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CALLED TO BE SAINTS -
NOT RECONDITIONED TO BE ROBOTS -
BY JESUS CHRIST
"IN RETURNING AND REST YOU SHALL BE SAVED."
WHAT IS TO TO PURCHASED
What is man ? In spirit, one who chooses, imagines, befriends, blesses, hates, curses, sacrifices for friends, buries or loves enemies ... equipped with a mind alert with a lively mentality, powers of abstraction, conception, perception, generation of perspective, variable with mood or mode, to be wholly foolish or premature, immature or soaring, in the winds blown astray, or else borne to the heights of reality. In this, his mind, man meets deception that distorts from within, or encouragement to find his source, being rendered willing, a lover, a desolator, a spiritual parallel to the chameleon; though many are rendered stable, secure and spiritual by the power of the Creator who is also the Redeemer.
Spirit then is his, whatever its proportion of grace or distortion; and mind, and body, fulfilling the physical arrangement for implementation in a world equipped with the hateful and the odious, the magnificent and the munificent, the cursed and the blessed.
There is in all this. a threefold creation. There is man as the conceiver-creator within, man the expresser without, and man the performer. He is; he is expressed; and he does accordingly as far as he is able.
WHY IT NEEDS TO BE PURCHASED
Of course he may become muddled, neurotic, psychotic, but aside from this: he is, he expresses, he does; he considers, he conceives, he executes. .
God the trinity, is, expresses and acts; there is the Father, the Son (called also the Word) and the Spirit who is seen as early as in Genesis, brooding over the waters, just as He broods in one sense over man, convicting, convincing, encouraging, enabling, mortifying or strengthening (cf. John 16, Titus 2-3, Ephesians 3:16).
To be sure, man is one, and yet within that one are such functions as noted above, in their salient features shown in being, expressing and performing.
Any who objects to man being what he is, is in a sense a kind of conceptual suicide, eating away in his lost perspective even at what he is.
Any who objects to God being who He is, expressed not in words only but in a Person who represents His Person, with much wrought through that third Person who applies and implements, is not objecting to an anomaly, therefore, but rather BY objecting in this way, renders himself an anomaly. He becomes blind to what he is, and the Uncreated Prototype, the Prelude in Eternity; for without God always there, there is nowhere for Him to come from, and without eternal adequacy, there is nowhere from which to receive increments of being, so that Adequate Eternity, the All Sufficient God. It is He who praeternaturally possesses that penetration of reality by expression and execution of expression in spiritual power, who lives forever and exhibits Himself as the Trinity. He word expresses Himself, and it verifies itself done as we ponder first His word to man, the only authorised one, the Bible, and then the confluent streams of history. They match like twins of the most complete kind.
This glorious Trinity is not a system, though many things work in a way which is not called systematic largely because that implies an artificer who imposed the system; while it is of Him whose eternal being enabled anything ever to be, that we speak. There is however an internal infinite intimacy in all of this, within the Trinity, which is fundamentally one, operationally three and in the realm of the Almighty, exhibits mutual involvement perfect in function, glorious in power and of the utmost singularity in eternity.
Man is less, infinitely less; for what does not attain to infinity is incomparably less. Yet he is categorically more than all that is not personal, cogitational, equipped with the wings of aspiration, the avenues of nobility, the awareness of eternity, the configurations of conception, logically limpid, soaringly constructive, religiously receptive, and in short, created in the functional font which makes fellowship with the Eternal One, the Creator of all, meaningful, directly relational and personal.
A moment's thought shows that this proclivity of man leads to wonders of the beauty of holiness when the avenue to fellowship is travelled by the spirit of man, and the undimmed light of the Lord, unscurfed by sin, fills the spirit of man; yet that if this function be made largely dysfunctional, and this essential liberty be abused, or its remedy confused or refused, then horrid are the passions misplaced, substitutes for reality, which by the very nobility of his creation, can turn man into very prodigies of unwholesome horror. Thus readily is the beauty turned to refuse ready for burning, and without too much labour, that which might be holy appears rather in the format of raving lunatics, fed on pride, towering in hatred, pseudo-sublime gods without glory, sinners without shame, molesters of the other creation and his own fellows.
