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THERE IS A DOOR, HIGHER THAN THE HEAVENS,
LOWER THAN THE PIT
THAT ELIMINATES FRAUD, AND IS DISCERNED BY FAITH
It is a door, I said. What else is it then ?
A gate, Fred replied.
No, for a door is distinctively qura where gate is pulh.
Where do you find these words in the New Testament ?
You can find 'door' in John 10:9, 'gate' in Luke 13:24, for example, relative to the way to the kingdom; and there is another aspect to this in Matthew 16:18, where Christ indicates to the highly movable Peter, as he showed himself to be soon enough afterwards (though he greatly improved) that His Church will be founded on the living rock (His word for that), undetached, basic to what stands on it, unlike the stone which was Peter (another word for the name). Just HOW detachable Peter was came to be shown and known as if an exercise in exegesis on petros (petros), Peter and petra (petra), living rock.
It is the latter, not the name, on which the Church of Jesus Christ is founded, for there is no other name given among men by which they must be saved (Acts 4:11ff.), but His own.
Nor is there any other
foundation than that which is given, even Jesus Christ Himself
There is NO lordly or
foundational place whatever available for ANY of the brethren,
The actual Peter, as distinct from the quasi-great model made
up, is careful,
Thus, in perfect harmony with this
Let's hear some more about this, since you are emphasising it.
The term normatively
meaning living rock,
If anything should have made
everything here clear, that should.
The term of Peter
is as it were, thrown in, a personal reference with an overtone
Nor do you do not normally
Nor may some other body
rightfully insist on some candidate
Thank you; but there is a question to be asked. How on earth does 'gate', which is our topic, come into the episode with Peter ? I see clearly that just after the announcement about the living rock which is foundational to the Church, that is, confession of the Lord Jesus as the Christ of God indeed, through the eye-opening power of the Holy Spirit, Peter began like a pope indeed.
How did he begin in this way ?
Why, by his seeking openly to dissuade Christ from being the only permissible sacrifice for sin by DEATH, almost immediately afterwards! (Matthew 16:22-23). Surely this is a petros and not a petra, a word play of profound significance and readily demonstrated both at once and a little later in its force. All that of course, I see, but ... what has a gate to do with a stone, if I may make so bold as to ask of you ? for our topic, I remind you is 'door' or 'gate'.
Why not make so bold ? making fun of an error can help to reinforce clarity; but on this occasion it is no error. The point is this. First we see what faith is. We find that SINCE it is pivotal to have faith in Christ in this spiritual and distinctive way, in Him as the once for all, unique and masterful monopoly of truth, He BEING the truth (John 14:6), in company with His Father and the Spirit of God, much follows. Thus, since this is foundational, or more precisely, since Christ as so believed and recognised and received by faith, is the foundation of the Church: then there are results.
Of course there are. How could there not be, should one proceed to build or be built on a foundation that is eternal! It is inevitable, sent for function, lively and living!
Good, I am glad you are so emphatic, not to say dramatic. It is fitting. Again, we come to the point: there is a result of being so founded, and therefore NOT confounded. One foundation is enough, so long as it is not movable, eternal, the truth, living and lovely, authorised, and the truth.
Perhaps you could, dare I say 'at last' ...
You might indeed say this, so that now perhaps one may be permitted to finish the thought. After Christ's so isolating Himself as foundation-perceived-as-such-by-faith and so confessed, the Saviour made another statement.
Of course He made another statement! do you think He would be silent after such a revelation ?
No, I do not think so. As I say, he made another statement to the effect that the GATES of hell would not prevail against this, His Church, so founded on Himself as so seen by faith, revealed from the Father by the Spirit (Matthew 16:17).
The term 'gate', I seem to remember, would be a reference to an important meeting place for counsel, as at a city ?
In such a context, yes, for here not only might those intemperately dragooned into hell, as it were, meet, or the proponents of hell, but from this source they could be conceived of as sallying forth in battalions of strength, to fulfil their hellish counsels.
