Month 9:2, Week 1:1 (Rishon/Pesach), Year 5935:232 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Sunday 27 November 2011
Grace vs. Entitlement
Most are Unaware of Their Bondage
Today's long scripture extract is a necessary preface to a subject that has been on my lev (heart) for about two weeks now but which I have not been able to record and share because of illness and some other pressing matters. This is such an important subject that I cannot delay it any longer, so here goes.
"What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before Elohim (God). For what does the Scripture say? 'Abraham believed Elohim (God), and it was accounted to him for righteousness.' Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his emunah (faith) is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom Elohim (God) imputes righteousness apart from works:
"Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that emunah (faith) was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the emunah (faith) which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the emunah (faith) which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.
'Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom Yahweh shall not impute sin'.
"For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the Torah (Law), but through the righteousness of emunah (faith). For if those who are of the Torah (Law) are heirs, emunah (faith) is made void and the promise made of no effect, because the Torah (Law) brings about wrath; for where there is no Torah (Law) there is no transgression. Therefore it is of emunah (faith) that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the Torah (Law), but also to those who are of the emunah (faith) of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, 'I have made you a father of many nations') in the presence of Him whom he believed -- Elohim (God), who gives chayim (life) to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, 'So shall your descendants be.' And not being weak in emunah (faith), he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. He did not waver at the promise of Elohim (God) through unbelief, but was strengthened in emunah (faith), giving glory to Elohim (God), and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore 'it was accounted to him for righteousness.' Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Yah'shua (Jesus) our Master (Lord) from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification" (Rom 4, NKJV).
You will discover, sooner rather than later, that most people go around believing that the world, the state, friends, loved ones (and particularly spouses) owe them something that they have an absolute right to. This we may call 'self-entitelment' and is something that has been bred into us by our secular humanist overlords through education, the media, and government policy. Believers in particular fall into this pagan mindset when they read the scriptures and see what others are commanded to do. Thus, for example, a husband assumes - because of his secular-atheistic conditioning - that he is automatically entitled to obedience from his wife, and a wife assumes - for the same reasons - she is entitled to ahavah (love) from her husband. They are not, as I hope to show today, 'entitled' - to what they think their spouse 'owes' them. Rather, each has an independent duty and responsibility to the other.
This doctrine of 'rights' or self-entitlement, though it sadly appears in some modern Bible translations, is NOT a scriptural concept. In fact, the Bible teaches concepts which are the diametric opposite. Scripture teaches that we all - including the government - have responsibilities and duties but not 'entitlement'. Indeed, if everyone were to do his or her duty, faithfully carrying out his or her responsibilities, there would be no need for 'rights' or 'self-entitlement'. The doctrine of 'rights' or 'self-entitlement' is the fruit of human rebellion against our individual obligations toward others that Yahweh demands we give.
Wherever we have self entitlement, we are believing lies - believing that something is owed to us that isn't. Self-entitlement stems back to believing that someone is in 'debt' to you - owing you something that is rightfully yours that has not been given or repaid to you. The demonic lie of self-entitlement feeds on another lie on a lower level of consciousness, the conviction that you have done something to 'earn' a 'wage', or otherwise to claim a worth or a toqef (authority) based on a 'claim' or 'title' to a certain thing. Self-entitlement is always based on a false toqef (authority). Yahweh calls self-entitlement the spirit of ADULTERY:
Let me give you an example. A man (or woman), when he falls in love, often believes passionately that he has entitlement to the girl he is in love with, even if she does not reciprocate, even if she does not want to marry him. He may bend over backwards to woo her, buy her presents, take her out, and so on. And the more he 'invests', the more entitled he often feels to the point he may get angry if he continues to be rebuffed, pressure her, or even worse. In the reverse situation, the less physically strong woman may attempt to obtain her self-perceived 'entitlement' by more subtle, manipulative methods involving seduction, emotional blackmail, and so forth. Both act in the name of 'love' though in reality it is anything but biblical ahavah (love). See my devotional, The Faithful Marriage: The Mystery of Falling in Love
"Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust (feeling of self-entitlement) and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss (with the wrong selgish motives), that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses!" (James 4:1-4, NKJV).
Self-entitelment comes in many shape-shifting forms but at root it basically seeks to claim a toqef (authority) that it does not rightly have, or which it has not been given. And when this self-entitlement is frustrated, it invariably leads to anger because they did not obtain what they sought in the manner that they wanted it. As we saw in our passage from James, this spirit of self-entitelment is the spirit of "lust" even if what you want is lawful. You see, obtaining something that Yahweh says is permissable does not mean you can go and demand it. There is a way to obtain what is lawful if and when it is Yahweh's will that we have it and that way should always be by grace.
Have you ever got frustrated or angry with Yahweh because you have not obtained from Him what you believe you are entitled to? We are all guilty of this sin. When we have these kinds of feelings then you can be sure that the Emet (Truth) has still not penetrated important parts of our lev (heart). One thing that you will discover as you analyse the spirit of self-entitlement is that it usually stems from a belief that we deserve it because we are 'good'. When it comes to our relationship with Yahweh especially, the more we probe into this matter, the more we come to discover - if we are transparently honest enough - that not only do we not 'deserve' those things which we thought we did but that we were spared - because of His grace - what we absolutely did and do deserve...the just, fierce wrath of Elohim (God) because of our sinfulness, a sinfulness that we could only be quit of by Yahweh taking the punishment upon Himself in the form of His Son, Yah'shua (Jesus), dying on a cross for us.
