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FACING UP TO DIVINE AFFIRMATION
AT ANY COST
I Corinthians 10
LEARNING FROM HISTORY
FROM THE PERSPECTIVE
OF THE LORD OF LIBERTY
BAPTISM AND ITS RESULTS
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (II Cor. 3:17). This is because God made man free in terms of his God, life and preferences, to associate on the grounds of faith and obedience, or to dissociate on any grounds he preferred, that he could reach. He exercised the latter, and the race has been spattered and battered ever since, now in a rising tumult of non-truth corruption, which allows force to substitute for faith, and disobedience to run riot in the canons of truth, with a confused militancy, and a hatred for the God of love. Naturally there is little love left in the store, with which to love for God-forsaking man.
Paul has topics and themes to present to the Corinthian Church, and in I Cor. 10, he is requesting them to consider the nature and history of faith, where it applies to their need.
He envisages the Exodus. Under some cloud cover, the body of the people of Israel made use of the escape route divinely provided, passing through the sea freely. All were baptised, we read, into Moses, in the cloud and sea. That is, they were setting out on the way appointed by God for and through Moses, starting with the blood of a lamb on their doors, to prevent extinction of many, and so were differentiated from the Egyptians, whose eldest sons were killed, as they sought to subdue not only Israel, as perpetual slaves, but their God with a repetitive hypocrisy, as plague after plague punctuated their lying lives. It was a covenantal matter, initiated with Moses and to be confirmed at length in due course.
Despite this amazing series of multi-testable miracles, ending in their escape from the imperial Egyptian army by direct and timely intervention of God, according to His word, as episode followed episode, they lapsed. The transformed relationship and covenantal placement was through Moses, and so it was a baptism. It did not concern immersion, but the opposite, dry land. Those immersed were Egyptians, in their armed forces. Sprinkling may indeed have occurred as the tempestuous elements were so violently divided, but no immersion. That is merely one of the many things which may relate to the term, as in Hebrews 9:10ff., where it is used of the cited cases of sprinkling.
To be sure, the New Covenant involves a certain sense of dying with Christ, yet not for sins but in their condemnation, and rising with Christ, not from ever needed water, but from the power of buried beliefs and burdens, washing in wisdom. The three parallel illustrations indeed, in Romans 6, burial, planting and crucifixion, cannot be of sacramental ordinance!
In baptism, in a spiritual sense, it is always the CASE which is crucial, not the format, although it is wise to follow the biblical usage, customs and examples, as in Hebrews and Leviticus. It is as in Colossians 2:11-12, having been baptised, you are circumcised, a new format for binding in the essence of the Covenant, exhibiting a cleansing mode famous throughout Old Testament sacrifices, so that the thing then gained by circumcision is now gained by baptism, Moses in the New Covenant being replaced by Christ. That is the thrust and force of the word of God here.
Thus being baptised into Moses, as it states in I Corinthians 10:2, in this case through moving on dry land unlike the surrounding seascape, there might be a presumption that they were saved spiritually by this amazing event, so described; but I Corinthians 10:4-5, extending this to the spiritually supplied FOOD which they ate, the manna from heaven, and the Rock smitten to provide water, notes that this was far from the result. Though it foreshadows the New Testament Rock of Christ (I Corinthians 10:4), for those so participating in these events, miraculous though they were, one and all, the fact is that there was ZERO automatic, or even characteristic flow-on, in the case of MANY. IN fact, by their own faithless dalliance, nearly all missed the bus, avoided the highway of faith, and languished as desert wanderers for 40 years.
Baptism, like other ceremonies, which may be
authorised may reflect spiritual realities in one way or another, but as you see
in Isaiah 1, there is nothing so intrinsically sacred that it can escape
being DESPISED by God, if the heart, mind and faith is not present, in whatever
party to which this responsibility is referred, be it family, individual or nation, one's
own soul or the performances of the people in power. The heart changes or
Six Necessary Lessons from such things, to Learn
AVOID LUSTING FOR THINGS 10:6
A retrogressive spirit can wallow in test instead of working, complaining instead of concurring, drawn two ways instead of one, reacting instead of responding. This helps enormously if you want to be exposed, as many in Israel were, as remaining in your own throne room, as lord and master, with God let in for a helpful visit from time to time. This is NOT the role of the LORD. His love moves where hearts are moved, and sincerity does not betray itself, as lurking fraud. You love Him with all your heart, however weak, or nothing (Luke 14). Nothing is comparable.
AVOID THE SPECIAL CASE OF LUST IN IDOLATRY 10:7-8
A playful spirit had arisen, wanting to sport with divine things, choose a bit here, a piece there, courting culture, communing with this world and its feckless, reckless ways. It was displayed by ancient Israel in one of its chief falls (Numbers 14), where they simply failed to enter the promised, premised land! Vast were the results of that! Indeed, it was seen earlier, for when Moses sought the Lord in the heights, they travelled in spirit to the depths.
