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GOD’S GLORIOUS HOLINESS
and MAGNIFICENT MAJESTY
Job 38 with reference to
34:29-33 and much more that is kind
in the sphere of the word of God
Let us take the latter first.
GOD’S GLORIOUS HOLINESS
The reader may recall Job, the target of Satanic attack, since the devil sought to prove that his righteousness was mere ethics for profit, not for any other reason, such as the love of God or truth.
Hence Job was passed for assault, to try him, and it was most trying. While Job passed the test, at times he grew a little bitter, wondering how the righteous could be sustained, when false accusations and fraud had such reward. Nevertheless, in the midst of his trials, he cried out that he knew his Redeemer was alive, and in the terminal phases of the Age, He would stand upon this earth, that his own eyes would see Him, without intermediary. That was the crucifixion of the devil's designs, by Job's faith. Meanwhile, Elihu, one of those who were with Job, calling together to see him in his great afflictions, losses of children, the respect of his wife, wealth and health, after hearing many attacks on Job, by which some sought to make it appear he was simply a sinner caught out at last, made his own statement.
The gist of it was that God is
righteous and that whatever is said, this must not be said, that He is unjust,
nor can this be made an intrusion from His creation, as it seeks to understand
His ways. We have considered Job at some length before, for example, in
and Balms 31, pp.
Things Old and New Ch. 1, The Power of Christ's Resurrection Chs. 3, 4, SMR pp. 95, 358, 372; Christ, the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 2; The Christian Pilgrimage Ch. 9
News 152; and most recently in Importunity, Opportunity and Purity of Heart Chs. 1 , 2, 3, 6, 7 From these sources, if desired, more preliminary information may be gained on Job and his friends.
We turn now to focus Elihu, who makes many valid points, and though tending with the others to lecture too assuredly as far as Job is concerned, he yet seeks directly to justify GOD! IF God hides Himself, who can find Him! If God hides His face, cries Elihu, who can see Him!
In the presence of Job, the divine test required that the strategy of the matter should NOT be known. This then is reinforcing Elihu's thought. You cannot compel God to divulge what you seek just because it seems a good idea. On the other hand, He has CHOSEN as Job was so apt to declare, what He wants to reveal and redemption and final judgment are amongst those things, yes and individual knowledge of Him after the resurrection.
Does God then hide His face ? Not from any as far as the Gospel is concerned, not in the understanding of His word to those who seek Him; but at times, as with Paul (II Corinthians 12), and indeed as with Hezekiah (II Chronicles 32:31), He may test and try purity, for it is of great value, giving it opportunity to show itself, and character to grow.
This testing applies to nation or individual equally. Knowledge cannot find Him for mere interest - one remembers how Christ would not respond to the prying Herod! God is indeed is personal, and though, if you will, you may find His address, He is not at home to the prying, the spiritual peeping-toms who feel they have right to access, and stride with dominant lordliness into His presence. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for THEIRS is the kingdom of heaven, said His express image and eternal word (Matthew 5, John 8:58, 1).
How then shall He be found ? Stressed greatly here is the majesty and power of God, whose works speak of His grandeur, whose ways are His own, on whom all depends (Romans 11:33). It is necessary however to realise that mankind person by person ALSO depends on God, for sanity, for strength, for life, for vitality, for exuberance and joy of heart, and for peace. Indeed, for pardon! (Isaiah 55, Micah 7:19ff.). What glorious assurances are these.
Thus in Job 35:29, Elihu also declares this:
“If HE gives quietness, who therefore can make trouble!”
This is beautiful. When we come to Christ, whom the Father appointed from eternity (Ephesians 1:4) as Saviour of the soul of those who were foreknown to be His, and indeed, sent as the One to be offered sincerely to all men (I Timothy 4:10, II Timothy 2), Lord and King , then the rest, which includes a profundity of rest past all limitation, this follows. Just as all are invited in a love which knows neither bound nor limit for itself, for He statedly would have all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth ( I Timothy 2), so those who come arrive where PEACE IS: and thus we find it there.