A measured look at history merely confirms it; and the increasing lunacy of our times mirrors what God has foretold (as in Romans 1 systematically as a history backed prognosis, for such settlement in sin as belongs to mankind). Thus now, the limited (if vast) resources of this earth are with growing wantonness treated as by a drunken ogre, drunk in his castle, while the beauties of holiness derivable from the knowledge of God are mocked. Indeed, they are clumsily mimicked with deceptions that mislead those who are exploited (as predicted in II Peter 2), till the very name of religion becomes engrossed in the statistical norm which bears witness to a sunken civilisation, like that of Sodom, or that of Noah, which having first sunk spiritually, then sank in body also, which modern man in masses is too harrowed to see, to guileful to admit, too adamant to acknowledge or too fearful to consider, or indeed with many, his state becomes a mixture in different degrees of all such things. Thus bound, he becomes blind; thus blinded, he becomes dangerous to himself and his continuity on this earth, like those who, continually hardening the neck, are broken without remedy. Indeed, unless the Lord should return, as He stated in Matthew 24, mankind would no more be ABLE to live on this planet!
All this, in no mean measure, in kind resembles the position of ancient Israel as exposed by God in such passages as Ezekiel 14, Jeremiah 23, Isaiah 1, Amos 5.
To what then does it lead, this demolition of the design conferred by deity, as man exalts himself in the liberties of limited self-determination as if he were some god, and these misused slides to the very brink of hell ? It leads to the varied agonies and angers of anguish in many, in many to despair, these being depressed, to the pathology of hatred and the inane detestation of divine remedy. It moves on to the avoidance of spiritual and sublime reconstruction at the hand of that spiritual remaker, Almighty God, preferring imagination and imagery to remedy for the impediment to sin and self-will to the explosion of beauty in the new creation which finds holiness from "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). It prefers the symptoms of disease and the approach of spiritual decease, albeit in eternal shame, to the life eternal from the everlasting God. It moves to symbols, not to spirituality, to securing sin, not to release.
This is like making an image of your doctor as a clown or criminal, and then seeking help from someone of such a variety, whom you concussedly confuse with reality, to your doom. It is with God that man must deal, and there is only One (cf. Isaiah 44-46); it is His redemption that he must receive, and there is only that paid for by the Proprietor which is available, being by nature a gift past the value of man, for His aid and relief! Such are the issues of rebellion.
IN WHAT MANNER MANY ARE PURCHASED
Yet serene in spirituality, glorious in holiness is God (cfr. Exodus 15), without the needs of delimited, defined, and in some things, determined beings like man. It is He who is loving in helpfulness to what has become debased, since His own needs are nil and His purpose is to give; for He provides necessary grace and effectual help, offering to all and supplying to many that elevation of fellowship which by contrast with the denaturing of holiness with which man has become so enamoured, puts paid to obscuration, profanation and abuse. So He saves some from their bedevilment, their lairs, their rebellion and their spiritual syndromes.
The plan of salvation has had to be revealed from the first, for man scarcely lasted a day on this earth, with such power of self-elevation, self-misdeployment and self-deception, without fatally abusing it. Indeed, he proved easy prey for the abuse and grievous engulfment of his being. This was wrought as sin of sallow shallowness and feckless fancy, debasing design and exploiting his substantial issue of liberty, led him to the desolations of the devil. Thus man called for, and obtained the ogre of death, first of spirit and then of body. He had been promised it, and the promises of God do not fail. What also however did not fail was the love of God to which we now come anew.
That is seen in the glorious protevangelion of Genesis 3:15, which like its culmination in John 3:16 (numerically similar, but one up), spiritually exhibits the entire infinitude of the love of God, just as it expresses that deepest of concerns of love, through the priceless and practical power of remedy. It is this which God foretold He would supply, just as He now supplies it in constant availability. Thus in continuity for our Age, is met the need, through the ONE ACT, at its beginning, of Him who came when it was due (Galatians 4:4, Daniel 9:24-27, Highway of Holiness Ch. 4), to do what He had to do (cf. SMR Ch. 9), as God the Word, to accomplish it (Luke 9:30); and He knowing His own, thus and then He died for and covered them, each one, breaching death as a child breaches the womb, delivering forever from its power those so helped and remedies.
Thus has He done, the Lord Jesus Christ, focus of prophecy, criterion of history, what was needed to deliver from the misused liberty which bears the name of sin, along with its correlatives and consequences,
There, in the Eternal God, there are no limits in, by, with or through time, and there is no dimming of the perceptions and conceptions that relate to time, just as there is no 'given' for wisdom, or barrier to knowledge, what to the point is found ? There is in Him, the Author of all, Founder of Creation, Redeemer for man, the entire wisdom concerning all that should transpire, in, for and through the creation; just as there is and was a complete understanding of the remedy needed. Creation could not flutter and resound into being, before He whose it is, who works all things after the counsel of His own will, held all in mind, including the very names of His saints to be (Ephesians 1:4, Romans 8:29ff., Jeremiah 1).
