertheless, there can never be any real realization of purpose and aim in life until
that is overcome.

Third, and this is very important because of the teaching that we have been exposed to on
evolution, is to recognize in our own mentality that man is unique from all other creatures. I
realize the simplicity of that, yet let’s keep in mind that if you are a youngster in school you
will not be taught that kind of thing. Genesis 1:24 makes that very clear. What a difference
that we see creatures are arrived at by addressing the earth: God said, “Let the earth bring
forth the creature after its kind.” On the other hand, in verse 26 God said, “Let Us make
man.” Man is directly from the hand of God. You therefore have all kinds of distinctions
between what we would call an animal and a man. An animal is conscious, but animals are
not, like man, self-conscious. A Doberman doesn’t know he’s a Doberman. A German
Shepherd doesn’t know he’s a German Shepherd. He doesn’t say in his mentality, “I am a
dog. I’m not a cat.” We can; we don’t get ourselves confused with our animals. I will not go
home today and look at the cat dish on the floor and say, “Is that for me?” I have a strong

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sense of my identity and I don’t confuse myself with the cat. That is part of the uniqueness
that God has built into man.

Animals remember things. Man can remember ideas. Dogs don’t meditate on truth and ideas
of that sort. Consequently, God gives an animal no language, simply because language
involves concepts. Animals don’t speak because they don’t have anything to say; there are no
concepts there. Man, of course, does have language. The reason he has language is because
God made him an intelligent being to have concepts and ideas.

Animals don’t have the capacity to learn – at least anything significant – man can learn. He
can learn in the sense that, if there is a fire, he can put wood on it to keep from freezing to
death. However, the dog will not go over and put wood on the fire to keep from freezing to
death. The dog would probably let the fire go out and freeze because he doesn’t have that
particular capacity.

Conscience. Have you ever seen any animal that returned the meat to the butcher that he took
from the butcher and saying, “I had horrible conscience pangs, so I’m bringing back the
bones that I stole because I know they really are your property”? Animals don’t have that
capacity. Therefore, we have a unique feature as man, and therefore, you have the concept
that man is responsible. Man is responsible because he is created with intelligence and
conscience by God.

This is why people will sometimes ask why it is important to emphasize that man is created
by the hand of God and that naturalistic evolution is wrong? Why is that a big thing? Why
don’t we just stick to teaching the Bible? It is important simply because if we don’t see
ourselves as created by God, then we don’t see ourselves as being responsible to God. This is
a very important thing,

Let’s look at a sequence of volition. When we talk about the sequence of how sin entered into
the universe, we must start with, remember, one will unchallenged. Then we move to the
second will entering the universe as a challenge. We won’t go into detail, but let’s simply go
to some key passages. This will help us to see that we are saying that in our mentality as
Christians we can take the Bible and say things started over here, then this happened, and
then this happened and here is the sequence of events. That is, we can see an explanation for
the problems we see in the universe. I don’t think anybody, even if they completely reject all
Scripture, would say that we don’t have any problems today. If there is any one theme that is
pretty much accepted by anybody it is that things are not what they ought to be. When you
see that things are not as they should be, the next question is how did they get that way? You
might ask a non-believer who says, “That isn’t right,” to tell you, in the non-believer’s
mentality, how did things get that way? Then when you say it isn’t right, do you have an
answer? If you are coming from the biblical perspective, does it have some kind of
explanation as to how things got the way they are?

Basically the biblical explanation is that there was a time when there was one unchallenged
will: the will of God. And there was a time, which we can point to with a Scripture passage,
whereby a second will said it would challenge the will of God. And there was a time when

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this conflict of two wills was moved to the earth, which brings us into Genesis. That conflict
extends to now in the issue of my will versus the will of God.