"He gives quietness ..." Said Christ: You shall find rest for your souls, though some take a while to find the agreeableness of His terms, for we do not come as lords, but as His people, His sheep. There is little quietness for those who want a multiple lordship, whether from Romanism, false prophets like Muhammad (More Marvels Ch. 4), or their own unscrolled philosophic princes!
How foolish to knock on the door of some slum when you are seeking 100 million dollars to found an industry! How ludicrous to knock on the door of philosophy and proud religion when you want the unsearchable riches of Christ (Colossians 2:8) and the definitive approach to your Creator, even to His heart.
Hidden from effrontery, He is open to those who like children come where He may be found, and coming find their Father, whose word has surveyed millenia, and placed in the centre, the Messiah whose death in the vicinity of AD 30 has increased the guilt of the predicted time, for those who slew Him, but not for these only. It does just the same for those who ignore Him, so killing what He came for, as far as they are concerned, and scorning the sacrifice without which God would never have made the earth at all (Isaiah 51:16); for He works ALL things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11).
Go where He is to be found (Isaiah 55), and people are urged to call upon Him when He may be found, when in Christ HE IS NEAR.
“But now in Christ
Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
Think now of Psalm 45! “THEREFORE WE WILL NOT FEAR!”
Think then of Habakkuk 3, “Though the fig tree may not blossom… YET I will rejoice in the Lord…”
Now let us turn to
GOD’S MAGNIFICENT MAJESTY
and how it should be praised!
Job 38 asks questions, and tonight we refer to just a little of this interrogation. Look at 38:19-22.
“Where is the way to the dwelling of light?
And darkness, where is its place,
That you may take it to its territory,
That you may know the paths to its home?
Do you know it, because you were born then,
Or because the number of your days is great?
“Have you entered the treasury of snow,
Or have you seen the treasury of hail,
Which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
For the day of battle and war?
By what way is light diffused,
Or the east wind scattered over the earth?”
Were you born in the place of
darkness ? Do you know it because of this ? Are you, in other words, part of the
elemental beginning of things ? Were you, for that matter, born in the light ?
Do you know HOW it is diffused ? Scientists talk of this ad nauseam, and
while we have shown there is no insoluble mystery
(cf. SMR pp. 419ff., 421ff., 410ff.), its actualities are still beyond their entire understanding, as is so much of the creation, which is grand is scope, magnificent in conception, brilliant in technique, showering astounding beauty as in birds, skies, sunsets, and bringing sharp rebuke to humanist secularism, as man imagines it all invented itself in some rainy day when it didn’t have enough to do, before it was there, or came by magic
(cf. TMR Ch. 8's early list of the callow collection and its refutation, and SMR 422Eff.).
This is nonsense. It came for one and one only good reason, that its Maker, as in all things, made it do so! Remember how Sennacherib was routed when the Lord hailed on them – maybe meteoric fragments hailed down, but in any case the result brought victory to believing Hezekiah! (II Kings 19:35ff.)! God did indeed reserve hail for the day of battle then, as we see in the book of Job! Even the snow (Job 38:22), magnified, is in fact a marvel of intricacy and geometry, delightful design with symmetries and astonishing craftings able to delight the eye of reason, and the eye of the aesthete. It is so often so. The creation is so far past utility, that it is futility to seek to bring in the asthenic arts of reductionism to cover any small part of its exuberance.
So has He done His myriad works…Let us cite from my work, Joyful Jottings, No. 6.
The sheer magnificence of the mercy of the Lord, is like a jutting cliff,
abutting into space from glorious high ground.
His purity, like streams in heights unthinkable,
dazzling with light,
His peace like a profundity
both illimitable and lovely,
His love, like torrents of iridescent waters,
cascading in vertical fall, touching the rocky surfaces as they go,
sweetening the air and enlivening the verdure.
from which myriads of dependent creativities pour like drops from the spray,
His depths which are as unfathomable as His wisdom,
His mockery of space, a mere item of expenditure
from the celestial magnitude, which created it,
a play-pen for man,
His time which overarches all occurrence,
and gives it scope once it is set up in its puny position, like toy soldiers:
it is the wonder of God which is so blatant that it makes bill-boards look discreet,
so beautiful that it leaves all examples of earthly beauty like children's books,
and so humble that it is not even seen by the wilful and the arbitrary.
