Class Notes: 9/17/2008
2 Tim 2:15 Diligent study results in developing facilitated wheel tracks of righteousnesss
Continuing in our study of the mandates of the PPOG we are presently looking at the mandate to be diligent in the study of the word of God found in 2Tim 2:15; where the word translated "diligent" is the aorist active imperative of the Greek word "spoudazo'.
We are looking at the spiritual system known as GASP that God the Holy Spirit uses to teach the believer and the "wheel tracks" that are good or evil that are developed as a result of consistent for or against the word of God.
Last time we ended with the idea that the battle not only involves the renovation of the soul but also of the body. What is referred to as an addiction is actually habit based on wheel tracks from repetitive thoughts decisions and actions.
As Solomon wrote in Proverbs 23:7; "As a man thinks in his soul, so is he."
Habits are habitual because they have become paths of least resistance. These are referred to as facilitated wheel-tracks in the brain or thought patterns contained in long-term memory in its neural pathways.
As a wagon wheel rolls over the ground it creates a rut or a wheel-track described by the Greek word "trochia". As other wagons follow along these ruts are enlarged and deepened.
When yet other wagons follow these tracks a roadway is established, described in the Old Testament by the words derek and magal.
Soon this path, way, or "wheel-track" it is broadly accepted as the easiest route to follow in order to get from point A to point B.
A similar process takes place in the brain. All memory is retained in neural pathways, or electrochemical links that extend among thousands of neural connections.
When data is processed by the eyes and ears during inculcation, it is then interpreted by the ministries of the Holy Spirit and brought to academic understanding in the nous of the soul.
Volition makes a decision as to whether or not to accept the information as true or reject it as false.
If the information is accepted, it is transferred by the Holy Spirit to the kardia where it becomes cognizance of divine thought. The brain functions as the hard disk for the soul for the recall of the information.
The soul and the body are inseparably linked between selection at birth and physical death.
The human life of our original parents included perfect souls imputed to perfect bodies which, through the human spirit, were coordinated to produce perfect lives.
As our Lord taught them each afternoon in the cool of the day Gen 3:8; they processed the doctrine into their perfect souls and their perfect brains retained the information.
The only thing that could intrude on this harmony was the OSN. Once Satan's kosmic lie was believed then new and different ideas from the kosmic system were retained in their souls and brains and these ideas brought them into conflict with divine thought and divine justice.
At this point, the Invisible War entered a new theater of conflict and the satanic campaign to capture the command post of the human soul became Satan's main strategy during his appeal trial.
Salvation marks the beginning of the believer's spiritual life but at salvation the new believer has the exact same inventory of ideas that were possessed the moment before salvation with the exception of the doctrine of salvation so it is necessary for the new believer to begin a program of diligent study of the word in God's system of GASP. 2Tim 2:15;
Although saved, the believer's sinful nature has up until salvation dictated the belief system so that the lies of the kosmic system have achieved maximum influence in the development of the new believer's behavior patterns and character traits.
This resulted in a lifestyle that follows these paths of least resistance. The soul has a worldview, a philosophy, or a disposition that is in opposition to biblical truth and corresponding behavior patterns are developed in the brain.
The brain is an organ which is amoral.
One's conscience is in the soul and gives guidance as to what is acceptable or unacceptable. When the soul's volition sends out an order to the brain, it automatically directs the body to commit the desired act. Since the brain has no veto power it does what it is told to do by the soul.
All thought, decision, and action must rely on memory that is stored in the brain's electrochemical neural pathways, or wheel-tracks.
When the soul repeatedly instructs the brain to execute a certain thought or action it results in the memory trace becoming larger and more efficient. This is called facilitation.
Continued repetition causes this memory trace to enlarge to the point that it overrides all other competitors and thus becomes the path of least resistance. Under a given set of circumstances this individual will habitually respond to given stimuli in a predictable way.
When this individual becomes a believer and starts to attend Bible classes he begins to inculcate doctrinal principles that call into question these facilitated wheel-tracks of wickedness. These competing ideas are developing wheel-tracks of righteousness.
However, when certain circumstances present themselves the new believer habitually goes back to the old way of doing things. They know what they should do but, when under pressure, they don't and this becomes a source of great frustration.
Continued spiritual growth will eventually facilitate the soul's wheel-tracks of righteousness to a position of dominance and then they will become the paths of least resistance.
When this occurs it is a victory in the spiritual life as Bible study has made available to the believer the information necessary to renovate his soul and thus change his behavior, character, lifestyle, and worldview.
The coordination between the soul and the brain in the alteration of a believer's thought process and his ability to overcome habitual decisions is illustrated in the writings of Paul in Romans 7 where we find Paul struggling with facilitated wheel-tracks of wickedness while he is in the process of developing wheel-tracks of righteousness.
In order to grasp the impact of this passage on our subject we must review it with an emphasis on key grammatical constructions.