Now, can we – and how can we – phrase that out? Let’s keep in mind the key passages that
ought to be riveted in our minds to explain this. Let me add, in the teaching process, you
must always walk a line between good pedagogy, that is, doing the things that will get God’s
word really riveted in our minds and using the methods that are involved in doing that, over
and against being too repetitive. Being repetitive has two spin-offs: a) Repetition can be
boring; or b) On the other hand, think of repetition in terms of the learning process and ask
yourself what you can learn without repeating? It can be boring on the one hand and yet it is
an essential ingredient on the other. Sometimes we accept that on the physical realm and
reject it in the spiritual realm. It is like someone who has done 12 sit-ups on Monday, 12 on
Wednesday, and on Friday says, “Sit-ups again?” Yeah, if you are going to firm up, the more
you repeat the more you get the firmness. I am trying to guide a line between not being
boring, and using the pedagogy, which is that it is important to repeat things. Someone said
to me last week, “You have said that so many times I can’t forget it.” Good. That is exactly
what I was trying to do.

So, the first key passage is Ezekiel 28:12-19. We can fairly say several things: 1) as far as
the Bible is concerned you can’t go any further on the origin of sin than Ezekiel 28. If you
want to pursue why this being challenged God, where did he get this idea, fine, have at it,
only call it philosophy. There is nothing wrong with that, and if you care to occupy your
mind with that, that’s fine. I am just saying this is borderline as far as the Bible is concerned,
you really can’t take it any further, though you may want to pursue it. So, as far as the Bible
is concerned, this is the origin of sin. This passage also, being a key passage for the origin of
sin, says that God created a being better than all the rest of the created beings and told that
being, “I want you to rule for Me.” That reveals that God wants His creation to respond to
Him volitionally. Why didn’t God just take charge Himself? He could have done that. He
could have just manipulated things as He desired, but He did not do that. God said to Lucifer,
“I want you to be my prime minister and I want you to say to all My creation that My will is
best.”

In Ezekiel you have the creation of what is called then “anointed cherub” which is put over
the rest of God’s creation, because God wants volitional response. Now, could the prime
minister challenge God? Yes, God said if He wants volitional response, then He must accept
the risk of challenge that is involved. By the way, in any volitional response, you must take
the risk of challenge. When you marry a girl you take a risk. She may stand up and say, “I
challenge you and I will not go that way.” If you do not want that challenge, or that risk,
then, of course, don’t ever get married. Even God in the creation of the universe was willing
to accept the risk. He has enough control to control the risk, but He wants volitional response
from His creatures in every sense of the word. So you have the origin of sin coming down,
God creates this being and He responds to the challenge in two ways. 1) Matthew 25:41, God
creates a Lake of Fire for Satan and his angels. Then, before they deposited, God allows them
to go out and do their work. They proceed to the Garden of Eden. I’ve always understood that
when Lucifer fell from Heaven that he landed in the choir loft, but that isn’t quite accurate.

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When he fell from Heaven, he landed in the Garden of Eden and from that standpoint the
Garden of Eden is a testing ground.

The key passage on the nature of that sin is Isaiah 14:12-14 -


12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!
how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart,
I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:
I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Verse 13 begins a series of “I will”. This is the first “I will” asserted in the universe. The
nature of the sin is “I will” in contrast to God’s will.

From there you move to the testing ground: The Garden of Eden. In the Garden of Eden you
have the creation of man and man is given duty under God’s will. He is approached by
Satan’s will. God’s will consisted of a “do this” and a “don’t do this”. Why did God do it that
way? Why did God create this little pipsqueak and tell him, “I want you to affirm My will.
Do this, but don’t do this.” Why is God bending over like that? Why doesn’t He just make it
that way? Why doesn’t He mash Satan? He’s a sovereign God. Why does He allow a creature
to challenge Him? This is something about the character of God: He is so personal that He
says to Adam, “I want you, Adam, to respond to me by making the right choices and doing
what I say and withholding from what I forbid you to do.” In other words, “God wants His
creatures to reaffirm His will. If that doesn’t speak of a personal, intimate kind of God, then
what more would? To think that the God who made everything is looking at me and at you
and saying, “Would you affirm My will?” You almost feel embarrassed to think that the
sovereign God would say such a thing, but that’s the kind of God we love and serve. And it’s
the kind of God that has personal, close, intimate involvement with our lives and He is not
far removed and distant, way out there, there almighty. He is very close and wants very much
to see from His people those affirmative things. Therefore, He is so anxious to do that that He
will write a book to us, and say, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything make your
requests be made known to Me. Don’t carry your own cares, cast them on Me. (1 Peter 5:7)”.

