Choice & the Sanctifying of the Will

Free will is not merely the ability to choose between good and evil: for that is merely freedom of choice, which every man possesses. But the man whose will is truly free is able to choose between multiple goods, and also become learned in discerning the most virtuous.

For choice, being an external impersonal principle, has no personal moral quality; whereas the will which performs the choosing is indeed held accountable, as it is a faculty of persons. The heart of this matter lies in the allegiance of the will, not in whether or not men are freely allowed to choose – for indeed they all are. The will is swayed much by the desire of the soul; so that the more sanctified the soul, the less it considers evil to even be a viable option, and the more goods from the providential hand of God are then opened to its discretion.

Therefore, the most perfectly free will would be that which beholds both good and evil, but chooses that which is only good. Or, to cast this as the choice in the garden according to philosophical terms: the most perfectly free wil chooses the Tree of Life over the Tree of False Dialectics; the latter being “knowledge, falsely so-called”.

Men come to Christ on their part by choice; but they remain obedient in Him on their part by the freeing of the will from sinful desire, through the renewing of their mind according to His Word, which teaches them every good thing, communicating to them the very Life of God.

The Test of Solitude

He (Elijah) said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”
… “Yet I (the Lord) will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
1 Kings 19:14, 18 (ESV)

There must come a time in every man’s life, if he would continue to walk in the approval of God, that he realizes himself not to be the primary target of the devil, nor the sole barometer of the spiritual progress of other men; and that he likely does not perceive the secret devices of God’s true workings in others. And by degrees he must conyinually be reminded of this again and again.

He must indeed learn to walk in solitude and in the rejection of others; but this is for him to learn the trusting of God above all – it is not for him to merely become full of mere evil suspicion against his brother.

The man who lives vicariously through God’s past humbling of him, and thereby does not continue to humble himself today, deludes himself; and may quickly become as much a well of poison as he is a spring of living water to others.

The one who has become puffed up in his spiritual solitude will often predict that others will soon begin to avoid him due to his piety, his spiritual knowledge, or his comparative closeness to God; failing to see that this prediction is often only fulfilled because neither the wise nor many of the simple will long endure such a monster of pride, nor waste any time in vainly reasoning with him about it.

He will begin to manufacture his own rejection: for it is at the cost of others rather than himself. He will begin to think of his life as being quite representative of the rejection of Jesus by His own disciples, without having ever yet loved his own friends as Christ did.

And as those who loved him drift away, he will continue to spin his web of self-delusion, feigning humility, taking the weak-minded and gullible along with him. Therefore he warns agains the wise who warn him, and flatters the fools who flatter him.

He will have a secret kingdom all to himself, in which he is secretly the king over his domain of influence. The most unpardonable sin in his eyes is for another to take him less seriously than he takes himself.

(If only we could all see just how spiritually awake and correct he is: then we would all truly understand…)

The only way that such a man may exit this cycle of self-deception is honesty without bounds, without excuses, without agendas, and most importantly, without any regard for the self-image that has been built upon the sands of his completely undeserved martyr complex.

The man who becomes proud rather than humble in the midst of spiritual solitude has wrongly looked not unto Christ, but rather unto others, whom he despises, in order to confirm his delusions of grandeur.

Love… does not take into account a wrong suffered,
1 Corinthians 13:5 (NASB)

At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!
2 Timothy 4:16 (ESV)

“Let My People Go”

One of the greatest lies that the Bride of Christ has yet to fully overcome in history is the lie that Christ’s authority is passed tangibly down through men by way of institution.

Even the defectors from Rome – the protestants – and also the ancient institutions of the east, have not avoided this great pitfall, no matter their very poor excuses and semantic wizardry.

As John records,

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me that an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is of the Jews.
But an hour is coming, and now is, that the true worshippers will worship the Father in more localized tabernacles.”

Oh wait, He didn’t say that last bit.
Remind me, what exactly did He “institute”?

A member of Christ’s body is one whom Christ Has purchased with His own blood and in whom the Spirit dwells by HIS impartation. That any man was instrumental is incidental to the invisible workings of God Himself.

They may gather in a particular place; but it is only those who are born of the Spirit of Christ that are the tabernacle.
One may teach; but the authority is in the word of Christ alone.
One may prophesy; but the authority is in the Spirit of Christ alone.

Now, many can understand all of this, and say “amen” to these things, yet still remain under the aforementioned lie.

1) They still suppose that some particular tradition of the governing of the local assembly (although it has become sub-local by way of extra-local institutions) is somehow blessed by God, or that at the very least, that it is inherently acceptable to Him.

This could not be further from the truth. That God has done so in certain times past, or even presently meets men in the midst of it, is no endorsement; it is rather a calling out to “come up hither.” The jealousy of carnal men is provoked when they are confronted with this truth, and they are often quick to condemn to eternal fire any who would dare point this out; for their livelihood and self-delusion depends entirely upon they system which they perpetuate.

2) They fear that those who are lead by the Spirit will easily fall into the gnostic and pagan storm of deception that has (always) filled the horizon. This is foolish. For if the accused “unchurched” (as they call them) christians truly remain under the authority of the Holy Spirit, then they shall not be drawn away after another.