I see. Why that would imply that a gate may be used of something more substantial than a door, for in John 10:9 it is a figure for the entry into the fold where Christ, I suppose, would be seen as lying to protect his sheep in some kind of enclosure, so that in effect, He would BE the door. It would be so in this, that you could not get in without His permission, except over His dead body; and since there is a resurrection, you could not get in; for that merely gave Him more obvious power, and invincibility, and left out ANY way to get in any more, as if to smuggle yourself to the fold!
Well said! You can have a gate to a city, or palace, but here in John 10:9, it is very much more intimate, a door. Christ is intimate, for He is a surgeon of the soul, the physician of the mind, the medicine of immortality (in that you can 'drink' of His blood - that is ...
Yes, I know, that is to signify 'partake of His death as a recipient who places it in the most intimate regions of his being'. It is a figure to binding it to yourself, through normal and provided means, so that it is no mere viewing of food, as it were, but reception of it for your own, your very own self in a way which no lecture can replace, no priest can provide (Hebrews 4-7) and no imitation can replace.
Correct. it is not cannibalism, but conception which is place, and the conception is not the point, but the pointer to the point, and that is -
It is that you RECEIVE Him in an intimately personal way, seeing Who and what He is, and has done, and instead of dribbling in absent-minded nibbling, you act to secure the intake of what is offered in Christ - rather as they ate the lamb.
Yes, and in that case, there were plenty of lambs, but this Lamb is One, and as He said, "What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend to where He was before ?" (6:62). Hard to engage in mastication of His body then!
Then you could not make anything more of the myth that it is actual body you eat, a disgusting figment which is obviously inadequate, in that it would be murder if practised at the last Supper, and His breaking it would be suicide, unless you think of it as suicide in the breaking, and so mere cannibalism rather than murder after that. It is really one of the most abhorrent things ever thought of, to try to do this to the normal use of imagery such as His being a DOOR, VINE, SHEPHERD.
But then, just as Himself seen by faith as the Christ with all that this signifies from the prophets from Deuteronomy 18 to Numbers 24:17, to the Psalms, such as 2, 16, 22, 31, 40, 49, 55, 69, 72, 89, 110, to Isaiah as in 2, 7, 9, 11, 22, 29, 32, 35, 40, 42, 48-55, 61 and much more in other prophets, is the crux for the door to His fold, so is He the floor, the foundation, for faith. We would not have Him trying to be floor and door in some sort of contortion...
The misuse of imagery which is quite clear in its portent is one of the disgraces that come from the very gates of hell, for this reason: that not only is it a quirkish contrivance, but a grisly misrepresentation and a ground not for faith but for confusion.
True, but as to door and gate, HE, the Christ, so believed in, is the DOOR into the kingdom of heaven, and the GATES of hell will not prevail against it. How could they when God Himself, in the Person of His own and only begotten Son is its foundation, beyond all able to cover such a case, as stronger is He who is in you, than the devil! ( I John 4:4). You see it all coheres with God on the one side, all-powerful, all-exclusive of merely human intermediaries, the authorised number being ONE (I Timothy 2), just as there is ONE High Priest, and ONE who is fitting to be leader (Hebrews 2,7), and that is DEITY
But did He not say that He was the door into His fold ?
Yes, but His fold is folded into the kingdom.
Where does it say that ? or that in substance ...
"Except your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will certainly not enter into the kingdom of heaven,"
Christ declared (Matthew 5:20).
Again, He stated this,
"But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men,
for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you suffer those who are entering, to go in."
In such cases as these, Christ is acting as Judge of their actions, of their import, purport, misuse, as the One who knows, and is appalled by these obstructions to the Door; and what it is involved, is the kingdom of heaven.
I see. Then how may we conceive the door ? Can we think of it at all as a gate ?
Yes, Luke 13:24 tells us to strive to enter in at the straight gate.
Into what ?
It means this, that you ought to make your uttermost endeavour to enter where the narrow gate is, as in Matthew 7:13, since there is a veritable highway to hell, easy indeed, but ineffectual for spiritual salvation, being rather the opposite in its direction. When you move forward, as is a current political stress, you need to have your directions check; for if you simply go on the way where you happen to be pointing, forward may indeed on the highway to hell. Directions require specification, and those who reject the truth, are certain not to find them, let alone the narrow gateway.