What are all those exhortations saying? Every time God says, “Do this,” He is saying, “I
want to be personal with you. I don’t want to be distant. I want you to respond to Me in the
right way.” Of course, that being the desire of God, where is Satan going to drop some big
bombs? They are dropped right on our volition, by saying God is too far away, God’s
sovereign, He’s in control, He can do whatever He wants, therefore we don’t have to respond
and we are not responsible for this and we are the victims of that. All of that is robbing us of
the personal response that God wants from us as individual believers.

These are all keys and very simple concepts, but of tremendous importance to us.

Father, we are thankful today for Your personal nature. We so often think of you as
omnipotent and possessing all power, and we are grateful You do that, yet when we look at

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omnipotence and look at ourselves, there is a long distance. We are thankful for Your
omnipresence; that You are present in the entire universe, and then when we look at ourselves
and we can only occupy just a tiny space of the universe and know so very little, then we
think of the tremendous distance that is between us and Yourself. Yet, we pray, Father, that
we will grasp the note of Scripture that this omnipotent, omnipresent, powerful God is
personal and that You are saying to us through the commands of Your word that You want us
to say yes, that you want us to affirm Your will and You want that warm, close, personal
volitional response of Your creatures. If we have lost that note for whatever reason, if we
have become involved in the humanistic theories that do not see us as the creation of God
and therefore responsible to God, may we correct these things in order that we might have
the personal relationship with You that You desire. May we learn that You desire us far more
than we could ever desire You. We thank You for that great privilege in Christ’s Name.
Amen.
Chester McCalley Volition 20
All scripture references are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted

Let’s go to a church where you had a series of wrong reactions in the area of little, petty,
insignificant things that were happening to various of its members and they were responding
in a very non-Christian manner. In one of our studies we summarized by saying who is in
control, or what is in control at a given moment can be reflected and is reflected by our
reactions. Now, with 1 Corinthians 6 we want to extend that a little further, because when we
talk about our reactions we are generally thinking about reactions to the bigger things in life.
But in 1 Corinthians 6 we are going to find out that the carnality of who was in control of the
lives of the Corinthians was reflected by their reactions to small matters.
I don’t know whether I would rather be tested out by my reactions to trivial, small things, or
whether I would want to be checked out on my reactions to bigger things. I think I would
choose to be tested on the basis of my reaction to big things. It’s people in front of me in the
passing lane, which is trivial, but just gets me all tied up and boiling inside. Many of the
things in the context of a home that get you upset, when you back-up you see that they are
not really big, but what kind of a reaction do we have? An enormous explosion reaction can
occur over a very trivial thing. I am sure there is no one who has had a tremendous emotional
reaction to something that was trivial and 6 weeks later when you talk about it, it’s funny.
How could we have reacted to something so small and trivial as that in the proportion that we
did?
So the size of the matter doesn’t determine the explosion that comes about in reaction.
The Corinthians were responding to very small matters with very negative reactions. We
might add that when a small matter causes such a large reaction, it is an evidence of carnality.
In the first four chapters of 1 Corinthians there was discord present in Corinth. There was a
party spirit and so forth. Some of those problems have come to a state where one Corinthian
believer is taking another one to court, and this is the context of this particular passage.
1 Corinthians 6:1-11

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Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before
the saints?
2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by
you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge
angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? 4 If then ye have judgments of things
pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. 5 I speak to
your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? No, not one that shall be able to
judge between his brethren? 6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the
unbelievers. 7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one
with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be
defrauded? 8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. 9 Know ye not that the
unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor
idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor
thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom
of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are
justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