This fear is based upon an experience with carnal men who were full of themselves, and not of the Spirit, who were drawn away into even greater error than that from which they departed. Yet such things are unavoidable with or without an institution; therefore this is not an argument. That men are corrupt and self-serving is no excuse to therefore set up earthly institutions to represent the spiritual reality. If anything, it is an argument against such.

3) They will agree that Jesus is the only head, the only mediator, the only priest of the new covenant, and the only good shepherd; yet they insist that these truths become “balanced” in a “practical application” via the institutional methods of man.

But there is no more practical application possible than that which the Holy Spirit Himself can execute; and He, unlike men and their institutions, cannot be infiltrated or driven off course; He will rather (if only we allowed Him) drive such maladies away from His temple, which are His people.

The more absurd objection which now inevitably becomes raised is that if we are lead by what is unseen, how will men know for certain what God is doing, without an institution to represent it? The answer is that to know what God is doing, one must be walking by the Spirit. Again, institutions are no more immune to infiltration, or corruption in general, than any one of their members.

The design of an organic Body is such that it develops immunity to corruption; the design of an institution is such that it cannot help but incubate and feed into corruption.

To set up institutions as the bellweather of God’s movings is to miss God Himself. For if anything, it men who are lead of the Spirit that are the bellweather; but even these can only be perceived by those who are likewise lead. And if anyone does not approve of this arrangement, then he does not trust the Lord with His own people, and cannot be trusted with their care. Unfortunately this is the mindset of almost every man who is considered to be a teacher or spiritual father in our day. They do not truly believe that the Holy Spirit can lead God’s people into all truth.

Therefore, they ought not boast in their knowledge of the scriptures, which say,

“The Spirit breathes where He desires, and you hear His voice; but you do not know from where He comes, and where He goes; so is everyone who has received birth from the Spirit.”
John 3:8 (LITV)

The institutional system that has lorded over God’s people is a mockery of the incarnation of Christ, who said, “a body you have prepared for Me.” For He became man in order to raise us unto partaking in the divine nature; but the trappings of manmade institutions only obstruct this resurrection from among the dead. For the ceremonial laws were fulfilled in a human BODY; and a day is dawning in which the redeemed are breathed upon anew by the Spirit of the Living God; and as a Body like unto His, will rise as in Ezekiel’s vision.

And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
Ezekiel 37:13-14

A child can understand the most basic spiritual implications of when Paul said that God “does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.”

Nor do children need our “correction” when they read and simply understand Jesus’ words when He said, “where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.”

If we were truly wise and understanding as serpents, as He commanded us to be in this age, then we would come to Him as the little children; not being drawn under so-called spiritual authority of top-heavy men and their lifeless, corporate fictions.

But where are those who know these things and will continue to heed the call of the Bridegroom? Will they remain hiding in the shadows of the ruins, or will they begin to partake in the life of Christ’s Body?

Jesus Christ has already declared, “Let My people go.” He has already been leading as many of His children as will follow Him into the wilderness. He has already parted for them the Red Sea. He has already drowned the armies of Pharaoh. Now He springs forth streams in the desert, and sends down manna to eat; and yet they grumble, not trusting Him to lead them into the promised land.

He WILL find those ready to obey His voice.

“And all with one mind began to beg off.
The first said to him, I have bought a field, and I have need to go out and see it; I ask you, have me excused.
And another said, I bought five yoke of oxen and I am going to try them out; I ask you, have me excused.
And another said, I married a wife, and for this reason I am not able to come.
And the lord said to the slave, Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.
For I say to you that not one of those men who had been invited shall taste of my supper.”

And great crowds came together to Him. And turning, He said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers and sisters, and besides, even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

Luke14:18-20, 23-26 (LITV)

The Greatest Injustice

The greatest injustice, and the highest crime in all of creation, is taking place wherever the holiness of God is not being perfectly reflected.

And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”
Isaiah 6:3 (ESV)

Let no man speak of justice whose heart has neither been taught to fear, nor begun to be undone, by the holy, holy, holy Lord of glory.

“Against You, You only, have I sinned…”
Psalm 51:4

Only when all that a man has left are the broken remains of his pitiful naked self laid bare before the majesty of the Holy One – only then does he truly see, that he may be raised up through the dust and ashes of repentance to heed a call beyond his own means.

True Philosophy – John Of Damascus

“Philosophy is a love of wisdom. But, true wisdom is God. Therefore, the love of God, this is the true philosophy.”
– John of Damascus

Elect In His Calling

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with His blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
1 Peter 1:1-2 (ESV)

The election of the saints is according to something, in something, and for something; all of which things play out in this present time upon the earth.

These are not theoretical matters, but living and consequential matters: each one of the three proceeding from God Himself with the intent and power to find their fulfillment by the obedience of faith in the elect ones.


Elect “According To”


“…according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…”

The first of these three is the only sure fountain of the other two. If we do not appreciate the humbling enormity of what this election, or this choosing, is “according to,” then we rob the subsequent matters of their true source of power.

