God's Government

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14 Essentials of Moral Government

These are notes taken from a lecture by Gordon Olson somewhere in the mid 1970s, likely on a School of Evangelism in Europe.

14 Essential points --- statements of truth. God is the sovereign ruler of the universe. If your message is man-centred instead of God-centred, you lose the heart of the message.

1. God Has a Right to Rule Man

This means that He has a right to rule you and me. If evangelism proceeds from a base of human need, you have humanism or religious selfishness.

A. Evangelism From Human Need is Inadequate Motivation.

Not everyone realises they have a need.
Man as the centre = selfishness.
God is King, not a Santa Claus.

Man has a need to get right with God because we are hurting Him and violating His design.

B. Jesus Gave No Invitations. He Said "Follow Me" --- Not "if You Like".

  1. Eg. the Draft: If you didn't obey the command to show up at the induction centre, then you were considered to be a rebel. Christianity is right: the only right way of living.
  2. Jesus gave commands. As king of the Universe He had that right. (The message of the early believers: "There is the rightful King and you are not serving Him. Why not?"

C. God is the Rightful Owner of Mankind, Whose Love and Wisdom Morally Obligates Us.

  1. Wrong reasons why He should be the rightful owner:
    1. "Because He made you" --- That gives Him a very indirect right, which is not good enough for most people because Creation happened a long time ago.
    2. "Because He loves you." --- Frankenstein could love you too, but that would not necessarily give Him the right to rule you.
    3. "Because he has given you great gifts." Somebody could give you many presents every day, but that still would not give him the right to rule you.
    4. "Because he's bigger than you." Might is not right.
    5. "Because he died for you." That still gives Him no right to rule you.
  2. Man may feel that even though God is bigger than He is, when it comes to judgement, God will honour him because "..at least I did it my way". Man expects God to look down on him as if he were a worm, and be really nasty to him.
    1. The God of the Bible is the Innocent Lamb without claws, who never ever wished you harm.
    2. Rebellion is just foolishness. Rebellion is ridiculous when there is no one to fight you.
  3. Right reasons why God has a right to your life:
    1. We need a ruler. --- We are finite and do not have enough information to wisely and correctly order and rule our lives. Eg. The Dentist. He knows more about your teeth than you do, he is wiser. He's got to be good, everybody prefers a kind dentist.
    2. You entrust yourself to God because He is wise and good.
    3. You cannot ask for mercy unless you believe the judge is merciful. If you do not believe that, you go for justice. Every excuse you make closes up the way to mercy.Eg. Little boy stealing cookie and hiding it, making excuses is not pleading for mercy.
  4. God's qualifications give Him the right to rule:
    1. He is qualified to rule because of His wisdom.
    2. He is qualified to rule because of His goodness.
    3. He is the most moral ruler of the Universe.
    4. He is obliged to rule us and we are obliged to obey. If I don't obey I am obliged to be qualified.
  5. You either have the Lord or yourself first --- not both: (Lord, I follow you, but let me first ...)

2. His Right is Founded in His Value

A man centred gospel is, what God can do for you, instead of the intrinsic value of Christ being proclaimed. God's value is His wisdom and His goodness.

A. The Basis for Christian Living

The basis for Christian living is love and trust, as opposed to fear and hope, threat or bribe.

  1. Threat, bribe Love, trust EG. Identical twins that selfish obedience serve their father from different motives.
    1. fear and hope
    2. love and trust
    • Not salvation but a religious experience. If you don't get saved through trusting the Lord with all your heart you are not saved. Charles Finney a legalist? He was a lawyer before he was saved. Trust in the Lord because His is wise. Obey Him --- because He is good.
  2. Prov. 3:5 (RSV) "Trust in the Lord with all you heart, and do not rely on your own insight."
    • 2 Chron 7:14 (RSV) "If my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways ... (wisdom & virtue) eg. The Prodigal Son: One returns penitent and loves --- the other had all the time his inheritance in mind.
  3. You can do all the good works you want, you will still end up in hell if you don't love God. (Pharisees).

B. Revelation of the Value of Christ is Essential for the Cost of Discipleship.

  1. This is not Santa Claus, it is Jesus, and how wonderful He is.
  2. The value of God is in God himself.
  3. "Santa Claus Evangelism" --- emphasizing what Jesus can do for you and what you will get.
  4. Don't lay crosses on people until they see a revelation of Jesus in your life. We must reveal Jesus or we have no right to ask discipleship.

C. Christians Must Centre on Who Christ is, Not on What He Does.

3. His Law is Founded on His Value

A. The Basis for All Law in the Universe is God's Being, Not His Will.

  1. Changeless 2. Uncreated 3. Eternal

B. Right and Wrong Are Not God's Creations, but Are Intrinsic in the Nature of Reality.

  1. Reality is what God is like.
  2. To be right is to conform to ultimate reality.
  3. To be wrong is to rebel against reality.
  4. There has always been the possibility of right and wrong in the universe, even before satan fell from grace. It was the act of rebellion that brought wrong into being.
  5. Right or wrong are statements of conformity or rebellion to ultimate reality which is God's Being.