Into what then ? I suppose you mean the opposite of hell, and hence heaven ?
It is not at all what I mean that matters. I do not pose as a religious leader, but simply seek to show faithfully what the word of God says. Having shown what the alternative to entering this narrow gate is, in a further figure, like meeting at night the owner of a house where you seek rest, and being told by him, "I tell you, I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from me, you workers of iniquity" (Luke 13:27), one can move on. Thus it is clear that ...
Yes, that the wide and broad gateway of Matthew 7:13 stands for a movement into the vast stretches of multitudes moving with a comparative ease along a road easy to find and to follow, hell its end; whereas there is a door which being more intimate, and personal, and governed closely at the outset by the owner of the property, signifying the God of heaven, the Lord of life in this final context, admits to heaven, to its kingdom, to its site, its intimacy, its rest. Or again, there is a NARROW gate, and one that is CONFINED, not being open to mere multitudes in tempests of cultural glory, doing their various things. God is irreplaceable, and places not given by Him, are not His ... as in Galatians 1:6-9, where even Paul would become an outlaw if he were to give any other gospel!
It is as you say. Can we then try to conceive something of the very immensity of things in such terms as these biblically defined ?
I am with you in this.
Good. It is as if the door to the kingdom of heaven can be seen as a way into a defined path, difficult to commence on, sure in its stringency: it is not one rambling for the ambling but providing zest for the quest, in its delightful certainty and assured rightness.
How restful to rest where it is restful, to be at peace where it is peaceful, to find in Him, as Isaiah 11:10 foretold, that His resting place is glorious.
How could a road be a resting place ?
There is in man an entity which makes him human, and it is normally called his spirit.
Of course, you cannot move through aesthetics, metaphysics, logic, law, wonder, intelligence, reasoning, understanding, scientific method in its investigatory and confirmatory role for the things that appertain to it, poetry, music and wonder without having what moves in that cosmos, and it needs a name.
Good. Then your spirit can be at rest when your legs are moving, if not furiously, then certainly not furtively, but functionally, walking with vigour, climbing with rigour.
All right, you are rather hard in permitting drolleries this morning.
On THIS path, while a little fun does no harm, we have to ensure the main things are kept clear.
I can see this gateway, the narrow one through which you have to enter, as a massive portal, rising up to the clouds, with angels about it, as if to facilitate and watch its entrance function, and a celestial light, gentle but revealing about it, and spirits, the spirits of men, their convictions worn like clothing, the clothing of His righteousness, beaming as they enter (as in Isaiah 61:10), and a glory beyond into which, like children entering a delightful but rigorous college, they enter.
Here one finds there is a sense of peace and discipline, diligence and devotion, duty and definition, with no place whatever for the spurious enthusiasms of those who, not having gone in, have no foundation and only a sloppy, slippery slope in which, covered with mud, they enter the highway that is really a lowway, being no way, but merely something falsely named a highway, a mere routine route of relinquishment.
The door, or here perhaps we would call it the confining gate as in Matthew 7:13: yes, look at it. What dimensions it has, for all its limitation; for its limitation is not in itself, but in this, that the more limiting against wolves and other aggressors, the better; for in its openness, its action is still not open to deception. I conceive that it is well that the door is personal, for we who have been created have such a liability to what is missing, mythical, mystically corrupt, corrosive of truth and abusive of integrity, such deviousness beyond all things (Jeremiah 17:9), that we NEED a personal door.
Yes, and it is the case that such torments of evil as you have just described as readily available to man in the twisty torque of his talk, have their basis in the fact that his Maker being personal, so is he as image-bearer, able to talk and walk with Him; and man being readily misled, can yet be read like a paper, by His Maker. It is no accident that we can know and relish and verify the truth, since it is from this that we come at the dawn of our creation, dust and creative thrust, at the hand and from the heart of God.
