Suppose a society vilifies adultery, considers adultery ‘UnRighteous’ Behavior. In presence of such agreement, there must exist some rationalizing thought, equivalently rationalizing reasoning for characterization of adultery as UnRighteous Behavior.
Let us refer to a reasoning that rationalizes a societal agreement about ‘appropriate behaviors’ as a Righteous Rationale.
Suppose a man, whom we simply shall refer to as ‘xyz’, develops desire for adultery, as such is characterized by desire that already is agreed to be UnRighteous.
The natural outcome of the UnRighteous Desire?
In order for xyz to commit adultery, and yet not believe he has done something that is wrong, he must arrive at a rationalizing thought, at a reasoning that is contrary, equivalently, contradictory to the reasoning advocated for characterization of adultery as UnRighteous Behavior. In presence of a contradictory reasoning that validates adultery, it is straightforward that the contradictory reasoning can be characterized as the UnRighteous Rationale.
If there exists any behaviors that are agreed to be Righteous, they are supported by Righteous Rationales. Rationality demands that deviations from Righteous Behaviors are rooted in rationales that are contrary to Righteous Rationales, that is, in UnRighteous Rationales.
The most important insight from the anecdote?
In presence of any agreements as to what constitutes ‘Righteous Behavior’, conflicts of behaviors that subsist in society are rooted in ‘ideological warfare’. Attempts at dealing with such conflicts with penalties, but without attendance to resolution of differences in ideology treat symptoms, alienate segments of society, and enhance conflict.
In 1Corinthians 10:1–13, Apostle Paul admonishes Christians not to desire behavior that is UnRighteous. Using illustrations from God’s dealings with Israel in context of the Old Covenant, Apostle Paul declares as follows in 1Corinthians 10:6 (words in brackets mine in spirit of an amplified reading of the Bible).
Now these things (UnRighteous Desires displayed by Israel) are warnings for us, not to desire evil as they did — 1Corinthians 10:6, RSV.
In Romans 9:3–4, in what must have been an unguarded moment, Apostle Paul himself devolves into an UnRighteous Desire. Much the same as all men, in an unguarded moment, a moment of imperfection, Apostle Paul arrived at a mistake, a mistake which ensured he did not live up perfectly to his own spiritual advice.
In Romans 9:3–4, Apostle Paul declares as follows:
For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites (I could wish that I myself were not saved, could not have fellowship with Christ so that the entire nation of Israel can be saved), to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises (Romans 9:3–4, NKJV).
It is straightforward that the wish evinced by Apostle Paul is an UnRighteous wish, for Jesus, and the same Apostle Paul each declare as follows.
He who is loving father or mother above me, is not worthy of me, and he who is loving son or daughter above me, is not worthy of me (Matthew 10:37, YLT).
For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor messengers, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things about to be, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38–39, YLT).
Apostle Paul agrees with his Lord and Savior that nothing ought to be able to separate him from the love, salvation, and fellowship of his Lord and Savior, yet entertains the wish.
For some fleeting moment, Apostle Paul was, in Romans 9:3–4, caught up in a trespass, caught up in an UnRighteous Desire.
What follows in Romans Ch. 9 reveals the reality that entertainment of an UnRighteous Desire results in entertainment of UnRighteous Rationales. In the rest of Romans Ch. 9, while not asserting truthfulness of the philosophies that he entertains as explanations for why his fellow Israelites would choose alienation from the New Covenant, Apostle Paul goes on to consider several UnRighteous Rationales, which he himself later on would go on to categorically debunk.
While Apostle Paul considered several UnRighteous Rationales in the rest of Romans Ch. 9, a careful reading reveals that he did not categorically state any of the postulated ‘UnRighteous Rationales’ to be truth. This is evident in posing of the UnRighteous Rationales as UnRighteous Belligerent Questions, as opposed to statements that can be considered to be normatively true. In each and every instance of an UnRighteous Belligerent Question, Apostle Paul does not proffer a philosophical answer, merely provides an illustration that seems to validate the UnRighteous Belligerent Question.
It is normative that illustrations do not qualify as principles. Just because a wounded bird remains able to fly cannot be interpreted to mean that all wounded birds can fly.
Many Christians who, consciously, or rather unconsciously are in search of excuses for UnRighteous Behaviors, have interpreted Apostle Paul’s UnRighteous Belligerent Questions as if they were stated as unequivocal truths. As I go on to demonstrate, answers provided later on by Apostle Paul to his own Belligerent Questions reveal that he arrived at Answers opposite to assertions that were implicit in his Belligerent Questions.