C. God is Good, Because He Has Chosen to Be.

  1. His lives by a law --- the law of love.
  2. God never tells you to do something that He has not done first.
  3. The shepherd goes before us.
  4. John 11:4 (RSV) "When He has brought out all His own, He goes before them, and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice."

4. God's Rule is Moral, Not Coercive

(Coerce: to restrain by force, esp. by law or authority; to repress; curb; to compel to any action.) It is not a rule of force but a rule of influence (moral).

A. God Does Not Use Force to Save Men.

  1. We have no right to use force.
  2. Jer. 31:3 (RSV) "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you."
  3. God is pleading with us and drawing us to Himself.
  4. Since moral rule is antithetical (opposed in idea) to force, men can and do resist salvation.
  5. Don't pray, "God please save so and so." Pray to God to raise up His people around them, to surround them with light, to put a "Holy Ghost Contract" on them.
  6. Our job and ministry is to give light, to give more light.

B. Unless Man Meets God's Conditions, He Cannot (Wisely) Save Him.

  1. God does not save by a magic formula but by conditions.
  2. God gives grace to the humble.
  3. When conditions are met, God will save.
  4. You can preach faith to a repentant man. The Philippian jailer was repentant, so Paul preached faith and not repentance (Acts 16:23-34)

5. God Lives in Endless Time and Acts in Succession

God's being is timeless but personality is sequential.

A. God Has Past, Present and Future.

  1. God's time is both beginingless and endless.
  2. A Christian's time only has no end. (We will have eternal fellowship with God.)
  3. We will always love Him. This is not an issue of knowledge but of time.

B. Future Decisions of Both God and Man Are Not Present Realities.

  1. Time is a reality. Not real until actualised.
  2. Choices of the future are not real until they are made.
  3. There is a flux of alternate choices and God knows all the possibilities.
  4. Eg. Putting a ball in a box with different places to fall in. All the places are known, but the place where it will land is only known after it has fallen into it.
  5. The choice is always up to you. One of the alternatives is going to be a reality.
  6. If there is a real time, the future does not exist until it is here. Future is real future.

C. Definitions of Time. (Time Cannot Exist Without Morals.)

  1. Time is a succession of creation.
  2. Time is a concept based on morals.
  3. Time is a sequence of choices.
  4. Time is the medium in which things change (A.W.Tozer)
  5. Time is what the clock says (A. Einstein)

D. God Recognises in His Own Existence a Clear Distinction.

  1. Future is a flux of alternatives within certain circumstances (certainties)
  2. A probability web is always finite, because it has to have a beginning, but God is infinite.
  3. There are no ultimate surprises.
  4. The future is not fixed. It alternates for both God and man.
  5. God predestinates the unity not the diversity. Eg. A boat is going to New Zealand. You can do what you want on this boat, it will still go to its destination.
  6. God knows where we are going. There is an overall control. Eg. With a goldfish bowl being held by someone: that person, tho' holding the bowl, cannot determine which way the fish swims.
  7. God cannot live in either future or past.
    • a. God can remember and is precognitive.
    • b. He has perfect recall of past and perfect knowledge of future alternatives.
    • c. God chooses to live now in real time.

E. Bible Words for Time --- What Does it Mean: "... and Time Will Be No More".?

quantity of time, certain amount, space of time, succession, duration, date (past or future), Chronos ---time will pass away: the universe-time.
quality of time, epoch marked by certain features or events, period possessed of certain characteristics (season, harvest, reaping, punishment, judgement, prophecy), time suitable for a purpose.
fullness of time, completion, end of appointed time.
origin, beginning, active cause, to be first.
to bring to an end, to fulfil.
  1. The divine time (kairos) intersects our time.
  2. It is not for us to know the chromos or the seasons (kairos)
  3. The universe had a beginning (space time --- creation), the series of creation will come to an end. (chronos)
  4. Kairos, arche will not pass away.

F. The Relationship of Biblical Time to Einstein-Time":

  1. Time stops at the speed of light. (A. Einstein)
  2. The person reaching speed of light would not stop thinking.
  3. God is timeless but His personality thinks sequentially.
  4. God's personality is distinct from His being.

6. Man is Sinful and Guilty Not by Inherited Morals but by Choice

Once you indulge your body, and do what you were not created to do your body then clamours for morals. Man's body = stuff (metaphysics).

Personality = morals.