Nor is it any mere incident that we can find and realise and delight in the truth, because we were made by it.
Made however with a liberty ...
To love or to hate, to mock at 'fate' or to live by faith.
And that, it is an option preserved by the miraculous government of God ...
All creation is miraculous in the beginning, if you define that term as meaning, What is the precise and direct work of God, not wrought by nature, but for what is either in it or to be in it.
But it is not miraculous AS it continues.
No, once the creation is made, then except He act specifically, it is merely a matter of the functioning of what has already been put there: otherwise the term would have no meaning.
The preservation of this option of the gate, it is a miracle because it was wrought, moulded, enabled before time began when the people of God were chosen.
Of course, all that God does is as chosen.
You mean, He performs all things after the counsel of His own will ?
HE means that, since it is written in Ephesians 1:11, and I follow Him.
So this selection before all time ...
It is an election.
This choice of the elect, it is wrought by the same Jesus who is the foundation of the Church.
Of course, as He said,
"All things that the Father has are mine" (John 16:15); and again, He said of the Father,
"Whatever He does, the Son does in the same manner" (John 5:19ff.).
Doesn't He also say this,
"Nor does anyone know the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him,"
Yes there is an infinite intimacy, so that Jesus could and did even say this, "Before Abraham was, I am" - not I was!
That was because "I am" is a precise signature-name of God as so famously installed in the mind of Moses, seen in Exodus 3:14. Names can have a usage before being decisively taken up distinctively and formally; but here right at the beginning of the Mosaic lead into the great covenant, that carried the beginnings in Abraham into the first of the two-stage rocket that brought us to the day of Christ, is this title "I am."
I agree, it is so. Thus the choice of the 'elect', or the exposure of the chosen ones, those to belong to the kingdom of heaven, the citizens of the place (as in Philippians 3:20ff.), is wrought within the Trinity before time began, before Christ had so willingly to sail out and be sentenced as contraband by the smugglers (as in Psalm 40, 22), who sought their own gods.
Gods, the priests ?
When what you ultimately and definitively do - as in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ - depends either on God, or not; and if on God, then it is upon Him alone, or a medley, a synthesis of what He says and what you want, or desire, or design to implement and do. If as here, it is at the very heart of things, then two gods are operative in this case: something at least in your mind, as belonging to the God who is, and something belonging most exclusively to you as fountain, foundation and impetus! Then there is for such a person more than one god - I think of it as little, because if you generalise, you leave the unique reality of the only true God, the Creator.
So it is wrought, the divine choice of the elect, before all time, with all that Christ has so accurately shown of the Father in His own revelatory Person, as the living Word of God ... as in Hebrews 1 and John 14:9. This, He in this correctly shown light, as the TRUTH, is thus true of His actions before time, and the choice was made in the same life and love as He showed when on earth!
He presented and did not misrepresent His Father!
A crucial point.
Yes, and this leads to the important fact that whatever of mercy, whatever of compassion, whatever of longing, whatever of heartfelt and deep desire Christ showed to one or to all, when on earth, this was true in the very interstices of divine foreknowledge, on which predestination is based as in Romans 8:30ff.. As He became on earth, so He was in heaven.
What then ? It is a protective election, and any exclusion is contrary to the thrust of the love of God who IS love (I John 4:7ff.), so that anything seemingly contrary to it is the protection of its purity, not lapse from its desires!
It is really simpler than some imagine then ?
Profound is the love, vast is the faithfulness, determined is the totality of grace (Ephesians 2), so that no part of the goodness - supposed, alleged, presumed, of man enters (Isaiah 64:6, Romans 10:1ff., 5:17ff.), into the absolute nature of the restoration and regeneration of the people of God, one by one. Indeed, that is WHY they may be called His children, by adoption (Ephesians 1), because by the power of His Spirit as in Titus 3:3ff., they are MADE to be so.
Unwillingly, shanghaied into the kingdom ?
Of course not. The making is not a supervening compulsion in essence, but a reconstruction. The issues should not be confused.