First of all, note two things about these about these court cases, or two features of these
reactions that some of the Corinthians were having to one another. In the first place, the
things they were reacting to, or the stimuli, were trivial. Where do we get that? Verse 2: Do
ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you,
are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? “To judge” translates the word “kriterion”.
The word was simply a word for a tribunal. With that word you got another word
“elachistos” which is translated “the smallest matters”. So, the emphasis in the context is “are
you unworthy to judge or to have a tribunal that involves a tribunal for or in very small
things? The Corinthians were reacting to some minor stimulus, which were there. We ought
to be able to identify with that.
Second, is that they were the sorts of things that are in verse 5: “I speak to your shame. Is it
so, that there is not a wise man among you? No, not one that shall be able to judge between
his brethren?” In other words, these little things could have been settled by doctrine. Can you
identify with this class of things? They are trivial, they are not really big, but we respond to
them. If we had responded to them with doctrine in line with the word of God the whole
thing would not have been a big issue. As a matter of fact, one of the questions I like to ask in
regard to responding to things is about the nature of the thing you are upset about. The
question is: Will it burn? If we are looking at something that ultimately God is going to make
go up in smoke, then we ought to gain some perspective from that.
Since we are in the context of reacting by a court situation, it is possible that everyone sitting
here sometime in his Christian experience is going to be faced with reaction to or perhaps
even the pursuing of a court matter. What can we say about this? I think we can qualify and
say that court action would be legitimate for a believer to be involved in would be 1) if there
is a violation of the law. That comes off of what Romans 13 says that government is to create
fear among evildoers and we ought to be on the side of that. There is certainly nothing in 1
Corinthians 6 that says if a law is broken you should not prosecute. This would be anything
from signing a complaint if need be – that is not forbidden in 1 Corinthians 6. The teaching
derived from the Corinthians is not that someone has broken into your home, the Roman

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authorities want to prosecute, but you will not cooperate because that is not a Christian
response because of 1 Corinthians 6. That is not covered in that passage.
Second, obviously we are legitimate in court to answer a charge. That would be in those
things such as a subpoena, to witness, and if I had a traffic violation I think I would probably
go to court.
Third, is where legal right is in question. That would be such as a contract between you and
someone else and you need legal clarification in an instance. That could be done without any
malice; this could be done by two friends, and you need a legal clarification of it and it might
require a court type situation.
However, we ought to put a parenthetical question in here: Would it be better for the cause of
Christ – and this is subjective – to be wronged? That frankly is the suggestion that Paul
makes in this passage. Paul is saying in these little matters that you are all uptight about, why
don’t you just get wronged? What’s wrong with that as an option? Why don’t you just take
the wrong action toward you and accept it? This is subjective, however, and it is a question
always to ask in a given situation.
I would add a fourth thing that is also subjective: when it is a last resort. If someone who is
a believer defaulted on something they owed you financially, I think, obviously, being
another believer the first approach would be to get something done about it without legal
action. If it continues on and on, I suppose, as a last resort a court situation would not fall
under the forbidding of 1 Corinthian 6.

Let’s look at what Paul points out in the context about these things. “Dare any of you” – does
that imply right off some type of attitude on the part of these people that are trying to get all
their wrongs righted in court? Notice the first thing he lists is that there are lawsuits in
Corinth and that their reactions to these trivial matters showed arrogance or insolence. How
dare you do a thing like this? How could you be so brazen as to have a matter against
another, go to the law before the unjust and not before the saints?
When he talks about these people, two things emerge immediately. Does he say whether the
thing you have against the person is legitimate or not? He does not say, but I would assume
that they had a legitimate beef, but you are not to go to law before the unjust. Now, the unjust
does not mean you cannot get justice in a Roman court. I would take that means the unjust as
over against saints. So, it shows insolence in this: how can an unbeliever tell what a Christian
reaction is to be? How can an unbeliever tell what a Christian view of the case should be?
How will you get that? If we are to respond to everything by divine viewpoint, then how are
you going to get divine viewpoint from a human viewpoint source? Divine viewpoint cannot
come from a human viewpoint perspective, which is all the unjust would have. We cannot get
a perspective of how to respond in a situation like this by going to the wrong people.
Notice, by the way, he is not saying don’t get these matters straightened out. That is not the
problem; he is saying they were going to the wrong people to get these things straightened
out.
Incidentally, also in verse 1, when he talks about going to law before the unjust and not
before the saints, do you think Paul was teaching you ought to have Christian tribunals? You