To what then is it addressed, this remedy ? Why ? It is for the misuse of this outstanding feature given at the first to man, namely of resolution of mind, determination of spirit, allocations of liberty.
The input is remarkable as the Giver is unbounded in wisdom. For a man in himself, of diseased spirit, infiltrated mind (cf. Ephesians 4:17ff., 2:1-12), an agent for alienation, a victim of vice, in a civilisation of mistaken gods, whether material in conception, or spiritual, or mental, there is the prima facie impossible challenge. How can you liberate liberty from the clutches of misconception, and will from the burden of blindness to the light of life without force, without spoiling the very thing you seek to liberate, namely, man in the image of God, a being equipped by construction for fellowship with God, though through sin, in the very vehicle for relationship, stricken and spoiled, like the stunned body of one in a fearful accident. Will you free bound when his very nature and spirit, will and hope is ground down to earthiness, or exalted to effervescent inanities ?
Once man had fallen in the lore of sin, there was only one way, but it involved, as befits the Almighty, prodigious depth, incessant nobility, superb sacrifice and the very demonstration (as a good bridge over the seas demonstrates ability and understanding of its kind) of love (as in Romans 5:1-12). It was this. Someone would, like Noah, "find grace" in the sight of the Lord. The eyes would be opened. Yet how is then liberty and the very meaning of man to be preserved ? It is by knowledge. Whose ? that of God as in Romans 8:30. That it is that is written.
Knowing naturally the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10,and hence able to declare it), and the heart beyond its pallid disproportion, comprehending in its entirety, the result of sin which disenables truth, God moves AS He knows. Thus it is written, "Those whom He foreknew, He predestinated" (Romans 8:30). He did not foreknow what was not there, an impenetrable mystique; for what is to be called impenetrable to God! Indeed, He protests (Jeremiah 17:9-10) that the heart of man is so desperately wicked that ONLY HE COULD understand it. Indeed, we have endless seeming psychological theories in competition BECAUSE the heart of man is not to be understood apart from God.
A second reason for this myriad of psychological theories is that such shafts of light as still, from time to time, penetrate the spiritual understanding of man tend to be so distorted by the enveloping darkness, that even these also tend to be distorted, so that foolish extremes without wisdom seek to envelop - just like woman's fashion movements at the hand of rich designers - the mind of man. Philosophies and psychologies abound like the fumes of a volcano, often with the same intensity and acrid acididty.
WHO IS PURCHASED
While philosophy should be the love of wisdom, it becomes the love of folly as a result; and while the realities may indeed be perceived by man, when the fog lifts and the deceit is disposed of, as in redemption and revelation, yet it is only by the operation of regeneration, by which a renewed heart, no more under the erratic sovereignty of sin, comes into being. Cults maximise the confusion and false gods fall over themselves as they seek to brand, or more directly, as the opponent of creations endeavour to brand man, in this philosophic paddock and that. Alas, it is grievous, and resembles in no small way, cattle organised for the market. Indeed, it is as in II Peter 2 in its predictions of some false teachers, like false prophets of old, making merchandise of men. While therefore the fortunes which some false prophets have made, and the nations into which others have brought subjugation amid horrid misuse of man, are notorious, this is merely one ghastly part of the entire syndrome of sin.
Overwhelming to some as these philosophically, psychologically or politically induced syndromes may be, and are, yet they are as gems for clarity, to the all-knowing mind of God, who made all, and understands its ways. As He knows, so He acts, and as He foreknew, so He justifies and glorifies many (Romans 8:29ff.).
God thus selects for Himself, whom He will regenerate; nor is it that there is no evidence of His movement by His Spirit in the heart of those who He awakens; for there may be a vast introduction in anguish of heart and perception of mind, as the attestations of the eternal designs of deity (cf. Ephesians 1:4) exhibit themselves, and what had been resolved before creation as much as began, is perceived and entered into, so that a man is saved from sin. This, it is wrought not only through God Himself (as foretold in Hosea 13:14) becoming the destruction the just judgment of death, and ransom to give eternal life, for foiled life ditched in sin, but also through His effecting this resolve and securing this result by partaking of manhood in the Person of His Word, whom He begot in flesh as the Son of God (note the 'therefore' in Luke 1:35).