It IS simple in essence. Apart from all talk, or postulate, or model of the mind of man, even in an explicatory manner in order to demonstrate the entire clear cogency and consistency of the word of God: the Nature of God is love in this, that ANYTHING to the contrary is, in His motivational reality, a slander (I TIm. 2, Col. 1, John 3). Otherwise it could not be said to be love. What rejects love is not a target or topic of God, and nowhere is this made so clear as in the Bible (Psalm 109:5, Mark 10:21, Hosea 11:2, Ezekiel 20). God loved but man preferred otherwise, and what did so, constituted marshland, excluding the water (Ezekiel 47). Known to God are all these things, and wrought by His Spirit is the result.
His purpose in coming was NOT judgment but to save the world (John 3:17). He must be believed if you want to know His mind, and not your own!
In the same clear context in John as in Colossians and Timothy: it is a matter of action on the part of GOD toward MAN, the creation and the Creator of man. The motive is clear, the motivation is clear, the ingredients are clear, and the responsibility in the face of those ingredients is STATED. It lies with man.
To make the love of God more limited in outgoing pursuit is in multiple contradiction of the word of God as much as in the case of any who make it, equally contradictory to that word, a simple matter of the will of man. It is not. That also is contradicted, in John 1:12.
It is THEREFORE a matter of finding WHERE the Bible puts the action of this love in order to render definite what is then to become predestined in order as in Romans 8. It is in the category of KNOWLEDGE, divine knowledge, before our sort of time for which you have patiently to wait, or even the universe, was ever even created. With this character of love, with this sovereignty which neither needs nor requires any help from man, and with this purity which despises the presumption of sinners trying to break into His kingdom by a variety of codicils, means, self-imparted morals (Romans 10), He ELECTS (II Timothy 2:19, Romans 8:29). The closed circuit result STARTS there, and as in Matthew 11: 27ff., Christ even declared that those come into the Kingdom are trhe ones whom the Son wills, for only those whom the Son WILLSto find the knowledge of God, do so. The Trinity in this acts as ONE (John 6:65).
The love of God IS as He states; His knowledge IS as He states; the election is ON such bases, without distortion or discrimination contrary to it: it is a matter of God being without iniquity, and One stating His standards most clearly. We must listen to ALL that He says, not selectively, as debaters, wanting to move the thing this way or that. As it is, let it be; it is magnificent! Such is God, so is the Lord, and such are His ways.
What then ? In this election, another principle is to be found, since it comes out in the result, which cannot contradict what God categorically states of Himself and His desires, strong even to the point of His entire life (Ezekiel 33:11, Micah 7:19ff., John 3). It is that the RELEVANT and stated alienation factor, as KNOWN beforehand by God, indeed, since that is the arena of action noted by Him, is NOT from Himself, but from man (John 3:19). John 3:15ff. NOT ONLY states the NON-JUDGMENTAL motivation of His coming to this world, to save it, without limit, but ALSO shows the loving insistence within that, and concludes with the alternative assignment of GROUND, for exclusion. It is NOT from the God who has just finished characterising His attitude and desire, that the exclusion comes. It IS from the preference of man, foreknown and not merely foreseen, where merit is not a differential, before man or sin ever hove onto the horizon of creation.
To those foreknown, He has come with this miraculous power, to implement the ELECTION made before sin occurred, before man occurred, where differential merit THEREFORE could not apply, nor merit at all. What IS applicable is what is stated, in this precursor to creation, this knowledgeable pre-time phase: it is preference for darkness.
These things then are all biblical, and not at all a matter of opinion; and moving to the right or to the left, either to make the operational will of man in history, or of a man AS already created, the criterion, or the short-circuit or limitation in the love of God the differential factor, is alike contrary to the teaching of the word of God. WHEN this is at last realised, THEN it is seen that predestination, which in Romans 8 FOLLOWS after foreknowledge, is an insurance and assurance that the truth will rule, the love will be satisfied, and those excluded from the kingdom of God, despite the crucifixion of Christ will be those who, known to God, have PREFERRED otherwise.