Let us consider that. Thus, as in Exodus 32:7, as cited in I Cor. 10:6, "the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." Deciding that Egypt (their slavery site from which they were divinely delivered) was not altogether so bad (a figure of this world ever since), they used one of that land's symbols for their mythical religion as a guide (a calf of gold), and pretended it had led them forth. This was factually untrue. In other words, their addled minds and torrential wills made a flood of folly, and they toyed with God, with the deliverance, with the divine power, with symbols, with meaning, and while acting as if a holy people, showing the opposite, no reverence, realism or even rationality. The cost mounted as their coming failure to enter led to forty years of wandering.
Just so is an increasingly popular movement in Australia, amid falling Churches and increasing sects, many soiling and playing about with other symbols, other concepts, invading the word of God with undisciplined dynamism, as if they were the authors and not the recipients of it. That is just one of the elements which led to their life of wandering, those with whom God was not well pleased, and who learned this for 40 years.
Thus the present pope of Romanism (not Roman Catholicism, for the catholicity of Christianity is not built on any one sinner or city, but on Christ as in Matthew 23:8-10), has indicated (news letter, September 11, 2013) that atheists may find a place with God (are not necessarily excluded), that it is not for him to condemn immorality in sexual perversion; but it is nevertheless to suggest that people may find God without Christ. The pope even denied absolute truth so much as exists "without any relationship," a vile assault on God before creation, limiting Him (Psalm 78:41), and as unchanged, savouring of Aristotle (Colossians 2:8). This is pliant playing with morals and sexual meaning and dire directions concerning both man and deity (as in I Tim. 1:10, I Cor. 5 and 6, Acts 4:11-12, John 14:6, I John 5:9-12), which the Bible depicts at this level: do those things unrepentant, and heaven manages to live without you! It is not then your destiny.
You can then wander as you will; but with such things God HIGHLY explicitly and categorically is not pleased. Popes can wander too, as did Aaron, but this is a debt on their personal account, not a sanction for others. Rome is the site of the harlot as in Revelation 13,17 (cf. SMR 946ff.), and this involves unfaithfulness to the singularity of the only God, and His stated ways and stipulated commandments, deflecting both from Him and the functional format of the creation HE made, which is obvious enough in this area since creation. God Himself needs nothing for completion (Isaiah 43:9ff.).
That is the third warning: DON'T DO SUCH THINGS, see what God did when they came up in the earliest days, and realise they apply to the last. Rebel if you please, mingle your communion with devils, with rebels, and ignore Paul's call for purity of purpose, but do not imagine that you have not been warned. In such things, whether sexual or doctrinal, and they often merge (cf. John 14:6), if YOU can find or bind another way to God than Jesus Christ and His word, then you are God's counsellor, exactly as Paul refused to be, as in Galatians 1. DO I PERSUADE GOD (to make His doctrine to please man), or MAN (to repent and find God where He is). If he did the former he could not be the servant of God.
This applies to one and to all who seek to supervene as if their proud CONDEMNATIONS, yes or no, were to the point. It is GOD who speaks, and we who tremble, rejoice and apply (Psalm 2:11). It is faithfulness in the fear of God, that pure and lovely fear, that reverence, that avoids and echoes what God has said; or else rebellion which for any reason, withdraws from proclaiming in teaching, or maintaining what God has said. No WONDER, in view of such things, that God has in advance repudiated any such TEACHER and master as the pope would be (Matthew 23:8-10), for there is ONE Master and the Lord alone bears the name, and there is but ONE Father. Therefore, Ignore this and fail, like Israel in the wilderness. But first this: YOU HAVE BEEN CATEGORICALLY WARNED, whether people or prelate. Don't do this!
AVOID SEXUAL PROMISCUITY 10:8
In terms of the present pope's heresies, we have already touched on this. If you wilfully disdain to teach and preach and apply the word of God (II Tim. 4:2, I Tim. 4:6), how do you differ from the false prophets of old, who ran though they were not sent! whom God deplored! (Jeremiah 23:19-24). Adultery is the promiscuous betrayal of a partner, a family, the children and the whole beauty of our construction, given with our spirits, set to complement it when faithfulness is followed. Perversity is the betrayal not only of our construction, but of the Creator who formed it as it is for a purpose. It puts our purposes ahead of His, when man or woman desires this, spurned in Romans 1, where it is a symptom of holding down the truth, as in a wrestling match.