Thus the Father desired, the Son offered and the Spirit applied (cf. Psalm 40, Hosea 13:14, John 16:5ff.).
Moreover, it is not only through this that He has prevailed, but also by His attestation of the result in the bodily resurrection of Christ, not in a disjunction from the flesh, but in its enablement (as in Luke 24), so that the enquiring might poke it (as in John 20) and it might distribute food to the hungry (as in John 20) or eat it (as in Luke 24:42); but yet for all that, this, His resurrected body was not limited by such modalities (Luke 24:31). What utter brilliance was placed in the creation of man (as DNA analysis increasingly attests*1)! What parallel magnificence is shown in the restoration of just that very body (yet without sin - I Peter 2) which is man's, so that in Him is the perfect, final and climacteric victor. His is that over the grave, leaving liberty its life and love its procurement.
Man because of sin finds of all things the most difficult, to believe the truth, and so wants to remake the actualities of history and the events of the eyes and ears, the attestations of evidence, both in prophetic fulfilment and its observation, either in this extreme eccentricity of fraud or that, as if reality alone is despised! In this, the race as it is has a catastrophic intolerance of spiritual truth, and even its physical correlatives, and in its stress becomes so at variance with the other features and foci of science in particular, that it provides a high reading on the gauge of his spiritual pathology, just as in other things, in Christ's own day (Matthew 15:13ff.).
Man sways and is stricken, as by fever or ague, with this erratic onslaught. Yet, in the realm of the scientific, while in terms of scientific method, this vagrancy from both the method and the truth does not alter anything, other than the good name of those who indulge in it (cf. SMR pp.140ff., Secular Myths and Sacred Truth), there is an entailment for those who follow.
The inner entanglements of those misled by such as serve not science but scientism, become painful, often exploding into the realms of a Marx or a Hitler, with the underlying assumption of power without glory, and force without understanding, in a world without any truth even available, on its own model, while its shadow is shouted!! Alas science like the other occupations of man has the double attestation of some who see and many who do not because they will not, because in their obdurate spiritual condition, they cannot (cf. Matthew 13:15ff.).
Hence, and similarly, in another domain, an entire Church, for example that named the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, can fall as one, or almost one, as in 1966, when one had the privilege of being the only recorded dissident from the intoxicated Resurrection Statement made in the Church Assembly of that year, and suffered for it. The nature of that became apparent when the Session lost its majority and my name was given the normal outage reserved for truth as man falls not only once, into sin, but twice, in moving first into sin, and then away from the testimony of salvation, a double descent of inflammatory folly.
It happens over time in many ways, whether in the Romanist Inquisition of several centuries (cf. Ancient Words and Modern Events Ch. 14), the Communist caricature of Christianity of 1917-1990, with various hybrids as in China operating in sanctimonious affiliation of opposites that are most oppressive to man, or in the major follies of our own Age, which tend, as if in a spiritual supermarket, to be a matter of choice of vice and occasion for diversified folly (as foretold in II Peter 2, II Timothy 3-4, II Thessalonians 2, Matthew 24:12,24).
God however, having foreknown His own, and discerned those who, though blind in themselves, are not made obscure to Him who sees past sin to those with whom in profound mercy, incandescent grace and illimitable love He has to do (as in Colossians 1:19ff., II Peter 3:9, I Timothy 3:19, John 3:16-17)*2, is not here or in anything else, at a loss. Neither defiling that liberty without which love can have no meaning, nor submitting to that tyranny which by its very distorting nature sin claims its victims, He performs in history*3 what He knew and foreknew before creation was (Ephesians 1:4, Romans 8:29ff.), and SO liberates many.
|It is not for all, that He becomes the
though its purposive intent is as wide as that in the illimitability of love (I John 2);
for He foreknows His own and hence is aware of what is not so.
|The offer is to
all as in the national sacrifice for Israel, but the reality is
for some only
(as in Deuteronomy 29:18-20 cf. Psalm 32). Hence those for whom, not only in offer
but in actuality He is delivered up, it is these who inherit ALL THINGS!
and yes, that includes heaven, there being no omission of infinitude of relevance and value!
|While therefore God is liberality to the uttermost in the disposition of
His love (as Wesley rightly saw),
He is not confused into covering the uncoverable or bearing the sin of those who prefer to keep it,
as He makes so eminently clear in John 8:24.
they did not BELIEVE that He, Jesus Christ, was God incarnate (John 8:58),
the Messiah of the majesty and wisdom of God,
then as to their sins, retaining them unpurged,
unextracted, in sovereign implantation in their hearts,
they would carry them intact to their death beds.