HENCE liberty is assured for man in the image of God, for it is real as experienced, however distortedly within this historical sojourn, through that very sovereignty which impels, imparts and filters through love, which all through the prophets, WILL NOT FORCE, but rather would lament as Christ is noted to have done in Luke 19:42. Arminianism has a protest to make, and weaves a false doctrine. Calvinism has a system to insist on, and moves way beyond the biblical limits, into the perspective in love for that system. The Presbyterian Church of Australia is one which in its 1901 Constitution brought out the NEED to implement this additional biblical fact, to the substance of the Westminster Confession, and it has been quashed unconstitutionally in the Assembly of 1991, making the unspeakable folly of pretending that this insistence in a document called its Declaratory Statement, adds nothing to the Confession. In fact, it was statedly adding something for tender consciences, and to nullify this is to blast the wisdom of the fathers.
The wonder of the love of God is beatific, resolving all mysteries of philosophy*2, contrary to all the wisdom of man, in alliance with truth, His will, His sovereignty, His unqualified grace, and liberty. Simple ? yes, but ONLY if you follow the will of God, which like a route map, protects you from unseemly contradiction either of John 1:12 or of John 3 and Colossians 1.
Election then is a glory in which to rejoice, and the gate is always open with desire for those who might enter, just as much as it is shut in the very faces of those who, contrary to faith, seek mere self-interest or private profit for their exploits or carnal desires - as I find in II Peter 2:1-3, and seem to see in increasing ferments of horror, right now in this smitten globe.
Nothing will ever change the love of God as in John 3:15-19. It is indeed thrust out into the whole world, statedly with no desire for judgment, and that is a sovereign fact. It worked so that the world might be saved; but being rejected this love does not blench, nor become tyranny, but having resolved in wisdom what really prefers darkness, He elects and then predestinates in that biblical and logical order. It is a thing known and rendered sure before all time, a matter determined before the ready mind of the everlastingly glorious God, fulfilling both the freedom He made and the truth, depending on nothing and no one but Himself, who FOREKNOWS His own.
The door, the foundation, is He not also the window ?
No, not in the figure, for those who enter by the window, in imagery are as robbers not willing to go where it is plainly shown is the entry determined and desired, as in John 10:1. Indeed ANY other way by which they seek to climb up in order to get in is OUT OF BOUNDS. How much more do they even desire! Is it not enough that the kingdom be freely available, and backed by this soul-anointing grace of God, like a wind sweeping you to it, and has come so as a gift of grace through the smashing of His face (Isaiah 52:13ff.), almost beyond human recognition, a part of the payment for our free entry into it. They have indeed smitten the Judge on the face with a rod, a prediction of Micah 5 which came true with force, not to say violence! They want to be able to come on their own terms, where the door is not, and break in, as when John the Baptist was killed, and they sought to take the kingdom by force (Matthew 11:12).
The door, the narrow gate, it is an entry, and it enables the race to enter the raceway, where it is not tedious, but one acts as an athlete, forgiven, forged anew, formed, formed in liberty as in II Corinthians 3:17-18, moving forward in faith on the road defined by God Himself, not only as to direction, but as to quality, environment and style. And as to environment, it is Himself, the greatest and most effectual of all environments, able to transform anyone and anything, which comes to His hand as He has declared. The way is through the door, and the door is the unchanging, unchanged, unchangeable Jesus Christ, the same Yesterday, Today and For ever (Hebrews 13:8).
It is a door of grace, a gateway to glory, a gift of heaven, the entry to a haven which neither height nor depth, nor things past nor things present, things future nor the very imperious powers of hell can touch; for nothing will separate the people of the Lord from His love (Romans 8:38-39), and no believer in Jesus Christ, regenerate, is ever such EXCEPT having been predestinated to this very thing (II Timothy 1:8ff., Romans 8:30): nor will any so entering, ever come into judgment (John 5:24).
It is truly a great thing to be forgiven and at that, also given eternal life and the citizenship of the kingdom of heaven.
You know, I love the part where, BEING citizens of His heavenly kingdom, we look forward by faith to the resurrection of the body by the power WITH WHICH HE IS ABLE EVEN TO SUBDUE ALL THINGS TO HIMSELF (Philippians 3).
