PILGRIMS AND STRANGERS
BUT NOT TO GOD
Rev. Dr. Robert E. Donaldson
Published by World Wide Web Witness Inc.
Pilgrims search for what is beyond culture, survival, nationalism, parochialism, sensationalism, experientialism, and secularism, finding this world is not enough, is an offshoot of something else, is not self-sufficient but self-deficient, a conglomerate of sores and wars, beauty and bestiality, nobility and scurrility, superficiality and false depth soundings in shimmering puddles, characterised as oceans, but unfit even for the bathing of mice. Such is the sense used here.
They do not find this world their home, and look for what is. They do not find the wonder self-creating, for it never creates, not the glory self-making, for it fails to come; and yet it beckons, and it speaks from the things that are, and yet are deformed, defaced. Many war to find something, but it is in the end merely their own power, as in China and in the former USSR, long bankrupt in spirit before in more material ways.
When a pilgrim finds the answer to the institution of what is wonderful and the feckless flack which arises to destroy, ignore, despise or devote it to destruction if possible, by cunning deceits, often by self-deception as the prelude, the creation and the desecration, then the purpose of life, the provision of life, the meaning of life and the intent for life becomes apparent. As in mathematics, when you SEE the answer, it is all so simple, the complex becomes clear, the intriguing becomes expounded and the mysterious becomes apparent. That is because what is necessary has been located, what is essential has been found past essentialisation, in reality and in truth.
Once you have found the truth, lies becomes even more ugly, fraud more a fiasco and false gleams of mere pretext and pretension, the worse in their gluttonous consumption of human lives, like an aspiring maw, wanting to gobble up, lest you find God.
Pilgrims can be misguided, but the ultimate target being sought, the finding is keeping.
Both Hebrews 11:13 and I Peter 2:11 tell us we are pilgrims and transients, We look for a city which has foundations, for a kingdom which has the king of glory, not of the gory, of splendour, not of subterfuge, of clarity not confusion, of power and inherent majesty, not force.
He is not far from any one of us. We are made for and by Him, but the entry is no mere surge of desire, far less ooze of casual self-comfort. It is by authorised access. Many things are; with God it is most splendidly so. Why splendid ? It is because we who are born without are permission, and may cease on this earth in a second, without being prepared by preceding events, find the source of such a combination of staggering vulnerability and enormous powers, insights, understandings, capacities, freedom to exercise will in many things, freedom to pursue understanding yes, and to gain it, may gain access to the reason why this is so, the reality which having all things sufficient, is able to make it so, and has so created, and have ready access.
As for pilgrims, it is nothing superficial. Nor is it impossible. It is not impossible because our Source knows us, and knows how to find us. Many do not want to be found; some are found nevertheless. We are dealing with One who knows how to deal with us. We are given a free entry into His kingdom, which is nevertheless so searching that many slither at the gate, some bolt back, others are pierced with arrows, more overcome with lethargy or dreams of the joys of being excitingly meaningless, as if the end did not count. The searching part is this: we have to remember that not only are we pilgrims, but transients, that is those who have no fixed address in this world, because they have one elsewhere.
This does not mean mere geographical address, but bondage to a psychic site, a cultural chain, a partisan participation in what holds to this earth as if it and its world system were all. We come to pass, we pass to leave a result, we rejoice in the Lord the Creator-Redeemer, and live now here, now there, in this realm or phase, but never bound to it because we are bound to our Sender, our Saviour and our Lord. Eternity is our security, and ambassadorship is our theme: we are here for a purpose, and this world is not our home. Because our base has meaning, eternity, omniscience, omnipotence and gives eternal life to those who find Him, therefore we are the stability of eternity, the security of the glory of God, expressed in the One who came so that we might go where our pilgrimage has its consummation.
We seek a better world, a better city, a better atmosphere, a higher life, a liberty from the merely temporal so that IN the temporal we may be spiritual, IN the mess we may be clean, and IN the confusion we, being made clear, may project reflected light, that others may escape the ascending maelstrom, the listless spiritual horror that makes world a mockery and a malady, like a combination criminal haunt and comedy corner, where good and bad, blindness and passion, rollicking and frolicking, extermination kits and kittens are mixed in inextricable confusion, the great made low, and the low made mighty, as the storm surges.
The Christian has found security and strength, meaning and mastery, that of Christ, government of spirit and of life, understanding and mission, true purpose and fidelity where it belongs, both to gain it from God and to give it back to Him with joy.