A. We Inherit Messed Up Metaphysics Which Affects Our Morals.

  1. Drugs --- perverts your body, and your metaphysics are messed up by your morals. Metaphysics create own laws. ie. the law of sin (being hooked by body through continuing sin).
  2. Adam died a physical and a spiritual death.
    • a. Physical depravity (bias, bent to wrong): this leads to physical death (inherited) --- no choice.
    • b. moral depravity: this leads to sin --- choice.
  3. Man is inclined more to do wrong than to do right.
  4. Don't put physical and moral depravity together.
    • a. There is not one origin for both (Augustine)
    • b. The Holy Spirit is working against the bent.
    • c. Our choices enhance the bent.
    • d. Physical depravity gives us a bias towards sin.

B. We Are Not Held Responsible for Adam's Sin but Only Our Own.

C. Man Inherits Physical Death but Not Moral Death.

  1. Rom 5:19 (RSV) "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous.
  2. Universalism:
    • a. ?
    • b. "Jesus has saved you already, do you believe?"
    • c. The Lake of Fire is for "purification".
  3. Universalism
    • disobeyed obeyed
    • the many (everybody) the many (everybody)
    • Adam were made (stuff, Christ shall be made sinners not morals righteous
    • a. The word 'were made' --- Kathesteini
    • kathe: down (place or time) steini: to stand
    • kathesteini: to stand, to abide, to covenant, to designate, to appoint, to place down, to set up (as an elder), to establish.
    • b. Tit 1:5 (RSV) .. amend what was defective and appoint elders in every town ...
    • c. This word is NOT stuff, it is morals. (Conditions have to be met.)
  4. Morals imply responsibility.
  5. All moral beings create choices

7. Man's Choices Originate in Himself

A. Man is Moral, He is Made in God's Image.

B. Man is a Finite Creator.

C. Because He Created Choices, He is Responsible for Them.

8. Man's Sin Has Truly Hurt God

A. God is a Being That Can Be Hurt. He is a Person.

  1. Grief is proportional to intimacy. --- The broken heart of God. Who can measure the grief of God?
  2. God's hurt has not resulted in bitterness.
    • a. God has overcome all feelings of vindictiveness.
    • b. God judges with justice; Out of wisdom.
    • c. God has always been in love with man.
  3. Nothing that man has done will change God.
    • a. After Adam sinned he thought God too had changed.
    • b. Do you know how much you are hurting God with what you are doing. (This is not just a concept).
  4. We have to be like God.
    • a. Translate this into your life.
    • b. If we act like God, we will have the results He has.

9. Sin is Essentially Selfishness

A. Man is Really Guilty, Really Wrong.

B. Man Without God is Totally Selfish.

  1. Everything man does is as filthy rags if it is done without God.
  2. Selfishness is the core and essence of all wrong.
  3. Unless I have love I am nothing (1 Cor 13).

C. Everything is Wrong Unless Jesus is Lord.

10. Love is an Unselfish Choice for the Highest Good

Love is an Unselfish Choice for the Highest Good of God and His Universe According to the Real, Related Values

Eg. Values --- man and mosquito, the killing of a mosquito is actually an "execution" .The mosquito's life is not as important as my life.

A. God's Value is the Greatest Value.

B. Love is Not a Feeling or a Way of Thinking

Love is not a feeling or a way of thinking, but a chosen direction of life. Love is a choice.

C. Selfishness, Not Hatred, is the Opposite of Agape.

  1. Hatred: preference (biblical definition meaning to choose or prefer something else.
  2. Love; hate = emotions.

D. Because Love is a Choice, it Can Be Commanded.

  1. You cannot command feelings, but you can command choices.
  2. "I can't give my life to the Lord" ."Yes, you can, you just will not. Choose to!"

11. Man Must Meet Conditions to Be Saved

Salvation is not automatic or Universal. Honesty (being totally real) --- repent and believe.

A. Grace is the Grounds of Salvation.

God does not have to forgive us, we are guilty, and there is a need for justice to be satisfied. God owes us nothing, but His grace has found a way out of the problem.

B. Repentance and Faith Are the Conditions of Salvation.

Only faith in the finished work of Christ and repentance, a complete turn around can bring salvation to us.

C. Salvation is Neither Automatic Nor Universal.

  1. Only one reason why we are pardoned; because God is like that. (gracious) There is nothing we can to do earn forgiveness, it is His grace alone.
  2. What is the fundamental reason for God offering pardon? Is it because man has said, "I will repent ..I will believe" ?No. Man is not the originator of pardon, God is.

D. God Wants to Pardon People, but He Cannot Until They Meet the Conditions.

  1. God emphasizes repentance.
  2. The Christian world emphasizes faith.
  3. If we emphasize man's need, we cannot emphasize repentance!
  4. Repentance without grace is a legal demand, not mercy. Schaffer said: "If I had an hour with modern man, I would spend 45 min on the fact of his lostness and guilt, and 15 mins on salvation".