One of the biggest revelations a man or woman can ever have is that Yahweh is not in debt to anyone! He paid in full the wages of sin - death - that was owed by us because of our rebelliousness. It is solely because of His Grace - His undeserved loving-kindness, His unmerited favour - that He gave Yah'shua (Jesus) that we might be saved from the wages we were owed - death! We certainly earned a wage, and that is it!
Most people don't realise that they are under a death sentence because of their rebellion against El Elyon - the Most High. You see, you cannot disconnect self-entitelment from Justice - ever! The spirit of self-entitlement believes the lie that it is 'owed' something as a 'debt' when the truth is we are not 'owed' anything at all. We do not therefore have any 'rights' at all. How can we? We are the debtors, not Yahweh! But we in our pride, arrogance and self-conceit, actually believe the lies fed us by demons that we are 'owed' or 'deserve' this or that, whatever it may be, when the emet (truth) is we only ever deserved wrath.
Our debt to Yahweh - and it's a huge debt (which is why we are to forgive the debts owed us by others) - was paid by Yah'shua (Jesus), not because we deserved it, but because of grace - underserved loving kindness, umerited favour. And it is this same principle of grace that Yahweh dealt out to us that we are to deal out to others, ending the clamour of the flesh for it's imaginary 'rights'. If we cannot understand this one fundamental principle, the Besorah (Gospel) will remain a closed book to us and we will continue in our sinful attitudes and behaviour, never obtaining what we feel entitled to.
What we have received, and will receive if we continue in emunah (faith), will never be deserved, and will never be an entitlement. The emet (truth) is that by receiving grace on the terms on which it is offered (unconditional surrender) means that we are spared from the just punishment of hell. The only real 'entitlement' we have is punishment - do we really want to claim that? The grace we receive, and have received, and will receive we will never in a zillion years have 'earned' - nothing we could ever do would ever 'entitle' us to it.
Whenever we come with false self-entitlement before Yahweh, we accuse Him of being unjust. When we claim an entitlement from Him of any kind we are claiming that he Has not done or given what is right and just. Worse, when we step forward with such a claim what we are actually doing is opening a door to the Enemy and inviting big trouble. Yahweh is always just, His ways are always right. It is not for Yahweh to line-up with our wishes or sense of entitlement but for us to line-up to see that it is our attitudes that need to be changed, not His.
Yahweh is the ultimate owner of, and toqef (authority) over, us and everything in this Cosmos. If He has not given you the 'title' (the right, toqef/authority and claim to something) to a given thing, then you have no right to claim or demand it. We also need to remember that whatever we have already been given is solely because of grace and not because we 'deserved', or were 'entitled' to, it. We ourselves have no righteousness apart from Elohim (God). There is nothing that we have that we have not received first. And if we have received it, then what is there to boast about?
It follows that if we are not entitled to anything because it has been given by grace, then to claim 'entitlement' is nothing less than theft when it is actually seized or taken. Theft is lusting for, claiming ownership of, and ultimately taking, something that does not rightfully belong to us. Self-entitlement is therefore the spirit of theft, and someone who carries out a self-entitlement impulse is a thief.
What, after all, is adultery? It is the claim made by a man on something that does not belong to him - another man's wife. Why does the husband have that entitlement to exclusive and perpetual ownership of his wife? Because Yahweh has given the woman to him - by grace - just as He gave Eve to Adam. Eve gave herself to the serpent when she yielded to his claim of toqef (authority) and ownership, and Adam gave himself to the serpent when he gave himself to Eve and followed her in the false tavnith or pattern that she was following. Eve committed adultery against Adam and Adam committed adultery against Yahweh as both gave away what they were not entitled to give - Eve, her being owned by Adam, and Adam his toqef (authority) over his wife.
Self-entitelment is the desire to claim ownership and toqef (authority) and the right to something that does not rightfully belong to us and is therefore thievery. It does this because it believes in the lie that we are in possession of this mythical 'deed' or 'title'. Adultery is the stealing of toqef (authority) that belongs to another, whether it be a man claiming another man's wife, a wife yielding to another man without toqef (authority) to own her (which belongs to her covenant husband), a wife claiming coheadship or rulership over her husband in the marriage relationship. Why do men and women commit adultery? Because somewhere inside them they believe that they have the right and toqef (authority) otherwise they would never get the feeling of self-entitlement.
Thus self-entitlement is intimately connected to self-righteousness, to the belief that they have 'earned' what they lust after because they have in some way 'earned' it and because they believe someone else is in debt to them in some way.
What I hope should be immediately obvious as we look at self-entitlement from a biblical perspective is grace and self-entitlement are mutually exclusive. The moment the soul has been penetrated by Emet (Truth) and that person sees the reality of themselves objectively before Yahweh-Elohim, and what Yahweh has in fact done for them, and grace is gladly received on the conditions it is offered, self-entitlement must of necessity vanish. So long as we harbour any kind of belief in self-entitlement, then we are believing lies and the enemy is manipulating our minds and levim (hearts) through the carnal nature. And if that is the case, then more Emet (Truth) and Grace are needed to penetrate and expose these lies leading to repentance.
Gratitude and praise are the supernatural fruits of a soul that has understood and received grace, and no longer claims any self-entitlement. If the lie of self-entitlement remains, then that soul is still in bondage to resentment, discontentment and anger because somewhere in them they do not believe they have received justice, and are blaming Yahweh, a spouse, a parent, or someone else for the lies they have embraced.
May you find shalom (peace) and receive grace as you extirpate the demon of self-entitlement!