Why Are They Blessed?

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Hi T____,
Thank you for your question, and I am pleased that you “have learned a lot.”
You ask:

Here is what the scriptures teach:

Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

So yes, that is certainly true. Such statements as that are common among the orthodox pastors of all the churches of Babylon. They all seem to realize that God’s grace is given to undeserving sinners. They are read and quote Paul’s statement:

1Ti 1:15 This [ is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

The apostle Paul was not claiming to be the very worst man who had ever lived, but he had made a career of persecuting the church before he was struck down on the road to Damascus, and he considered himself to be a pattern for Christ’s mercy. It is very instructive to know that the word ‘chief’ in verse 15 and the word ‘first’ in the following verse are both translated from the one Greek word ‘protos’:

1Ti 1:16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

This Greek word ‘protos’ appears 100 times in the New Testament, and of that 100 entries, 89 of those entries are translated with the English word ‘first’, as in ‘first lady’.

Paul is not claiming to be the very first Christian, any more that Michelle Obama is the very first American lady. But he is telling us that because it was he who was “breathing out slaughter” against the first Christians when he was struck down on the road to Damascus, that Christ was using him as “a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to [ completely undeserved] life everlasting. The apostle Paul was not walking along the road to Damascus using his so called “free will” and asking Christ to forgive him of his sins. Paul thought he was actually doing what the law of Moses called for:

Deu 13:1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
Deu 13:2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
Deu 13:3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Deu 13:4 Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
Deu 13:5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn [ you] away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

The apostle Paul considered Christ and all who followed Him to be false prophets whom he was commanded to “put to death,” and Paul was diligently living by those words. God had not yet given Paul his spiritual vision. Paul could not yet see that the very law he was so diligently observing also prophesied of a day of reformation by a Great Reformer:

Heb 9:10 Which [ law of Moses] stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

Moses was a great reformer who forbade Israel from continuing in the former practice of building an altar at just any convenient place. After Moses it became a sin worthy of death to offer an offering anywhere other than at the tabernacle of Moses, and later at the temple in Jerusalem. All arguments to the contrary, there was no law requiring the keeping of the sabbath or tithing until Moses:

Rom 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression,

Scripturally speaking “there was no law… from Adam to Moses.” So just as Moses was a reformer who brought in the law, so too, was Christ a reformer who brought in a New Law:

Heb 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

This too, was foretold in the law of Moses, but Paul simply could not see it:

Deu 18:15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me [ a reformer]; unto him ye shall hearken;

This is all dealt with in depth in the paper entitled, The Law of Moses Versus The Law of The Spirit in the Essential Reading on iswasandwillbe.
Paul certainly was not doing anything worthy of being given the calling he was given so, yes indeed! “If God blessed us only when we deserved it we would never get blessed.”
What that should reveal to your former pastor and to any reasonable mind is the truth of these verses:

Rom 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
Rom 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
Rom 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
Joh 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
1Ti 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially [ not exclusively] of those that believe.
1Jn 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Too often the word ‘bless’ is spelled with dollar signs for those two s’s. It is seldom seen for the dying process that is God’s grace. Read the letter on The Purpose and Function of Grace, in that section of the FAQ’s on iswasandwillbe. com.
There is one event to all. Whether righteous or wicked, we will all endure the wrath of God on all of our ungodliness and unrighteousnesses. The only difference is that of timing and reward. The promise of life, symbolized by the payment of a day’s wages in the parable of the workers in the vineyard, is common to all mankind:

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Ecc 9:2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; [ and] he that sweareth, as [ he] that feareth an oath.
Mat 20:10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.
Mat 20:11 And when they had received [ it], they murmured against the goodman of the house,
Mat 20:12 Saying, These last have wrought [ but] one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
Mat 20:13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? [ A days wages]
Mat 20:14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
Mat 20:15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
Mat 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

The “few chosen” are those who are paid first. That is the point of the parable. It points out how good it is of God to save all, even as he is being accused of being unjust by those who “have borne the heat of the day.”
We were chosen and elected in Christ “before the world began” so our own will has nothing to do with our election:

2Ti 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called [ us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
Tit 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Salvation was promised to “all in Adam:”

1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Did your free will cause you to be “in Adam?” Of course not. It was a sovereign work of God.
I hope this helps you to see that we really are blessed by God even when we do not deserve it. But I hope you can also see that this principle is just as applicable to unbelievers as it is to “those who believe.”
Your brother in Christ,
Mike

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