TRUST then in this loving Lord, realise His power, inhabit His kingdom, rely on His strength, understand His compassion, study the Gospels of His advent on earth, be content in His quietness, for as Elihu declares, if HE gives quietness, WHO can remove it! As Paul parallels and consummates: the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds, garrison them, in Christ Jesus. But that ? It is a functional formula for the Christian: PRAY in detail, and rely on Him who hears, having met Him at the Cross and found His life at the resurrection, being enabled by His Spirit and dowered with His gracious power for service.
Let us however proceed with Joyful Jottings 6.
He has spun like a spider, the web of life. Out goes the material, like a fence around a new property. Then comes the information storage unit, to enable action to be orderly. Next arrives the executive wing, to translate the information into action, and the concepts into occurrences. With that soon arrives consciousness, that attestation of life which is as real as a motor, compared with mere hand work, and defines in thought, the entity, the reality of the life form in mind, and now in hand. Thence, instinctive powers, to pre-dispose to wiser ways, lest the work be lost through its own level of freedom; but not so determinate, that it cannot be individual in measure. Mind and its analytical force, predictive power and its discerning discretion, all, as it were, enter left, or right, onto the stage of life. It is built like a skyscraper, each element discreet, all plan integral.
The spirit of man comes like a box for mind, a self-consciousness, a God-conscious capacity enshrined, for the mode the Lord will chose, a display unit for conscious reflection and self-control, a mandate to investigate and subdue the earth, equipped with ejection seat from the mind of God, like pilot able to leave his vehicle, but not space, so that the fool who says in his heart, There is no God, may be appeased in his wholly undivine wrath, and enabled to act if he should so will, in his futile fiasco of investigations of what is not there, having left what is.
Like a banquet are spread by the Lord, the sheer ingenious multitudes of inventions, freedom waving the flag; and the power to love, that is there also, and with it of course, to hate; to do good, and with that naturally, to do evil, for there is no ‘good’ in program, but the programmer's mind; but in man, there is scope for real good, and genuine evil, in which he is expert, but not nearly so clever as is the devil in that domain, who runs it with a bitter smile, and an inventory of wrath, because his time is short, and he is smart enough to know it (Revelation 12:9-12). Man however, he is often dull enough not to know it, and wilful enough to dash himself on the rocks of reality, without the purity of the spray or the delight of the scene. As to that, this deal may be distasteful, but it is asked for; it is empty... but popular.
God over all in His mercy does not reclaim it all, in this like a slag-heap chemically re-processed. His offer is to all, and His selection criteria in reclamation are such that "He would have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (I Timothy 2:4), but the way being narrow, and the door, the crucified Christ: many are they who avoid it as if it were Auschwitz, and thus voluntarily go to what is worse! (cf. John 6:56-68).
As to Hell, it is not reached because God is short of love, like an athlete short of breath, or a vexed school-teacher, who has "had enough of kids"! It is the exclusive domain of the devil and His angels, prepared for them as the Lord has said, and accessible also to man, when he so prefers darkness to light that this is his condemnation, even in the face of light (John 1-3:19).
His divine mercy then ? Have you read the poem,
The Everlasting Mercy, of John Masefield. I seem to remember that, quite amazingly, he visited our Heidelberg School in Victoria when I was a child. If you have not meditated on this poem, could I suggest you remedy the omission.
The majesty and sheer splendour of God is the ultimate uplift, leaving all mountains ranges but glorious creations. It is that of Him who dwells in light unapproachable (I Timothy 6:16), whose grace is as profound as the depths, whose love as high as the heavens, whose beauty of holiness is the source of all actual beauty and whose rebukes litter the earth with its desolatory diffusions and confusions, as it runs from God as from a roaring bull, because its sins are vast, its heart is hard and its mind is dilated.
What it misses however, with such sheer pertinacity and mere blindness, it is a marvel and a wonder to be found, not lost, to be sought, not evaded. Reverting now to Joyful Jottings 6, we find this.