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don’t go to the civil court; you go to the Christian court, that obviously is not his point. The
point is not to set up a formal tribunal, the point is you have to get your divine viewpoint
reaction from the right source and you can’t get this from the unjust.
Second, the lawsuits they were filing showed, or were evidence of doctrinal ignorance. What
doctrine is violated by the inability to react correctly to little trivial wrongs? What doctrine is
violated when there is inability for one believer to interact with another and get things
solved? It is what Paul is going to say, that if you can’t get these little things resolved, he
questions your doctrinal perspective. Notice in verse 2 the doctrine he brings into the picture:
There are really two concepts that are brought in here. They are, 1) Saints will judge the
world and 2) Saints will judge angels. He states those two things.
1Corinthians 6:2
Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by
you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge
angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

You can operate with these big courts, but they were going to these courts in regard to small
matters. The logic that Paul is coming in with is that you are sitting on the Supreme Court but
you can’t qualify for the municipal court. His emphasis is that if we are going to judge
anything that big, isn’t it a doctrinal contradiction to be unable to handle these little minor
matters that exist between one another? The same application is in our personal relationships,
believer to believer. If two of us can’t adjust our relationship together, doesn’t that contradict
the doctrine that we are going to judge the whole world? We can judge the whole world, but
we can’t do it with ourselves. You have a doctrinal inconsistency in that picture.
Therefore, when we have difficulty with believer to believer, we ought to apply the very
simple doctrine that both those believers are going to be judges of the world, it is
inconsistent, then, not to be able to handle these minor matters.
Then notice in verses 5 and 6 that these lawsuits were evidence of immaturity. Wrong
reactions to trivial things show immaturity very clearly, and that is in verses 5 and 6.
1Corinthians 6:5
I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? No, not one that shall
be able to judge between his brethren? 6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that
before the unbelievers.

The wise man is someone who has learned to apply God’s word, or the truth of God’s word,
who would be a mature person. So obviously, they are immature.
Fourth, this is evidence, very obviously of spiritual defeat. That is in verses 7 and 8.
1Corinthians 6:7
Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why
do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? 8 Nay,
ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

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This utterly emphasizes total defeat. Here is the option that they never thought of: Why don’t
you rather take wrong? In other words, what is wrong with the option of saying, “All right,
I’m being wronged. I’ll take it.” This comes back to our question, and it’s a subjective
question. Notice Paul does not insist that they do that. He says, “Haven’t you ever thought of
this? Haven’t you ever thought of simply being wronged?”
Basically the reasoning in verse 7 is this: which is better: to wrong or to be wronged? Which
is better: to rob, or to be robbed? With that, assuming that it is better to be robbed than to rob
or to be wronged than to wrong, he says, why don’t you, therefore, consider that as an option.
Of course, this is what the Corinthians were not doing in any sense of the word.
Just a small part there in 1 Corinthians 6 about reactions to small matters and how they can
reveal spiritual defeat, they can reveal immaturity, and they can reveal lack of doctrinal
insight.
Let’s go back to our final review. Do you remember who rules the universe? God. Who else
rules the universe? God rules the world, Satan rules and man has a rulership. Remember that
we said two things about Satan’s rulership. 1) Satan rules, but his rule is doomed. We looked
John 12 to see that. 2) Satan’s rule is limited. Satan has a doomed and limited rulership and,
again, within the concept of Satan’s rule, be sure you have in mind the concept that things
such as demon possession, Satan cannot possess anybody at will. Demon possession can be
easily demonstrated from Scripture to be the result of conscious choices. You got to that point
through choice, not through being a victim.
We came off of this to a second idea: What are the implications of God’s sovereignty? What
are the implications of His rule? We start with a sovereign God, and if we have a sovereign
God, we have a second thing, that is, the sovereign God has a sovereign plan. Remember,
third, when you have a plan, the essence of having a plan is that you make choices. God has
chosen to put those choices in His revelation. You have God in control. God has a plan for
things and in making that plan He made choices that He wanted this, not that, or this over
that. And He did not hide it. He put His sovereign choices in the Scripture. So that really,
down here at revelation we have the Bible, but what do we have behind the Bible? Behind
the Bible we find out that God has made some choices. We find, for example, that He made a
choice among the nations and He picked Israel. You might ask what right He has to pick
Israel. The answer is that He is God; He is the sovereign ruler of the universe.
Now, where do we enter the picture? We enter the picture with responsibility to know those
choices and identify with them. We are to identify with the choices that God has made. That
is going to spell out two things. 1) It spells out the use of our volition to get ourselves into the
Bible where the revelation is and it is going to involve, once we get there, the use of our
choice of do we buy that or do we not buy that, or do we want to take a course different from
the one revealed in Scripture. And 2) Right here is a key area of our responsibility: will we
ever tie into that plan in any sense of the word. If we tie into it then we have the privilege of
affirming to everybody that the will of God as expressed in the word of God is best.
Coming off of the plan we said several things. 1) The plan is always in harmony with the
character of God. 2) There is no A plan or B plan; God has only one single plan. 3) Coming
through all of this is the very strong concept that never at any point in time does God