Such was and is His own word.
God does NOT force, and love REQUIRES liberty which God preserves in this delightful depth of divine dealing, in this manner. Nor is He unreasonable in His love, for it is no impure and selfish passion on the part of Him whose grace is to give, having all, and thus did He speak to some of the Jews in His days, saying:
"If I had not come and spoken to them they would
have no sin,
but now they have no excuse for their sin.
He who hates Me hates My Father also.
If I had not done among them the works which no one else did,
they would have no sin;
but now they have seen and also hated both me and My Father."
The topic was exclusion in eternity, or acceptance. To 'hate', as in Luke 15:26, in such contexts, implies simply to exclude from truth, to delete from credence, this Jesus Christ who, being in the form of God and having become man (Philippians 2), if rejected, attests as in a laboratory experiment - this the laboratory of history - an eternal dissidence in those who do so. It then represents a departure from that God who is love, in essence and finality, and a movement into the realm that is left, that of exclusion of truth in hatred of it, insusceptibility to it, divorce from it, disparagement of its dignity and defacement in the mind and heart of its reality, on which all is based: in God who made us.
Thus as to mankind, and from among man, there are those called to be saints, and residual are those left to be ruled by sin, whether that of pride in one's fundamental integrity or works or personage or other, or admission of one's fundamental failure, indifferently; for all sin is one in this, that it is unable to dissemble before the God of truth, who like a good dentist, requires the extraction of the abscess: nor does He give any permission for the pollution of all life through such means. What liberality of love and depth of wisdom is here*4, that God knows whom to purchase, how to purchase and preserving liberty, show love! What wonder of communication that He so affirms for so long and in so many ways, as in Hosea 13:14, Genesis 3:15, Matthew 20:28, Titus 2:14 - 3:7, Romans 5:1-20, and back earlier again, in the symbols of Leviticus 4-17, in the sentences and sentence of Isaiah 22, 32, 49-55, as in the lived allegory of Hosea 1-3, where in the end there is redemption, as in the teaching of Galatians 3.
For my part, I love to be purchased if, and only if (the IFF of the mathematician) the One who does it is my Maker: for this I would neither desire nor trust anyone else! In this case however I find it an inestimable privilege, an unalloyed joy and an exercise of sovereignty delicious to consider; for my errors are not such that some other source of error is my deliverer, nor that any such could deliver me, but such is my Maker, that I relish HIS redemption, HIS work by which in grace alone by mercy without alloy, in the inveterate but pure love which does not force, He has acted. Thus becoming not only Creator but Redeemer, and knowing all and indeed seeking all, all that which was lost, as in Colossians 1:19ff., He has found and finds to this day the recipients foreknown before sin was, in His prescient mind, not as they became, but as He has seen them, gathered them and blessed them.
As these respond, it is not a shanghai, but a fulfilment of what He has known and as such, it penetrates what sin would render impenetrable, and moves into what is justly made receptive, however deceptive might be its current pathological state. Glory be to God who made freeom, thus preserves it and hold man justly responsible for knowing rejection, because of love not judging en masse, but with knowledge as in John 15.
But what then ? Since it is the King of Eternity and the Eternal Redeemer who so acts, therefore I am at peace,, at rest in Him. It is because I trust Him, who knows, and know Him whom I trust (John 17:1-3). Since He acts in love, genuine and not a parallel to the robotic in its exercise, I am amazed at His depth and wisdom, as supremely comforted that He is like that, whom to know Him is eternal life. To know Him ? you cannot do this, without having that very same eternal life (cf. John 17:1-3). In this, there is no shadow as in His love, no blemish, and in His salvation, the resolution of all problems, the glorious resources of heaven reaching to the uttermost without exception or exclusion in the end and in His sight, except in this, that LIGHT has COME into the world, and many have PREFERRED DARKNESS. So He says, and so it is (John 3:15-19,36).
Called to be saints! rejoice, and come.l
Gratitude for His Glorious Grace Ch. 4 ,
Evidence and Reality ... 3, 1497,
Mini-Messages with Maxi-Point Ch. 6 (Alex WIlliams),
Waiting for Wonder Appendix, Helpless Hitches ... and Holiness Ch. 4,
Jesus Christ, Defaced, Unfazed: Barrister of Bliss Ch. 4.