In the book The Modular Brain: How New Discoveries in Neuroscience Are Answering Age-Old Questions about Memory, Free-Will, Consciousness, and Personal Identity by Richard M. Restak, 1st ed. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995), Pages 120-21: he says:
The concept of our self as a unified, freely acting agent directing our behavior is firmly entrenched in our written and spoken language. But even a casual effort at introspection reveals that even the most balanced of us are often of two or more "minds." One part of us wants desperately to do something, while another part resists with a ferocity that leaves us feeling disjointed and conflicted. At such times we wonder if more than one person occupies our bodies.
Mr. Restak's "two or more 'minds'" is really the soul and brain at conflict over which worldview a person will accept.
This was the case for Paul as his emerging doctrinal inventory, which had not yet become the paths of least resistance, was being defeated by a dominant kosmic inventory which was highly facilitated.
This problem is presented by Paul in the grammar of Romans 7 with special emphasis on the present tense, four of which have great influence on the interpretation of this passage:
The Progressive Present of Duration: Also called the durative present, it denotes that which has begun in the past and continues into the present.
The Customary Present: Denotes that which habitually occurs or may be reasonably expected to occur.
The Tendential Present: Represents the idea of that which is inclined to occur or which tends to realization; a proneness, and inclination amounting to an impelling force. A nature characterized by having a tendency.
The Static Present: A condition which is assumed as perpetually existing.
Rom 7:14-25; uses the present tense in all of its various classifications. From them we will be able to see the presence of facilitated wheel-tracks which have become paths of least resistance.
In this passage we have,
(1) the durative for wheel-tracks laid down in the past but whose effects continue into the present;
(2) the customary indicating wheel-tracks whose execution habitually occurs or may be reasonably expected to occur;
(3) the tendential indicating a trend that causes one to become inclined toward one set of wheel-tracks as opposed to another; and
(4) the static for wheel-tracks which are assumed to be perpetually existing thus indicating their presence in long-term memory traces.
As these occur in the passage we will note them and emphasize their impact on the premise of our study that the soul coordinates with the brain to facilitate behavior patterns that can only be altered by volitional consent to biblical revelation that is received through diligent Bible Study.
Rom 7:14; Consequently, we know, that the Law is spiritual but I am tendentially carnal ( here Paul uses the tendential present of the Greek word eimi: Paul is not in carnality as he writes but he has a tendency to become so), I am inclined toward the trends of the sinful nature, when I have been led astray by the authority of the sinful nature.
v15 For what I continuously do [durative present of the Greek word katergazomai], what persistently works its way out of me (facilitated wheel-tracks of wickedness which have become paths of least resistance), I do not understand, for what I desire to do (wheel-tracks of righteousness), these things I am tendentially not practicing (tendential present tense of the Greek word prasso plus the negative ou), but what I detest (wheel-tracks of wickedness), these things I keep on persistently doing (retroactive progressive present of poieo: referring to action in a state of persistence).
Rom 7:16; Now if I keep persistently doing (progressive present of poieo) this thing which I do not desire to do (customary present of thelo plus the negative ou,
ou indicates Paul habitually desires not to do wrong but does it anyway), I agree with the Law that it is advantageous (in pointing out my error).
v. 17 But as the case really stands, I am no longer habitually performing (customary present tense of katergazomai) this thing but the sinful nature which keeps on living in me (once volitional consent is granted to the OSN it dictates the life until the believer recovers through the acknowledgement of known sin).
Rom 7:18; In fact, I know that in me, that is, in my flesh (the sinful nature including the neurons of the brain), there does not reside any good of intrinsic value, for the habitual desire (customary present tens of thelo) to do the will of God is present in me, but habitual divine-good production (customary present tense of katergazomai) of my desire is not.
v19; - For the intrinsic good I habitually desire (customary present of thelo), I do not habitually do (customary present of poieo plus the negative ou), but the evil which I do not habitually desire (customary present of thelo plus the negative ou), this I presently practice (pictorial present for an ongoing present reality).
Rom 7:20; Now if, as a result of my personal volitional decision, I am presently doing (pictorial present tense of prasso) what I habitually do not desire to do (customary present of thelo plus the negative ou) ( and I am), I am no longer the one persistently producing (progressive present tense of katergazomai for action in a state of persistence) the sinful act but the sinful nature which continuously resides (durative present of oikeo) inside of me (cell structure of the body).
v21 Consequently, I discover this principle, that when I habitually desire (customary present of, thelo) to habitually do (customary present of, poieo) the honorable thing, the law of evil continuously resides (durative present of , parakeimai) in me.
Rom 7:22; For along with other believers, I habitually delight (customary present of, sunedomai) in God's principles in the soul.
v. 23 But I see a different kind of principle in my body parts ( the Greek word melos: always refers to the body, in this case the brain) laying siege in a campaign against the principle of my mind ( the Greek word nous referring to the staging area for volitional consideration of doctrinal truth) and so making me a continuous prisoner (durative present tense of aichmalotizo) to the principle of the sinful nature which is located in my body parts (melos: the brain).
