Divine Essence by R.B. Thieme, Jr.Apr 25th, 2013 | By admin | Category: Religion
The Characteristics of
The Eternal Life Conference
There are four categories of grace in the Plan of God. The first category is eternal salvation (Eph. 2:8,9), or Phase One grace. This grace requires a response from man before it goes into effect - nonmeritorious positive volition: faith in Christ (Acts 16:31). The second and third categories of grace are in Phase Two of the Plan - the Christian life. The second is God’s preservation of the believer (1 Pet. 1:5) in the angelic conflict. I call this “logistical grace.” This grace does not depend on human volition. The third category is “greater grace” (Jas. 4:6), or “super-grace.” It does require positive volition. Under super-grace, God provides wealth, success, prosperity, right man or right woman - every kind of blessing associated with happiness. But these are blessings only for those with super-grace capacity. This capacity of soul comes from learning and understanding Bible doctrine; capacity is a cup into which God can pour.
The fourth category is surpassing grace (Eph. 2:7) - the blessings provided by God in eternity or Phase Three of the Plan (John 1:1, 2; Rev. 21:4). The positive volition required to receive these maximum eternal blessings comes not in eternity but in time. These blessings will reward the super-grace believer forever for the level of spiritual maturity he attained in Phase Two through learning Bible doctrine. We are totally graced out by being related to the Trinity forever and by being blessed in the devil’s world. As the ruler of this world, Satan has systems of promotion, ethics, do-goodism and prosperity; but God provides blessings for us completely independent of Satan. These blessings are permanent and far more wonderful than anything the devil can provide. This is part of the victory in the angelic conflict.
God cannot contradict His own essence; He therefore plans the best for the believer. But in doing so, no decree from God opposes human free will; indeed, the decrees establish free will as something that actually exists. You see, we are so dependent on God that nothing we are or do would even exist unless He decreed it to exist! God is perfect. His Plan and provision are perfect. He has provided salvation through the Cross and super-grace blessings through learning the Word of God. These wonderful things must be received by our free choice: for salvation, one instantaneous choice; for super-grace, many choices over a long period to take in doctrine every day. Although our volition is free, God alone decided what would be the nature of His creation. We can make any choices we like, but to have salvation and the inner happiness which is part of super-grace, we must conform our volition to His design. Negative volition toward doctrine can bring only misery to the believer.
Grace is multiplied in the work of the Trinity. God has a norm and standard for His Plan: His own essence. Grace depends on the character of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied (1 Pet. 1:2).
Foreknowledge knows only facts; election is based on facts. Omniscience, however, knows everything, including all the alternatives that will never come to pass.