See, for example:
The Glow of Predestinative Power ... Ch. 4, 5,
9 (cutting out good to indulge evil is not a pleasing pastime:
it is not garbage by creation but garbage by sin,
and God knows how to extradite garbage by grace,
predestining not what is unknown,
but what is known - Romans 8:29ff., by grace alone - Ephesians 2:1-10: the purity of grace), ;
The Christian Pilgrimage Ch. 3,
Christ's Ineffable Peace ... Ch. 2 (extensive), 3,
Massifs of Pure Splendour Ch. 7, Jesus Christ Defaced ... Ch. 2;
Gratitude for His Glorious Grace Ch. 2
Outrageous Outages ... and the Courage of Christ Ch. 9;
The Majestic Might of the Merciful Messiah Ch. 5 (the extensive attestations in the Bible, of the love of God for the lost, without attenuation of heart), with
Anguish, Ecstasy and the Mastery of the Messiah,
Chs. 8, 9);
Great Execrations ... Greater Grace Chs. 7, 9.
Dizzy Dashes, Heady Clashes and the Brilliant Harmony of Inevitable Truth Ch. 6, esp. *3
The Christian Pilgrimage Ch. 3,
Celestial Harmony for the Terrestrial Host Ch. 2,
Deity and Design ... Ch. 10
See also with special reference to the reality of the love, its purity, sincerity, that God is love, removing errors of Calvin and Clark:
A Time to Praise God, Appendix 1, with
Message ... Ch. 9,
Marvels of Predestination ... Ch. 4, Ch. 6, Supplement 6,
The Spiritual Sagacity of Predestination in Love Ch. 4,
The Pride of Life ... Ch. 7,
Dizzy Dashes, Heady Clashes and the Brilliant Harmony of Inevitable Truth Ch. 6, esp. *3
A further Useful Grouping on Love, Predestination, the Bible and the Beliefs from the Word of God to the Mind of Faith ...
Jesus Christ Defaced ... Ch. 2;
Let God be God Ch. 7 esp..
The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 3,
Christ Incomparable, Lord Indomitable Ch. 9, and Epilogue,
GGG 2, MAJESTY 5 (the extensive attestations in the Bible, of the love of God for the lost, without attenuation of heart), with Anguish, Ecstasy and the Mastery of the Messiah,
Chs. 8, 9).
The actual manner in which man in history experiences this chaste but glorious work of divine grace varies according to the case, and the divine intention, to mark it as He will. Some may become extraordinarily aware of the divine probing operation, of that aspect, some more of the response which the Lord has supervised and achieved in personal reality, based on what was wrought before indeed, but with principles of man's actual response far from irrelevant, and this now translated into the working in time. Again, there may be an intense and extreme sense of rescue, not only as a fact, or even a highly dramatic fact, but with an additive of immense fear and seeming irreparable lostness, which again would mirror in principle the actual fact, as one of the relevant data which the Lord has allowed to escape from the shroud of His personal operations into the psychic turmoil of the one being saved.
A LIVELY LIBERTY and the LOVING GOD
Thus is liberty validated for man in one
successively molested and distorted,
successfully inspected and realised,
sovereignly divine schema:
so that God alone, having the relevant powers, can exercise in man the reality to which the term applies.
Liberty is not to be found in a visionary but bloody revolution in France, an imposition in anti-visionary Russia, or a series of dicta from the United Nations, which as per card, rage against the Lord (cf. Psalm 2). It is not to be found, either, in lifting the face of man to infinity and proudly specifying his own glory, power or positioning.
Liberty is logically available in one way only: in GOD having made persons, not programs; and since man fell into harnesses through folly, it is found in the LORD, the second Person of the Trinity untying those harnesses and restoring not only the vision, but the knowledge of God (as in Romans 1 with 5 and 8).
It is found in His doing so, not by manipulating the sin-stricken partialities of fallen man, but by using His OWN INFINITE KNOWLEDGE (as in Romans 8:30ff.) of man, before time apparent to His supra-temporal mind, so that predestining according to truth, He sovereignly achieves what He wisely knows. Thus, equipped with the knowledge of man from eternity, He secures what man cannot, yet for man He does it; and this done, He may indeed find hatred for what excludes this love, as He pursues the realities of predestination founded on foreknowledge, precisely as in His own word (cf. Romans 9).