Because He is wise, He takes His time; because He is pure, He does not loiter, however; so that when this narrow gate and this sure path is entered, and history has teeming numbers so enter, however many refuse it, the beauty of its rigours and the discipline of its dramas, the picturesque features of its way, are as so many stations on which the train of eternal life runs.
Is this not getting a little far into the highway concept ?
No, not if you conceive it as I am doing here: for it is a train with many a corner, a bridge, through many a teeming tempest, past much that is grisly in itself, but seen in the light of the glory of God, being understood, does not deter, but rather stimulates to more decisive action yet. On this road, to revert from rolling stock, there is no menace too profound (as in I Corinthians 10:13), nor trial too great; for the Lord knows His sheep; and even where it MIGHT have seemed to be about to be so, yet He provides for just that case, a way of escape.
That is what I have found.
That, it is grace, and He, He is full of grace.
Again, trials can invest, like an army, but when you know He has all the options freely in Himself, and knows from the first what is to be to the last (Isaiah 46:8), it is not only reassuring, but you never know when you will have a Petrine experience.
That ? which one ?
Why, that of the day when with 16 soldiers like cement bags to prevent escape, and even with chains to accompany any effort by their pull and rattle, awakening any who should sleep, Peter by a divine interposition ...
You mean 'miracle' ?
It was that too: in this, that through an angel, Peter was not only evenly detached from his accompanying soldiers, made fast no doubt in view of Christ's removal from certain detention amid soldiers set up in priestly zeal to KEEP HIM THERE. It was not just that he was detached from chains of sensitivity to those on the other end of them, but he was enabled to walk free at night through gate after gate.
The gate to this kingdom is over all gates, and the prisons of this earth can never deter faith, even if they seek to kill, and go so far as to murder the body.
It is good the destiny for those who enter by this gate is not limited to this world, but has its dynamic lodgement in advance in heaven (I Peter 1:3-8), where with a certainty like that of characters in a book, we belong while for a time moving through the pages on the way.
Characters ? I like that, for as Paul is led to declare,
"And not only that, but we also glory in
knowing that tribulation produces endurance,
and endurance character, and character hope."
Yes, it is like a long swim: the more you go, the further you seem to be enabled in a set course for which you are prepared. As you endure, so it strengthens you, and this begins to enter into your very being, consolidating itself as you go from swimming lesson to lesson.
When all is done, I like the gate, for it brings with it an entry such that the entrant WILL BE SAVED, and is CONSTITUTED one of His accepted sheep, which none can snatch from His hand, from His Father's hand; and none of these will ever perish (John 10:9,27-28).
You don't have to be sheepish to be a sheep.
No, in this sense, that although being sheep, you are known by name and kept by the skill of the Shepherd, yet sheep SO kept tend to be different, intelligence freed, eyes a kindle, delightful in quietness and joyful in disposition. Herding to hell, that is another matter entirely.
Not fate but the gate!
Could not agree more.
In Isaiah 44:8, God declares that there is no other Rock. He confirms this with the statement that HE does not know any.
If therefore a pope affects to know of another rock, then that pope knows more than God: that is the challenge. However, I know whom I trust, not a sinner born without being the Saviour, whose words assault the written word of God, but the Saviour FOR sinners, than whom no other mediator is even given at all, available to man. It is a cut-off, and to write back into Holy Writ what is cut off leaves nothing but severance of all ties, as for any other rebellion. See also SMR pp. 911ff., 946ff., 1032-1088H.
See for example, Predestination and Freewill, Dizzy Dashes ... and the Brilliant Harmony of Inevitable Truth Ch. 6, Review and Overview ... Ch. 5, The Bible, Not the Declamations or Distillations of Man, but the Doctrine of Deity Ch. 6, SMR Chs. 3, 5, 10 for example; and with this, Deity and Design ..., and
LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST
WHO ANSWERS RIDDLES
AND WHERE HE IS, DARKNESS DEPARTS.