But God ? He makes no omissions. If you have not called on His name, and sought His mercy, do so. There is none like Him. His self-declaration is definitive in His eternal Word, vested in flesh as the Christ, Jesus Christ the Lord, His being the power in remedy which parallels the divine power in creation in which, as the living word of God, He also acted (Colossians 1, John 8:58). It is His salvation is the alternative to slavery to sin, self-sufficient sin (which is quite illusory - try being born, some day), seedy sin, splendid self-glorifying sin (why ? did you make yourself ?), ANY sin except the sin which WILL NOT COME to be cleansed, in a life which will not receive correction!
There is a sin to death, and it is not good to play with fire (I John 5:16). Chronic and inseparable sin can sear the soul into a rejection set like concrete, the fabric of life into a charring that reeks with what is destroyed (I Timothy 4:2).
That sin in essentially is the sin of severance from the call to mercy. It is the sin of the beggar who will not acknowledge need, of the starving who would rather die than accept charity. Except note this: THIS CHARITY, it is the charity of the one who in charity made you, so that you could receive your need, or deceive you soul. The sheer grandeur of His conceptions, like the refined diminution of His humility, of Him who faced the cross of contempt to deliver His children from it, and calls all with a sincerity which His words attest, His deeds demonstrate: these are like Him. To love Him is to love what is lovely, yes its source.
To receive His salvation is to bloom, and not to go to seed. It is what life, sentenced in sin, is now for; and it is the beginning which does NOT end (John 10:9,27-28), because on HIM, for all who are His or will come to Him, on HIM, is laid the iniquity of us all, and BY HIS STRIPES, are healed all who are His (Isaiah 53). There is nothing that is too hard for the Lord; and if you fear you may not be one of His sheep, and try to convince yourself you are not invited, forget it. IF YOU COME, that proves you are one of His, for all who come to Him, the only Saviour, HE WILL NOT CAST OUT! How do I know ? He said so, and so it operates (John 6:37, Acts 4:11-12). If you do not DESIRE HIM, why complain ? If you DO, then come. His call is clear, constant over thousands of years, and in the same terms of salvation (Isaiah 55, Ezekiel 33:11, Lamentations 3:33).
If you have come, then GO and spread His salvation-news, His Gospel, acknowledge His greatness and operate at the level, which continually is there, like a vast and delightful plateau, set on the hill-top of His presence, to which this so free access is given.
It is said once, but let it be said again: NOTHING IS TOO HARD FOR THE LORD. That message resounds from Sarah's time to that of Mary, from age to age. Mountains CAN be moved by faith. If THEY are there, GOD is beyond them. NO GOOD THING will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. It is because He is good, and the road for such traffic, is the road of faith. See Mark 11:23, Psalm 34:19,17, 37:39,7, 40:5, 84:11.
NOT ANZAED BUT ANSWERED
So is the extravanganza of disfaith overcome by the humble heart's recipience before the living God.
Yet in the whorls of that shattered cosmos of disbelieving hearts, there lies the ash which will accept no beauty (Isaiah 61:1-3, 57:20-21, and the war which nothing will tame but the flame which engulfs its rabidity, and gives it the destiny to which sightless sighs lead it.
Let us see just such things as these in Isaiah 51:10-11:
"Who among you fears the Lord?
Who obeys the voice of His Servant?
Who walks in darkness
And has no light?
Let him trust in the name of the Lord
And rely upon his God.
"Look, all you who kindle a fire,
Who encircle yourselves with sparks:
Walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks you have kindled—
This you shall have from My hand:
You shall lie down in torment.
Here you see the only adequate
reason for the mischiefs,
the extravanganzas, the bonanzas,
the silly songs of misplaced zeal
of man, set in stanzas,
commanded, insinuated, luxuriant in
oppressive in humidity like
here is the ground for man's
madness, in worshipping now this film star, this football player, this golfer,
this philosopher, this guru, or if not,
then worshipping as this name, this
fame or this strain of ideas suggests.
How CAN he possibly be so foolish ?
Of what clay is this creation and of what a spirit
that he could conceivably be so corralled, so lassoed,
so inveterately subject to such insignificantly founded passions,
such deceptions, dupings, duplicities,
deceits or such petty grandeurs.