In this way only, by the power and wisdom of God, is it possible for man to have freedom, to love without robotic surrealism, so that he is indeed responsible for his relationship to God, for negating it.
On the one hand (as in John 3:19), such negation is in the very face of the love of that God who did not come to condemn the world, but to save it (as also in I John 2, Colossians 1:19ff.), yet did not save by aborting the purity of His love. Instead. He selectively saved in realism, with sorrow and grief profound, fulfilling His knowledge according to truth. On the other, it is in the eyes of God whose infinite wisdom discerns all, that truth is told, and the reality of man's responsibility as an image-bearer of God so far from being lost, is measured and rendered sure; for God does not redeem some other type of being, but what He made, according to what it is and all that pertains to that! It is for this reason that the word of God to man, so often bears some resemblance to that of a father to a child.
Gone is the secular vanity, based on an unrealistic and self-contradictory model (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 7, Christ Incomparable ... Ch. 2, Barbs ... 6 -7), which cannot escape the 'self' to GIVE it freedom. Gone equally is the Calvinistic horrible decree, the decretum horribile, always an intrusion and inversion of such texts as Colossians 1:19ff., Luke 19:422ff.*1, although his five points, read outside that error, in the configuration which the Bible provides, are true enough! Gone, on the other hand, is the Arminian revolt which puts the unsaved sinner in the seat of knowledge with which to choose despite I Corinthians 2:14, so appearing to make what is defunct efficient. Gone is the apparent irresponsibility of man held nevertheless responsible (as in John 3:19), since the love of God as stated encompasses ALL in the most massive emphasis possible (as in Colossians 1:19ff.), and in vast correlation throughout the word of God (as in the references and expositions of *1 above).
Present now is only what is written. It is indeed the case that if CHRIST had not COME amongst them and done and said what none other had done, they would not in the relevant category of judgment concerning eternal life, have had SIN (John 15:22ff.). THAT, had He been absent and not present as He was, with them, would have been no final judgment for them. It was ONLY in the direct realities of meeting them and being rejected, He God, that the final condemnation loomed, not for being sinners, but for being sinners who rejected the ONLY salvation, and that one infinitely costly to God at that! If He does not meet, then in whatever manner this principle is performed before time in the Author's mind, is His affair. It is neither difficult to envisage nor possible to be dogmatic, as to the precise divine mode in eternity.
The Lord tests all, directly or in parallel propriety to fulfil His own stated principle, and for Him, this is scarcely difficult; and when final judgment sits, it is not in ignorance THEREFORE, that it rests, but in the equivalent of rejection in all truth, as known to God on the part of the reprobate. It is perhaps a residue of that combination of arrogance and puny pride that has come from an earlier Age of humanistic exaltation, that some seem to want to place God down with the kindergarten while they themselves survey things in massive splendour; instead of realising the truth, that the very nature of any marvel or majesty comes from Him. Thus, achieving results of grandeur, such as knowing all before any came, is the beginning in the realms of infinite deity, of man's own kindergarten progress, from then to now and on, great as it may be in his own sight, compared with that of the Lord.
How God realises in Himself this principle in foreknowledge is His business, but there is no systematic or sustainable 'problem' in that masterful massif of might and wisdom. THAT this is the character of His love, which MUST not be defamed, far less infamously restricted, as if His sovereignty MEANT its denial, is scripturally and multiply assured, just as is the sublime and loving sovereignty deployed in the execution of this His love.
It is indeed true that you cannot have liberty of spirit without God, for ONLY HE can make it in the first event, just as only He can restore or sustain it. Nor can you righdtly devise spiritual systems in which His love is needlessly defiled because of an imaginary conflict with His sovereignty. On the contrary, it is BECAUSE of His sovereignty and all-surpassing competence that that God who IS love (how often must mankind be reminded of this glory, in or out of theologies of the imagination - I John 4:7ff.), realises it in man, NONE being lost of His chosen: His choice being in the sanctity and chastity of love. This, seeking all, manipulates none; but fulfilling that grant of being created in his image, made so marvellously for man at the first, it finds what liberty is where man resides. Moreover, it ensures that liberty is neither mulled, nor mangled, nor lost, nor dictated to, but rather found.
FOUND! it is found infallibly for each and every one of this race, through His foreknowledge and His predestination, not in the wisps of chance, or of arbitrary wilfulness, but in the work of His own mind which, knowing all, is as loving to all in redemption as truth allows; for love never invades, never forces, never deviates from truth, nor enmembers what is mere appearance .Indeed, it is alien to all ravishment, and though it grieve as God so often has shown, yet it does not stage a take-over, rather enabling the blessed fulfilment of what the divine knowledge of truth from the first has discerned and known: and it is His own that He has known, and not one of them is lost.