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suppress volition. If we go into the area of 2 Peter 3:9 and 1 Timothy 2:4, we have the will of
God relative to His plan: Phase 1, our justification. And He wants us to make the right
choices in Phase 2, our sanctification. And He will wind up with Phase 3, our glorification.
What is the will of God relative to all of these things? The will of God relative to the
unbeliever is that God desires man’s salvation. Suppose you say that is true, where can you
go to prove it?
2 Peter 3:9b
(God is) not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
That would be a negative verse; He doesn’t want you to perish. How about one that is
positive and says He desires men to be saved?
1 Timothy 2:4a
Who will have all men to be saved,
Ok, so God desires our salvation; He does not want us to perish. Now we are saved and the
desire of God directed toward man is fulfilled. Then let’s go another step in this verse:
1 Timothy 2:4b
and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
As you study Scripture, you can begin to fit various passages together so that you have
categories, such as salvation, justification, sanctification and glorification. The minute we
mention the word salvation, that ought to trigger these concepts and we ought to be able to
identify God’s word relative to those things.
Now you meet a believer and he asserts that you really can’t be too certain about the will of
God. Where would you go in Scripture to disprove that?
Ephesians 5:15-17
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time,
because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of
the Lord is.
This passage shows that it is clearly not God’s will for us to be flopping around here in
sanctification trying to figure out what the will of God is. He doesn’t want that and we don’t
have to have that. Can there be a Christian fool? Yes, Paul looks at the Ephesians and says he
doesn’t want there to be a local church of fools down in Ephesus. This is the concept that a
believer can be very foolish and Paul recognized that. Is it sin to be untaught? It’s nice to be
taught, but it’s too bad if you are not - or is it sin to be untaught? Paul says, “Do not be
unwise.” Remember these three pivotal points: 1) Do not seek the will of God on things that
are commanded. 2) Don’t seek the will of God on things that are forbidden. 3) Most of the
choices of life God leaves up to us. Which of the 3 does this fit into? Is it clear we are not to
be untaught and unwise? Very clear. “Don’t be unwise” simply means if we are unwise and
we are not doing something about it that is sin.
Don’t be unwise, “but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Notice very clearly God
says He wants the believer in the salvation program to have an understanding of what His
will is for the Christian life. Actually the word “understanding” is interesting: “suniemi”.