It is NOT that he is mad, but maddened. It is NOT that he is a fool in himself, but fooled.
And why is he fooled ? It is surely because whatever is profoundly displaced, whether in engineering in spirit, is likely to be colossally troublesome. Put a piston into a mill and you get a mashed piston or mashed mill or both. Put a man among man, so that he ignores his Creator, and he is perpetually seeking for, longing for, intuitively sensitive to, moved towards what is NOT his Creator. Romans 1:17 shows the proceedings that follow, now here, now there, now this way, now that, but always in spirit and in confusion in one direction, and if not interrupted, to one end.
What is it like ? Why what more than this, a dog which has a master, and cannot find him, so that it seeks with tale between its legs, or with barkings, or ferocity or tameness or whatever other inept manner may accord with its nature, for one who is: or else, in despair or alienation, it hates all masters, or whatever other bauble of misdirection seems to fill the gap, or atone for it.
Is this not the dogheartedness of which Avon's bard spoke, in the case of the worst of King Lear's daughters ? Do you recall the expressed if figurative desire to anatomise one of his offspring, to see what lay about her heart! She is not alone, nor is the gall of gore the only ground of such invitation, for the spiritual pride and irrationality which is near to suicide that is another option, is common likewise; and they all share the same bed.
You see a man in a tower who will not come down until he gets money for some religious project, and a man with oil gives him a few million for his trouble. WHY ? In what manner does this glorify God ? In what way is this a work of reason ? You say, But a man can give his money where he will ? Yes, but this is not the question. The question is this: WHY DOES HE SO WILL ... and why do so many in so many ways follow things clearly irrational: and because they are called religion, or because they strike some concordant note, like a resonating bell, they respond as if feckless, as if foundering in spirit, as if without rationality, as if sweet reason found in them no harbour, and faith hovered without its due and true object.
Why does this occur in men brilliant in mind, or powerful in profession ? Why, if your heart is caught, your mind tends to follow. It is essential therefore for man that his heart be NOT caught! unless it be caught up in the actual Creator, the true and real God, the One with power, as Jeremiah is moved to put it , the One who DID create the heavens and the earth (10:11), for the other kind, being deceitful objects of Satanic delusiveness, merely creep in like viruses to destroy.
So do we find in Jeremiah 17:1-19, with emphasis added for the point at hand:
"The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron;
With the point of a diamond it is engraved
On the tablet of their heart,
And on the horns of your altars,
While their children remember
Their altars and their wooden images
By the green trees on the high hills.
"O My mountain in the field,
I will give as plunder your wealth, all your treasures,
And your high places of sin within all your borders.
And you, even yourself,
Shall let go of your heritage which I gave you;
And I will cause you to serve your enemies
In the land which you do not know;
For you have kindled a fire in My anger which shall burn forever."
"Thus says the Lord:
'Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the Lord.
For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.
'Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
'The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.
'As a partridge that broods but does not hatch,
So is he who gets riches, but not by right;
It will leave him in the midst of his days,
And at his end he will be a fool.'
"A glorious high throne from the beginning
Is the place of our sanctuary.
O Lord, the hope of Israel,
All who forsake You shall be ashamed.
'Those who depart from Me
Shall be written in the earth,
Because they have forsaken the Lord,
The fountain of living waters.'
"Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
Save me, and I shall be saved,
For You are my praise.
Indeed they say to me,
'Where is the word of the Lord?
Let it come now!' "
So at this last part, do we see Jeremiah himself, surrounded by deceit and hatred, persecuted and seeking constantly to be purified and kept, suffering a mockery which did not have to last long, since Jerusalem at this point was at the side of the abyss, and was soon to be destroyed; but it was one which did cause agonising concern, as he saw what he loved sedately running to its doom.
You may say, But that is no answer!
Cancer is no answer to itself, either; but it needs a cure.
There IS no answer IN the disease, of body or spirit, until you get the cure. In the case of the spirit of man, it is directly tilted at the Lord God of creation, and until it removes the skew tilt, and ceases to tilt in its self-assured splendour at the Lord, its tilt will incline it to just and deserved doom, which all the insouciance in the world will not allay, nor any remedy fix. Why ? It is because if you CHOOSE the disease of spirit, then your spirit being diseased, becomes to life itself, deceased, alien. God is a SPIRIT and spiritual dissidents are by that very fact aliens, self-imposed inhabitants of immigration centres now become detention centres: divinely detained, ready for ruin.