Nor is there merit in the exercise of that liberty which God first invented for man, as He created Him in His own image, non-robotic and discursive in thought and will; for it is GOD who made man and not himself (as in Psalm 100!), and what He made has no merit in functioning accordingly; and where in the sublimity of divine knowledge, God's own wisdom, there is no diminution of sight through sin, God sees, yes He is aware of man's heart, and He does not transgress (impossible as that would be since He IS love) because of desire, but rather abides in truth. How often has He acted and would He have acted, but despite His desire, they were not willing (Ezekiel 20, Psalm 107, Luke 19:42ff., Matthew 23:37ff., II Chronicles 36, Hosea 7:1, Jeremiah 51:9 with 51:28ff.).
That is the biblical testimony in history, in principle, and in direct statement from the Bible. It is consistent, coherent, self-explanatory, and not too hard, once it is realised that God is not man, though we be in His image, and is not limited as we are, unless saved, by psychic moment by moment events, but rather sees as the eagle, as the space ship in time, so time from eternity, both in detail and as one whole, both in precise point and in abiding principle, both as an arena for action as desired, and as a plant for its own growth, that truth be exhibited, that all may see and know.
What then of those to be lost ? Despite His uttermost desire, so it is; for desire is not sovereign over God, even good desire; and it is He who knows what man is, that this is not rescinded because of sin, but realised because of the knowledge of that sovereign who being love is NOT mere desire, nor yet force, but chaste in holiness, achieves all that love would. Thus does He give to man the realisation that deity is not mere dominion, but in Him is there such beauty of holiness that it smites the spirit with an overwhelming flood of beauty, and is the very heart's desire. Such is goodness and such are His ways.
Therefore, so far from predestination being an excuse for too little concern for others, or for a measure of protestation about one's not being able, it is the certainty, the security and the certainty that ONE IS ENTIRELY PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE if one declines the offer of the Gospel. That this offer be put to man is a matter of horror at judgment and delight in deliverance of those who, after all, though they may be lost, and this be foreknown, yet are and have been loved in that heart which IS love, before left in that knowledge where truth abides.
How glorious is this fact, that what neither in understanding
in the realms of freedom and
necessity, truth and reality,
this God conquers.
The victory is His: for it is ONLY in what and who He is, that the ingredients which explain COULD be found, since these are altogether requisite to cover such a case as this without confusion and failure, in principle. It is still further to the glory of God that what only HE, such as He is, COULD solve the riddle of reality, so He DOES solve it.
It is not just a model; it is a revelation of detailed action and knowledge which in fact GIVES precisely what meets the case, explaining all logically so that there is no clash or inadequacy. What is thirdly to His great glory is this: that not only are these great things so, but they are what is to be expected of the Creator, that HE knows what He has done and how He deals, so that THEREFORE HIS WORD contains the resolution, and this alone on the earth. What scimps His word, as Calvin in the love for those ultimately lost; or what expands it, as Arminianism in the place of man's current operational will (contrary to John 1:1-12), even this measure of departure from His word solves nothing, but merely fails to meet ALL the criteria of His word.
His word is precise; and if space-craft need to be surrendered to specifications, not rashly amended by desire, and these merely find the moon, how much more must the word of God be adhered to in its specifications, on the part of Him who not merely has the moon in His power and at His creation, but the whole universe as a product!
WHEN to that word NOTHING is added, NOTHING subtracted, then and then only is reason regaled by revelation, while revelation is massively vindicated in the very precision and purity of its utterance. Glory be to God who first made us, then redeemed and in His foreknowing, predestining way, not dependent on our fallen natures or fussy works at all, but on His own intimate knowledge, has achieved what love would.
Such is that Bible (cf. SMR), and such is our God; such is our Saviour and so is our Redeemer, who know Him. Rejoice greatly therefore daughter of Zion, literal where saved in Him, or metaphorical where Gentile; for your Lord is coming (Acts 1, I Corinthians 15), and if man can make it a few hundred thousand miles to the moon, fear not, HE can make it to each of His own, as His angels gather when the time comes, God's people from this world, to the congregation of the resurrected, for the completion of their test in rest, and the wonder of the quest of God fulfilled, they live with their Life and Lord, God Himself, forever.