Rom 7:24; I a miserable person! Who will rescue me from the body of this death (operational death from being out of fellowship with God and under the control of the OSN)?
v25 Grace belongs to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then, on the one hand, with my mind ( the Greek word nous again referring tostaging area for volitional response) I myself am obligated to comply with the principle of God (wheel-tracks of righteousness) but, on the other hand, with my flesh sarx: the body with emphasis on the brain's neural pathways which have the resident OSN) I myself impulsively capitulate (iterative present tens of douleuo: describing action that occurs at successive intervals) to the principle of sin ( referring to wheel-tracks of wickedness).
What Paul describes is a battle of behavior patterns. As he grows in grace and comes to know and understand the desires of God he develops a habitual desire to obey them.
But a desire is not a decision.
Consequently, Paul becomes frustrated by the fact that although he knows what to do and has a habitual desire to do them, he finds that his body overrides this desire and he is bound by the principles of sin.
Because wheel-tracks of wickedness, or behavior patters motivated by the sinful nature, have become facilitated in the neural memory traces, Paul finds they remain as paths of least resistance that he succumbs to when temptation occurs.
The solution to this dilemma is spiritual growth. As the believer inculcates divine thought into their thinking, the Holy Spirit catalogues the information into the seven compartments of the stream of consciousness.
But the human brain is also involved, because the information cannot be processed unless it is cycled through the brain's cerebral cortex for vocabulary, syntax, and semantics.
The soul and brain coordinate in the learning process but the brain cannot keep all its data in the conscious mind simultaneously.
God the Holy Spirit uses the brain's capability to maintain memory to store doctrines in its electrochemical neural traces.
As a doctrine is repeated it becomes more familiar and easier to access and with additional information on the subject the memory trace enlarges, becomes more complex, and thus retains more information.
This enlargement of the memory trace is referred to by neurologists as facilitation.
In neurology Facilitation is defined as: The enlargement of a memory trace into a path of least resistance by means of practice, repetition, or rehearsal. In the field of leaning, memory traces are facilitated by means of conditioning, instruction, indoctrination, inculcation, review, study, and application.
When the memory trace of a certain doctrine achieves greater facilitation in a believer's brain than a competing memory trace of wickedness, the soul's renovation is advanced in that area.
As a newly established path of least resistance, the believer's behavior pattern is altered, the character is changed, and the lifestyle is adjusted so that it harmonizes with the directive will of God rather than the demands of the OSN.
This happens when principles of Bible doctrine have been retained in the thinking and as result become the principles accessed under pressure rather then those that were previously consulted and obeyed.
When wheel-tracks of righteousness become the source of application rather then wheel-tracks of wickedness the believer has brought every thought into captivity for Christ and becomes a leading combatant in the invisible war.
This is how the Grace Apparatus for Spiritual Perception takes the new believers and through consistent diligent Bible study converts them into a "good soldiers for Christ."
In our study, the "wheel-track" refers metaphorically to a way of life that is based on behavior patterns that have been carved out by repetition.
Response to the mandate to "make straight wheel-tracks" refers to the ongoing process of carving out a conscience based on God's character with emphasis on divine righteousness or norms and standards which determine right and wrong from divine revelation.
This clause also refers to the development of an inventory of ideas based on God's integrity that establishes a lifestyle that is determined by the leadership and guidance of Bible doctrine under the mentor ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
Through positive volition, the newly empowered or, in the case of reversionism, the reempowered believer begins to habitually develop a righteous lifestyle by means of repetition.
God has already constructed the "strait wheel-tracks" in which we are to move forward. Typically, wheel-tracks come in pairs, both moving forward side-by-side in a simultaneous advance toward the objective.
The left wheel-track represents the four stages of the Grace Apparatus for Spiritual Perception where the Word of God is transformed into epignosis knowledge in the soul's kardia.
The right wheel-track represents the motivation that results when this doctrine is distributed into the believer's stream of consciousness and saved in the brain's memory traces.
By moving forward in both tracks simultaneously the believer's spiritual life builds momentum. The closer the believer gets to the objective of spiritual maturity the greater the application of epignoses as wisdom.
What enables the believer to manage this constantly increasing inventory of ideas is memory.
Memory occurs when learning provides the stimulus that causes permanent changes in neural tissue.
This is the transformation process described in Romans 12:2; that results in the renovation of thought that becomes a memory trace.
The memory trace is recorded permanently into long-term memory and may be recalled to the conscious mind under the recall ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
Every learning experience plus every review, every repetition, and every application, causes the memory trace to be reprinted and enlarged. Every time a principle is repeated alterations are made in the memory trace causing it to become more and more efficient.
The more one studies a subject, the better it is understood, the easier it is to recall, and the more it becomes a part of one's lifestyle.
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