They may glory in their detention centres, they have them air-conditioned and have free medical attention, if you want to pursue the analogy; but they are and remain aliens because in this case, the spiritual one, this is the way they CHOOSE to have it. Alien from their originator, destiny and dynamic, they are left like remnants in a sale, detached, inglorious, ruptured, severed, increasingly without meaning, except this, that they mean to be ruptured from God.
CHOICE is indeed available to man, in the negative sense. Christ Himself declares very clearly and openly that THIS is the condemnation that people, in the very face of the vast amplitude of the love and the light, Jesus Christ, PREFER darkness (John 3:19). The author once preached this in a student sermon at Westminster Theological Seminary, and was lampooned and mocked for it; but this does nothing to alter the fact that it is so written (cf. The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 4). GOD knows what He is about, and theological philosophers cannot psychoanalyse HIM!
The mark indeed was downgraded from a First, as earlier for Public Speaking, to as near a failure as could be done, in the case of the sermon, without actually failing. The seminary however had no answer to Colossians 1:19ff., any more than to this; for man's talk does not remove the speech of God. (Cf. Questions and Answers Ch. 7, as here linked, including *1, and *2.)
On the other hand, it is equally true, and should be acknowledged, that man cannot in himself choose God, but is enabled to come to Him in faith because of regeneration, this being at the love of God, where His desire that ALL might be saved (which is known because He continually says so) is implemented (cf. SMR Ch. 6, Endnote 6 and reference above).
As the Bible makes continually most clear, there is majesty in the solemnity of the divine judgment, security in the rule of divine sovereignty, but love in the eminence of divine desire, which reaches like the mountains of nobility above the surface of the plains,
forsaking what forsakes at the last, and in Israel and Jerusalem,
seen in its magnificence of grief and its heights of compassion, as Christ wept for their aweful recalcitrance and deceptive immovability of heart.
THE SPURIOUS MYSTERY IS TO BE AVOIDED, THE LOVE ASSURED
The spurious 'mystery' that God does not really love enough for that grandeur of sweep and incandescent innocence of heart, it is no mystery but a conflict with the word of God.
The furious desire, on the other hand, that man may simply reach out and find God at will, is equally foolish.
It is by invitation, it is by power, it is by pardon that this is to be enabled, for the natural man indeed does not think of spiritual things as wise (I Cor. 2:14). When thus the Gentiles receive repentance, it is indeed a reception, a grant accepted and not a thrust of mere force; but the grace to do so is from the Lord. What He excludes is not from lack of desire, as if God were ALMOST love (contrary to I John 4:7ff.), or does not NORMALLY have pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11), or changed His mind about seeking the reconciliation of all men (Colossians 1:19ff.), or any other philosophic monstrosity of man's invention, whether from the slip of Calvin or for any other reason (cf. Tender Times... Ch. 2, End-note 1, recently extended, and see Indexes on Predestination, Calvin, Foreknowledge).
On the contrary, the grandeur of His grace reaches from the outset, yes and this emphatically, to all things, yes whether in heaven or on earth, as Paul declares.
What in the end (as in foreknowledge from the first), He excludes, He removes because love does not there find its place. The real ‘mystery’ is this, that He should be so loving, so merciful, so grand … but that, it is not an affront to truth, but part OF it! That is the way He is, a matter for worship, not worry! Indeed, the contrary is the case, for when the Maker of all is love, then love has its resting place and truth its delight (cf. Micah 7:19ff.). So far is all this from being like walking in a dark room, in Calvin's figure, that it is blazing with divine light and sympathy, holiness and wonder (cf. Light of Dawn Ch. 1, newly extended).