For if God’s electing grace was according to our own choosing, then He should still be waiting for our dead souls to impossibly come alive and choose. But praise be to God! That while we were yet dead in our trespasses and sins, He made us alive: so that we might see, with eyes of a faith once unattainable, the grace of God bestowed upon us in a predestinating love that conforms us to the image of His Son!

That God foreknew is not a theological term for divine time travel. God did not peer helplessly along the parade of souls through time, hoping to see if there were many who decided to believe in Him. The prophets indeed tell us what God sees when He looks upon fallen man: “And there was no man to intercede.” Men have altogether failed to intercede, even on behalf of their own souls. And how could they? For they are not able to please Him, being without the gift of faith, the seed of His Life, in them.

That God forknew the elect means that He KNEW THEM before their time. It is a term of the longing and loving relationship of the Shepherd who seeks out the one lost sheep of the hundred, laying down His very Life for it. The Life-giving call goes out, and His lost sheep awaken to hear His voice, responding with cries for help.

Later on (v.3), Peter will say that according to this abundant mercy, we have been caused to be born again “to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” A living hope! A tangible hope! This means that the subsequent sanctification of the Spirit also comes from God, and not from ourselves. It is God’s power by which we are being gaurded through faith for the revealing of this ever-unfolding salvation until the Last Day (v.4-7).


Elect “In”


“…in the sanctification of the Spirit…”

The relational foreknowing of God, once having planted its seed, is meant to produce the fruit of the same Spirit by whose power we have been generated from above. It is at this point of contact with our lives that the electing and calling will of God tests the soil of the heart of a man. It is here that the seed will germinate and become fruitful, or wither.

It is here that the birds of the air will consume the seed if the soil of the heart is hard and unreceptive to its manner of dying. It is here that the heat will scorch it for lack of depth and root, though it spring up quickly at first. It is here that thorns and thistles will choke it out unless resilient growth displaces them.

And in that parable of the soils is also seen the progression of growth based upon how those three bad soils failed to receive the seed: hardness of heart in the first case, lack of depth in the second, and worldly cares in the third. Whereas, the pattern of growth is as follows: first, the heart softening to recieve the Seed which died and now lives, that it may spring up anew; second, the newly softened ground giving way to greater depth of root; and third, depth of root producing a resilient and fruitful planting – a tree which the birds of the air rest in the shade of, the sun cannot scorch, and the thorns and thistles have no effect upon.

Such is the work of the Spirit of God in a heart that keeps its First Love, surrendering to His mighty work. It is not for lack of His powerful working that we have no power; it is rather for our lack of abiding faith in He who continually works powerfully in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure. The three bad soils are so easily emulated in us – and the elect saint must vigilantly fight these conditions of the heart if Christ is to be fully formed in it.

The saints (Gk. holy ones) are elect in the santification of the Spirit.

“In” – it is a matter of abiding. Holy ones are those who do not allow their garments to remain defiled if they become stained. Therefore, we are later exhorted by Peter to be found confirming our calling and election; because continual repentance keeps the elect in the sanctification of the Spirit, by which their true obedience is made possible.


Elect “For”


“…for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with His blood…”

This third matter of the elect’s calling is inseperably twofold.

There can be no true obedience – the obedience undefiled by selfish motives – unless the heart from whence it proceeds is already being purified by a worthy sacrifice. If even the prescribed sacrifices of the old covenant were in themselves unable to perfect those drawing near to God, nor could they cleanse the conscience, nor actually take away sins; how much more inadequate then are the sacrifices of which our own vain minds conceive in our pitiful attempts to enter the holy court of God.

Therefore the writer to the Hebrews said,

For by one offering He has perfected the carrying through of the ones being sanctified.
Hebrews 10:14 (LITV)

Those who are being sanctified are being “carried through” into the holy of holies: not by God deceiving Himself and merely hiding our sins from before His face; but rather by we no longer deceiving ourselves, and He actually taking away our sins as we behold His face.

The matter therefore once again comes down to the substance of our faith: what our hands and feet proclaim to be our hope, and what our path testifies to be our vision. The blood of Jesus is that by which our faith is fully assured, and that which sprinkles our hearts from an evil conscience, and that which washes even our body as in pure water to walk in the obedience of a living faith.
To enter the holiest place is to enter as a living sacrifice upon an altar. To remain in the holiest place is to remain and increasingly embody an intercessory posture.

Earlier I noted how the unregenerate man has no intercessory ability (or desire, truly). But those who are elect by God’s will in the santification of the Spirit are brought into an obedience that is a life of intercession on behalf of the body of which they are now becoming an integral member. The obedience to Jesus and the sprinkling with His blood is what they are now purposed “for,” as priests in His living temple, ministering unto God.

As you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:4-5 (ESV)


“So great is the office for which God hath appointed them, and which it is not lawful for them to decline.”
– Author Unknown, to “Diognetus”
[circa 130AD~200s AD]


On Truth & Sin – Douglas Wilson

“To deny (the reality of) sin is to deny Christ… and sin lies hidden whenever Christ is veiled.”
– Douglas Wilson


If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1 John 1:8