In such a world as this, then we are pilgrims and strangers, we have here no settled position, and while this world increasingly becomes intolerant of truth and God and Christ Jesus and the only logically valid escape route, and personal deliverance road, as it declines into multiple subversions, till the road is lower than the sea-level and ready for ultimate immersion, we live in what it lacks, for what it refuses and by Him whom it confuses with its own ways, rioting in rejection, immune to correction, except by the ruin of the deceased, the agonies of the oppressed and the taunting vaunting of the oppressors.
It will be over soon, when the eternal basis of the temporary, the everlasting reality which made anything possible and actual for nothing has nothing to provide, the All-Sufficient basis to the insufficient and the copying stone to the arch of preparation, appears in glory as He earlier appeared in the salvation which nothing can either alter or remove, though millions lay slain over the millenia, because they would not budge from beauty, or move from duty, or ditch their Maker or retreat from their Redeemer. It is a test. Why fail it!
While therefore a blind world will never understand Christ, for shut eyes cannot see (Matthews 13:15, 15:13), the condition is not irreparable, the closure is not without remedy; in fact opening the eyes is the most obvious thing that you can do with them. Then although as far as this disturbed planet is concerned, you are not bound to it, or founded by or in it, yet the very pilgrimage is an express and purposeful journey from God, for God, not without salvation and with eternal life flowing up like a fountain, its source to be met in its time, on His return in regality, to be seen in splendour, as last time in power and wonder, crucified as the world sought its own guillotine, and has found it most competently.
Therefore let us be clear: though this world cannot understand Christians who are indeed born of God, brought up in His education, not that of this world, covered with His atoning blood, fitted out for His destiny as His children, and we are as oddments, puzzles or worse, yet we have to be pilgrims through the bewildered morass, since we do not belong to it in spirit or in life, pointing rather to its source and purification plant. Every tree that is not planted by God, Christ has told us, will be pulled up (Mathew 15:13). What is the good of being planted where your destiny is to be pulled up ? Better to be planted in a heavenly soil, where heavenly growth in grace and knowledge of the Maker, becomes a prelude to eternity, not a clumsy prelude to judgment.
Not known to this world, the Christian is thus indeed known to God, and from that source, basis and in that salvation freely provided, to enable a change of state and status, indeed reconciliation with Him who made us, we proceed filled with meaning, but empty of attachment to a globe that has an end in fire as long foretold (Isaiah 51:6, II Peter 3), when the permanency of the Creator makes a new realm, no more this testing and temporary stage, where the restless writhe or connive; for here is no rest. Not in restlessness, therefore, but in realisation and entry to a rest in reality always there, readily available and graciously provided without force or coercion, we who are volunteers enable to come by grace, show a far better way and far better rest, vocation because of truth, like little moons reflecting the glorious light of the sun. OUR sun arises with "healing in His wings," tender now, triumphant always, the ultimate and only mercy, shown in the Bible, demonstrated in Christ, attested as His words are fulfilled. Here is a spiritual real estate which is freely available, an eternal investment, that carries heart.
As these themes are worked out, we find many phases and explanations, orientations amid our pilgrimage orienteering, always supplied with the Bible as basic, the Lord as dynamic and wisdom and the way for travel, the highway of holiness. It is there; but to find it, it is necessary to open the eyes, and to have them healed, which for so long have been sealed.
Christ as the light of the world is there; eyes as the means of access are there. The results of opening them teem, and in this volume, Lord willing, we shall follow some of the exposures.
Divine Importunity and Human Opportunity
ISRAEL - 10 PHASES
A Journey into Gentiles, Jewry,
Grace, Land and Terminology
Peace - At Last
In the Same Place as Always
LANDMARKS FROM ISAIAH 60-66
ROOTS AND FRUITS ? yES,
BUT DON'T FORGET TO BE PLANTED
A Journey into the
entire creation in the heavens and the earth,
placement, position, destiny,
its singular situation,
as well as
singular origin, maintenance, salvation,
significance and dependency
Ch. 6 PITY
Ch. 7 URGENCY
THE RIGHT TO BE WRONG
DOES NOT MAKE WRONG RIGHT
WHEN "NOT ... TO KNOW"
COMES TO KNOWLEDGE
Acts1:7 with Daniel 9, Luke 21 and Revelation
HUMAN CHOICE AND DIVINE SOVEREIGNTY
It is an
imperative for "pilgrims and strangers"
in the sense of Hebrews 11:13, I Peter 2:11
and in measure, in the prayer of David,
in I Chronicles 29:15,
to realise the strength and the source, the provision and the power
of their salvation, as also its wonder.
THE PLEASANT PERFUMES OF THE TRUTH
APPENDIX ON PITILESSNESS,
PROVOCATION AND CONFUSION