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Sun = with and hiemi = to put together. It means bringing together what the will of the Lord
is; believers are to have it together.
You can also see this in 1 Thessalonians 4:3
3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification,
By the way, in terms of Bible study, if you were caught out on a desert island and didn’t have
your tape recorder, but you did want to study the will of God, what are the elementary ways
you could do that? You can pick up a concordance, look up “the will of God” and put them
together in a package. It is even possible that you could really learn a great deal from a very
simple procedure such as that. As a matter of fact, that is where I started on this little section.
Just look at the term. You can do that for yourself and you can do that to protect yourself
from teachers. It is a good habit to do this. I have talked about the will of God in terms of
knowledge, and someone else’s mind says, “I know the will of God in respect to something
else, 1 Thessalonians 4. Are you going to leave that out?” That says there is more there and
you ought to be listening to your teachers with that mindset to fill up the categories.
We also covered the areas of the implications of the sovereignty of God and also the
implications of the right to choose. Remember the first one was that the right to choose =
responsibility for the choice. That many times prior to making a decision ought to be
considered because a lot of our bad dispositions come out of the fact that we made a choice,
but we want to get out of the responsibility for the choice we made. What is the way out?
This is very important. When we make a choice, we should not, in our maturing process, cop
out on the responsibility. Probably not. Think of a choice very much like this: You chose to
jump out of the 30-story building; you are halfway down. Now can you change your mind?
No, you have to accept the responsibility of that choice. The right to choose involves
responsibility for the choice. Without that we have no maturity until we accept this.
Then remember how this implication of the right to choose also fans out and includes the
spin-offs of choices. When we make a series of choices, and we make the same choice over
and over again, what does the word say happens to you? It becomes a habit. Spin-offs of
choices are, 1) habits. Do you get to the point that you are not making a choice any more?
Sure you do. Habit is basically an action with no conscious choice. How are we going to get
to the root of a habit then? We are going to first of all recognize how we got that habit. A
habit is an excuse, is it not? Can’t we justify habits pretty well? Why is it that we would tend,
for example, if you go out and shoot somebody on the spot with no provocation, we look at
that action one way? Yet, if we gossip it doesn’t get looked at that way. You made decisions
to talk about other people and pretty soon you are not conscious that that is what you are
doing all the time.
Recognizing that habits are one of the spin-offs of choices is very important. Another spin-off
is, of course, our feelings. Every time we mention feelings, I think we need to reiterate that it
is not wrong to have feelings; God made feelings. Emotions are part of us, but the point is
that it is wrong for feelings to be in the driver’s seat. You may have to make a decision that
you sit and bawl your head off for three days over – there is nothing wrong with that. You
made the decision and by George, you are sticking with it no matter how bad it hurts. That’s
okay; there is no sin involved in that. I think very often Christians think that if you make the

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right choice you have to come out thinking it’s wonderful. Many times choices that have to
be made on priorities really hurt. It is tough to make a choice like that, and we have lots of
feeling and emotion with it, but emotion and feeling are not in the driver’s seat. This is where
we begin to leave this first premise; the right to choose equals responsibility for choice.
Then as we begin to get down into the habits and the feelings that’s when we begin to cop out
on responsibility. That’s where you get that stupid, helpless feeling. You feel like you just
can’t help what you are, so what do you do? You accept it, rather than move on into an area
of victory and an area of some really built up self-confidence. I don’t know if you have
gotten this, but I’ll be frank with you, I’ve made some options, trying to get options set up in
front of myself, and made some choices in the last few weeks that make me feel really good
about myself. I don’t think it’s the flesh, I just feel good about it. Isn’t it easy to make choices
and not stop to think of the options? It’s this or that. It’s really enlightening to see that you
could have gone one way or the other, but you didn’t think about it. One way I try to think of
the sin nature is that it’s like being in a boat. You can just sit there and drift along. When you
make choices in line with the word of God, it’s like putting a paddle in and changing the
course of things and you have some resistance to it. Therefore, not drifting is important. I
would suggest even, many, many times making a list of the options today. What options were
taken and did they match up with my priorities? It’s helpful, it’s embarrassing and it’s
convicting.
Father, we’re thankful again tonight for Your word and we pray that as we start a new week
that we will define the options we have, that we will recognize how important it is to
understand what Your word teaches in reference to Your will and that we can only have a
valid experience as a believer as we relate to that will. We pray that as we continue now in
our study in the book of Romans and the book of Psalms that we will grow in grace and
knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and grow into increasing obedience because we are able
now to recognize that we are not victims but we can be just exactly what Your word says:
more than conquerors in Christ, for which we give You thanks in His name. Amen

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