Like the other errors, sexual promiscuity has a warning signal placed, rather like those at the cliff tops, where one may see a diagram showing a person falling to the sea, with stones following, as a result of being too casual with the cliffs! Do it, if you will, but realise that you have been warned not only in this epistle of the apostle, but in the history in which if you will not learn, you may be engulfed; and short of repentance, will be...
Why do people fear cancer and not fear the One whose skill made the uniformity, design (by any normal definition), complexity, wonders of mathematics and engineering in us, that surpass all visible entities around ? It becomes like a fixation: you can no longer think of the actual situation, being hypnotised with your lust, idolatry, preference as though this altered the specifications or the word of God. Fixations are things that need fixing; but if you will not, then the warning is yet left with you, in the strongest possible terms. Such is the expected and actual path of folly.
Fixations are things that need fixing; but if you will not, then the warning is yet left with you, in the strongest possible terms.
AVOID CASUAL TEMPTING OF GOD 10:9-10
It is not that you cannot pour out your heart to God at all times, for in fact this is the command, exhortation, invitation in Psalm 62. It is just that a nagging and discontented spirit, aroused by little things, scared of scars, reckless in desire, thankless in disregard of the great and tender mercies of God - as increasingly is the case of our own nation - does not attest faith but fidgets, immense reactions to challenges, without wisdom, as in our potentially fatal and rabid indebtedness fixtures. There is a better way than following some absurd theory meant for small adjustments, and applying it to a form of attitude to beggar the nation. Economic rupture may exhibit the spiritual!
To put yourself into the hands of your creditors may have wisdom sometimes, if limited, but to do so on the grand scale involves an estimate of human nature which it is hard to validate from history, which supplies many examples to the contrary. Bluster and fluster, in man or nation, WANT this and that inordinately and it becomes an idol readily. Israel when in the desert, wanted nice examples of pleasant food from Egypt more than the relish of coming fast to the promised land, and in the end showed an attitude which led to their rank and frank refusal to enter it. THEY did it! Thus they gained a 40 years of wandering price-tag. Many similarly are moved towards God, but have so many personal fulfilments and preferences and penchants, that they are lost in the dust storms of desire, and end not even seeing the port of entry in Jesus Christ Harbour.
AVOID STRUMPETING CONFIDENCE IN SELF,
AUTONOMOUS PSEUDO-FELLOWSHIP 10:12
Your confidence is to be built exclusively on Christ, the decisive and definitive self-definition of God, the living word of God, and so on the written word which He endorsed, He your Rock, high-tower, stronghold, defence, barrister (I John 2:1ff.), redeemer and grant of God for your salvation (Acts 4:11-12, Romans 3:23ff.). Affirmation of YOUR spiritual felicity, way, life, freedom to be yourself, exhibit yourself, is mere bravado. It is HE who keeps (II Timothy 1:9-12, John 10:27-28), and this is infinitely different from trusting in yourself, in your products or by-products. Therefore when in Him, face tests with confidence, knowing that what is too much for you, has a way of escape ready, or more power as the case may require (10:12-13).
AVOID FELLOWSHIP WITH WHAT UNITES WITH WHAT IS NOT GOD,
CEASE MIXING WITH THOSE
WHO SHARE AND BEAR WITH WHAT IS ALIEN TO HIM,
INSTEAD OF RELYING IMMENSELY, INTENSELY
ON CHRIST THE LORD
You CANNOT - within the ambit of Christ - drink the cup of blessing as in the Lord's Supper and then drink that of devils, of what is non-descript, culturally corrupt, corrosive in character relative to the Christ of the Word of God and the word of God through Christ (II Corinthians 6:11ff.). If you do so act, however, you are provoking that zealous scrutiny, that appetite for purity and truth, clarity of conscience and simplicity of obedience which God has and desires, just as ancient Israel did in so much and so often.
Are you seeking to see how much water you can let into the ship by opening channels to the ocean in its hold ? Therefore avoid what dribbles and dabbles, what drifts and causes rifts in the texture of the word of God (Romans 16:17), the way of life; or face it, you are simply in a noxious, infectious rebellion. Rejoice if you must; but as those who laugh at death, and smack the face of mercy.
The other option ? follow Christ and Him only, in all His instruments and ways, directions and integrity, and cease dealing deviously, dubiously, whether with sacramental or social, ecclesiastical or spiritual duplicity. Be honest, upright, clear-cut like granite carved in the mountains, outface tempest and be true to the form and figure of Christ, the living and bodily resurrected Christ, so that when He returns, He will not find you an unfaithful dilettante, a roving ambassador for religiosity and hypocrisy, but a good and faithful, reliable, redeemed and realistic servant, living by faith, saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8).
*1 See Department of Bible ... Vol. 5, Ch. 9, Appendix as marked. See also SMR Ch. 4, Extension.