The love is affirmed; the option of preference negatively is affirmed; the power of God is not limited by His love does not force. What could be simpler! (cf. Tender Times ... Ch. 11). He knows HOW to love and does it! Man must learn from Him, and if he only did, then so many forced marriages, forced 'conversions' by fear and intimidation and the like would be avoided. But man is constantly vacillating, now thinking himself a god, now able to subdue God to his will and wishes, while still outside the kingdom of heaven, now embarking on a limitation of the love of God, and inventing what it is difficult to distinguish from some kind of autocratic aristocracy. Such problems arise when one departs from the word of God, imposing omission on its transmission! They do not exist in the clarity of what is written, which subdues all thoughts to Himself.
Such distortions can appear from the mind of man, by addition or omission concerning the word of God; but God is not in that sort of defilement any more than in the other. He is where He may be found, and that is in love, by grace, through faith, with repentance. Here the Christian may come, not marvelling that God would so love, for He IS love and it is THIS which is the marvel (I John 4:7-8). Rather, is one replete with joy that the One who saved, is the One who would have all, so that each one saved is not some select agent, but one found in mercy by the power of that God who would have all to be saved, but wrests none beyond the created reality of being in His own image.
For all this, His power and His wisdom is sufficient.
Thus is there a MAJESTY and PROFUNDITY about His love, which is in harmony with the SPLENDOUR of His power and the BEAUTY of His kingdom. To be sure, you are 'born' into it, but there was no violence before the birth. Violence is done to the will of none and Christ wept not in impotence, but in purity of restraint (Luke 19:42), declaring to now doomed Jerusalem, IF YOU HAD KNOWN, EVEN YOU, IN THIS YOUR DAY ....
They didn't realise, they would not, despite all His works and His words; and He did not weep in dichotomous delusion, but in loving grief at their rejection, their preference, so confirmed, so deadly. There, there is Majesty, there is Splendour, there is that marvel and wonder of divine tenderness which, though He be aroused when truth must be applied, so solicits and so seeks beforehand, if by any means, having made peace by the blood of the Cross, the cross of that Christ in whom all fulness of the Godhead dwells, He might reconcile all things ... as the word of God declares (Colossians 1:19ff.). It is better to find these things from what is written, as Calvin rightly says, but wrongly in this omits to do.
Is God then frustrated ? Far from it. Is a man of any heart in the end frustrated at the maiden who WILL not respond ? He may chastise himself if he acted unwisely in the process, but God is never unwise. In the end, in our figure of speech, if she is not yours, so be it. She may be deluded, but she cannot be grabbed. What in our analogy is a matter of the individual, so that no delusion is needed to reject (though in some cases the individual wonders afterwards if this were so!).
in this case, however, when it concerns the coming before the very Maker and Creator of wonder and power, of all our wisdom and all our powers, then any rejection is indeed worse than delusion, though not always less. It is for those who so occupy themselves, defiance, mutiny, dispossession of the source of human hearts, which thus languish in superficiality, like detached organs, and beat the air.
Answer ? it is this: Seek the Lord with all your heart. What if he does not want me ? one may ask. Not possible in the ultimate sweep of things. There is indeed an unforgivable sin, but this is seen in Hebrews 6 and 10, where there is a preliminary tasting and savouring of spiritual things, and there is a playing about with love. It can indeed occur; but this is sure, that if you RECEIVE Him, HE receives you. If you want Him, take Him; if you do not, why lament ?
You cannot ? Then call on His name, and He is plighted to hear you, and trust Him (Acts 2).
You do not trust Him ? Then again, why lament. If He is so untrustworthy as you seem to imagine, why worry! Yet why would anyone distrust the maker of his power to discern, of the universe, of our vitality and reason itself! Is His power and wisdom less than yours ? Does He depend on robbing His creation in order to satisfy Himself, for whom all things are a product and a creation, which adds to Him nothing, since He is self-sufficient!
If He were not, then He would not be God, but a derivative with whom insufficiency lodges, in the system in which He is placed. Since He is however self-sufficient, then there is nothing to be gained by refusal, but loss ... loss of God. You gain a breach, secure an emptiness, leave our heart beating in air, a component of the philosophy of disjunction, so often aired in political extremes, in licences of flesh or in pride of heart.
Sin ? It is masterful in the case of myriads; but how unwise to be subservient to ... that!