A Belligerent Question acknowledges inherent controversion of (difficulties inherent in) a line of thought, but declares, ‘So What?’
The UnRighteous Rationales raised by Apostle Paul, but not asserted to be truth?
Conditionality of God’s Mercy (CGM): Is it not possible that God does not have mercy on everyone, that God is selective in His mercy? — Romans 9:10–16.
Conditionality of Feasibility of Salvation (CFS): Is it not possible that God can violate a person’s right to choose to believe in Him, as such deterministically consign a person to choices that are evil — Romans 9:17–24.
Randomness of Assignments of Purpose (RAP): Is it not possible that God, can, irrespective of a person’s desires, and willingness, allocate a person to an evil or dishonorable purpose — Romans 9:17–24.
The essence of the UnRighteous Belligerent Questions?
Apostle Paul attempts to reason that Israel as a nation was alienated from the New Covenant not by their choices, but via fiat decree of God.
The Evidence that Apostle Paul allowed a momentary UnRighteous Desire to induce devolution into consideration of UnRighteous Rationales?
Concerning ‘Conditionality of God’s Mercy (CGM)’, and Conditionality of Feasibility of Salvation (CFS), Apostle Paul goes on later to declare as follows:
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1Timothy 2:3–4, NKJV).
For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe (1Timothy 4:10).
If God desires all men to be saved, a declaration that is evident in the words of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in John 3:16, and John 12:32, His mercy simultaneously cannot be conditional or random. If Jesus is Savior of all men, He cannot simultaneously turn away anyone who desires His salvation. In this respect, Jesus Himself declares as follows.
All that The Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out (John 6:37, RSV).
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful (Luke 6:35–36, NKJV).
Concerning Randomness of Assignments of Purpose (RAP), Apostle Paul goes on later to declare as follows
In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and earthenware, and some for noble use, some for ignoble. If any one purifies himself from what is ignoble, then he will be a vessel for noble us, consecrated and useful to the master of the house, ready for any good work. So shun youthful passions and aim at righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart (2Timothy 2:20–22, RSV).
For a bishop, as God’s steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, master of himself (self controlled) — Titus 1:7–8, RSV.
In 2Timothy 2:20–22, and Titus 1:7–8, Apostle Paul declares that purpose is earned via willingness to live the sort of life that is expected of those who have faith in Jesus Christ. With this declaration, he asserts that Jesus runs a meritocracy, not a kingdom within which favors are randomly assigned and bestowed.
When he arrives at answers to ‘UnRighteous Belligerent Questions (UBQ)’ raised by himself in context of an unguarded moment that induced an UnRighteous Desire, answers arrived at by Apostle Paul run contradictory to the UBQ, are consistent with Righteous Rationales declared by His Lord Jesus Christ.
Doctrines that revolve around predestination of some to be saved, and predestination of some to be lost, all revolve around Romans Ch. 9. Doctrines that revolve around random assignments of spiritual responsibilities, with outcome a person who is agnostic about the Bible can be a Teacher of the Scriptures, or a Pastor to those seeking Christ all revolve around the notion that purpose can be random, that purpose is not subject to qualifications. All of these doctrines are false, are heresies, build in entirety on UnRighteous Belligerent Questions that are raised in an unguarded moment, but yet run contradictory to Righteous Answers proffered later on in life by the very same Apostle.
So then, Apostle Paul declares that all Scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction that is in righteousness (2Timothy 3:16). Earlier on, we further established that Scripture also are written, such that we learn not to arrive at the same mistakes as those who believed in Jesus in prior times (1Corinthians 10:1–13).
But how can those who are agnostic about spiritual authority of Scripture apply it appropriately towards teaching, reproof, correction, and provision of insights into how exactly to arrive at the righteousness of God?
By allowing each of Apostle Paul’s devolution into UnRighteous Desire and UnRighteous Belligerent Questions, and his arrival at Righteous Answers to come to us in form of Scriptures, the Holy Spirit warns against two types of mistakes, namely: Toleration of UnRighteous Desires, and Raising of Potential Answers to Questions Prior to Arrival at Spiritual Clarity on a Matter.
We would do well to take to heart lessons that come to us through Scriptures, lessons preserved for us, with objective that we avoid mistakes of those who precede us in the faith that is in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.