E. Incomplete Repentance or Committal

Incomplete repentance or committal will result in incomplete salvation and counterfeit conversion.

  1. In counselling: check back to conversion and check that for repentance.
  2. In counselling: when a person says he is a Christian ask him to give you a definition of that.
  3. True repentance is trusting God in everything.
    • a. We must want the reality to happen.
    • b. God gives the saving faith when He sees our repentance is real.
  4. All problems with God are solved in true salvation.

12 Salvation is Nothing Less Than Making Christ Your Lord and King

A. No Man Can Accept Christ as Saviour and Not Make Him Lord.

  1. Being our Saviour is not dependant on what Jesus does, nor our choice, but who He is --- this makes Jesus Lord.
  2. In the Bible no-one was saved who had not surrendered.
  3. God has no way of accepting you unless He can make you whole.

B. Eternal Life is in Christ, Not Separate From Him.

  1. Life is not different from Christ.
  2. Christ is in life, He is that life.
  3. Jn 3:36 (RSV) He who believes in the Son has eternal life: he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.

C. a Man Out of Fellowship With God is Out of Fellowship With Life.

Because God is life.

13. The Atonement is a Substitution, Not a Payment

Jesus did not simply pay for the sins of the world. He substituted His own life.

A. The Atonement of Jesus is a Substitute Penalty.

  1. The death on the cross = the Atonement.
  2. The person taking the penalty receives the full impact as the one to whom it is due.
  3. Jesus was substitute in the place of our penalty.
  4. The substitute for the penalty should have as much effect on the one who breaks the law as the penalty executed would do.
  5. Love the lawbreaker and still give him a chance, yet uphold the law.
  6. Not death for Life, but life for life.
  7. Penalty or substitute? = the Atonement. You cannot just be "set free" by Jesus' death; you must take Him as Lord of your life or take the penalty.

B. Why the Death of Christ is Not a Payment.

  1. If you owe someone money and someone else pays for you, this is a payment, not forgiveness.
  2. Who should have been paid? --- God does not need to be paid, He loves the sinner and sent Jesus to be the substitute.
  3. The cross is not a purchase, because conditions have to be met.

C. Christ Died for All, but Not All Are Saved.

  1. The Cross is not an exact payment.
  2. The key word is --- substitute.
  3. The sinner has to see, that he should be on the cross, and not the Lord of Glory.

D. The Value of God is the Beginning of Moral Government.

E. The Value of the Cross is the Most Powerful Application.

14. Holy Living is Daily (Loving) Obedience to Growing Light

A. God Holds Us Responsible for What We Truly Know About Him and His Laws.

  1. We are responsible for what our hearts know and proclaim in the centre of our being.
  2. This is not what we think we know about Him, but what we really know.
  3. You understand moral government when it breaks open your heart, when it changes your life.

B. Holiness is Measured by God as We Conform Our Lives to His Revealed Life.

  1. We are not in a position to judge our own holiness or anyone else's.
  2. God is the only one who really knows our actual standing with Him.
  3. The more you know, the more responsible you are: James. 3:1 (RSV) Let not many of you become teachers,
    • my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness.

C. Holy Habits Are Established by Fresh Revelation of God's Strength, Character and Love.

  1. To live means a revelation of Christ. Seeing Jesus as the 'Meet-er of our every need'.
  2. Sanctification is the daily walk with God.
  3. The basis of sanctification is a fresh revelation of Jesus, and ever increasing baptisms of love. Don't get involved in digging into yourself again but seek greater revelations of God.
  4. Change completely to the right. Salvation is a 100% surrender of everything I know, to the Lord of the Universe.
    • a. It is not gradual.
    • b. The past is not immediately erased. God will not erase your memory banks because they are you.
    • c. Your old man is the person you used to be (not your father)
    • d. God arrests the person you used to be through salvation.
  5. You are only holy as long as you walk with God.
  6. When you leave God in any way, the old man comes out to dominate.
  7. Sanctification is a daily choice.

E. Danger Areas:

  1. Turning corners: everytime you take a new direction you are most tempted to go the old way. The old man is always waiting to re establish himself --- this means daily crucifixion.
  2. When we are on our own: when nobody looks at you, there is the danger to go for excursions. Without fellowship with others as a reference point, it is very possible to slip back into the 'old man'.
  3. In emergencies: you must choose to go to God. (Self pity or prayer?) We have to learn to go to God every time. It is not easy but it is essential.
    • a. Learn to choose God's ways.
    • b. Discipline yourself.
    • c. Act: don't react.
  4. Choices by discipline develop new, good habits in God's ways.
  5. 1 John 2:1 --- 6 = do not drive on the wrong side of the road.
    • "If any man drives on the wrong side of the road, we have a Holy Ghost Repair Service."