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TOPOGRAPHICAL TERRAIN IN
THE HEART OF MAN
Have you ever flown rather low over terrain, and watched its dimples, eminences, hillocks, or looked from some high lookout, to discern the waving lines of rocks that have once been strewn in a spread like butter, or flowed in a wave like a breaker in the ocean, moving outwards and upwards, and then downwards like a surge, the smoothness interrupted suddenly, as the declivity is too much for the cohesion, and there is a rough edge ?
So is the heart of man. It has its topography, and this encompasses a terrain which has its oaks and arbours, its streams and its paddocks, its forests of depth and character, its gullies and its summits, its plateaux; and the two, the floor and the spread, they cavort into action, only it is now still, and we see the face now quiet, after the laughter of action.
The heart of man can be repulsive, as is some landscape with gnarled trees, new towering ones shutting out the light, old ones in states of dementia or dissolution, with rocks and stones strewn as if to impede all kinds of progress. It can be tepid, like flatlands of small character. It can be tormented, like highly eroded gullies which cut into the land, like greedy children with a chocolate cake.
It has its attestations to its past. Sometimes the grief, the latent anger, the patent patience, these things are written upon it like the scrawl or careful script of a young child, when in times past, this would be set upon a slate - and indeed, that is how we found it at age 5!
At times, you can see new volcanic activity, as when selfishness which some might call 'pure' but which is rather deformed, raises its spewing volcanics to the surface, and adorns the land with its shining blackness, shutting out the light. Informed with its importance, it is deformed in its perception, and only once can one recall a summit where a young lady informed her beau in loud and sure tones, clear and unabashed that now she saw the light. Now was her young heart clear about itself. He, apparently interested in her, perforce listened. NOW she could see that what REALLY mattered was HER VERY OWN SELF. Here was the criterion, here the assured test: Did it express, was it really, did it advance ME!
Etna in progress. The thought that ME might be something less significant than TRUTH, that the way it arrived might relate to its DUTIES, that the other MEs might have some relationship of a significant kind to it in terms of responsibility, that its very creation implied a necessity to find its MEANING: none of this seemed to temper the lava flow, the eruptive power or the absorption in just spewing out what appeared the lava of self-love.
Others writhe, by contrast, in agonies, all but anguish of uncertainty while trying to find what one OUGHT to do, how to balance responsibilities, perceptions and duties, how to interpret creativity, to be stable and yet enterprising, with God left out, conscience in pangs and pulsations of which Hamlet might have been proud, had he reflected that he was a front runner in the business.
The HEART of man is a very strange thing, and quite imponderable, indeed without any comprehensibility whatever until one realises the simplicity of the facts. MAN as a PRODUCT is merely a moral mess without his MAKER, making pragmatic substitutes for morals, empirical bypasses for decisions, electing orders of priority for personal taste, and then wondering what is the IDENTITY of the person, and having an IDENTITY CRISIS, and not before time! It is soberingly amusing to think of one confused non-medical man going to a confused medical man to find the 'solution' to such a crisis, when it is a symptom of a sickness of an ontological kind, an ignorance concerning the meaning of his being which is just, overdue and to be resolved in fact, not psychology or drug.
When your back aches, do you need a psychiatrist ? When your heart aches, do you need pabulum of philosophy or medicine ? Rather the truth helps in both cases. If you have strained your back, then apart from the medicaments to mellow the thing, there is the wisdom not to repeat it needlessly by taking stock of what a back is, what it is for and how to make best use of it. It has amazing strengths, staggering resilience in multiplied most exacting task, when necessity or passion for some production may drive its employment to great ardour; and it has weaknesses, varying somewhat with the case, which need to be considered. A pen likewise can suffer amazing contortions of the pressure and progress of the mind-driven fingers of its user, but it has great weakness as a spade.
The heart of man similarly can suffer much; but when it is misused in ludicrous abuse of its texture and meaning, then the symptoms, so far from needing repression with drugs, require keen concern and vigorous investigation. What is it FOR and HOW should it be used, what are its parameters of service, and what is its designation for action ? Of what then is it a part, and from what has this come, to what does it go and why!
The mere avoidance of such
simple questions is itself a disease, far more dangerous than temporary
depression or excitation. Then again, any given heart has its own memories,
of childhood, of youth, of aims, of ideals, of actions relative to the
same, of taking aim and the way in which this was done, and meeting that
aim. Many have taken but little aim, made but small consideration of the
destinies and responsibilities, or if some was taken, then with a limited
vision as if most things were already clear, just because they were assumed;
and again, in many cases, the underlying assumptions are not even considered.
They merely ARE!
LIVING AND HAPLESS CIRCUMSTANCES,
GOVERNANCE FROM THE CIRCUMFERENCE
When one returns to the realities, and considers one's Maker (cf. Benevolent Brightness or Brothy Bane 82 and 81, Little Things Chs. 3 and 5, SMR 620ff., 611ff.), and finds the only viable and valid approach to life that so much as exists (cf. SMR Ch. 3, That Magnificent Rock Ch. 7, Repent or Perish Chs. 2 and 7), then there is a completely different set of criteria.
more is it that inane shutting out of the obvious, the pragmatic ignoring
of crucially relevant considerations - such, for a nation, as this: WHY
is the 'national interest' superficially pre-supposed to be one which simply
assumes that its existence is more important than that of
any other, RATHER THAN this, that the QUALITY and GOODNESS is more important than existence ? It may be painfully perilous to try to answer such a question in a jaded civilisation, but it remains, however jaded the appetite for truth, or jaundiced the desire.
the question is the beauty of holiness, the integrity of the terrain of
the heart, its bowers and streams as they are planned. For that there is
one book demonstrably from God (SMR Chs. 1-3,10), the Bible; and let us
consider what it has for us briefly here. It is not enough that there is
a WAY; it must reveal its NATURE, and in some detail it is available for
those who care, dare and desire.
ASPIRING BY ACRONYMS ?
Not entirely: rather registering aspiration through acronyms, let us proceed!
us take the importance of
K G FAVIR LOGPURITT
This may be remembered if one imagines K G Favir is someone's name, and the 'log' refers to his site as such, and PURITT to its name.
us first identify the components. KNOWLEDGE and GODLINESS
give the person's 'initials'.
FAITH and VIRTUE provide the 'name'. Thus II Peter 1, in its indications of proper service schedule for Christian life, direction of growth indexes, mentions the need to add KNOWLEDGE and GODLINESS, and VIRTUE. Quite an impressive series of additions. But to WHAT are such magnificent entities additions! It is to FAITH that they so serve. That is the start of the 'name', FAVIR, which has in the 'VIR' the double benefit, that it is first Latin for 'man', here the man of God, and secondly has the symbol for virtue actually added to the FA for 'faith'.
SO first faith. If you do not believe in Christ, you are not yet out of kindergarten; indeed, the case is worse than that, as Christ made so clear to the scholarly and advanced citizen, Nicodemus. You are not yet born. It is claimed that pre-natal knowledge may be imparted, but one may be sure it is not very systematic or assured! Intimations perhaps, but not settled knowledge. The music of the mother's voice perhaps, but not an organised set of criteria justly called knowledge...
When you are BORN then you ACT like it. When you spiritually have your eyes opened (and as Christ told Nicodemus, unless you have a new life so diverse from all that went before that it is a birth, you cannot even SEE the kingdom of heaven - that is, much less enter it!): then you can see what you are doing IN THIS SPIRITUAL SPHERE. Then you can walk spiritually, instead of being some sort of combination, perhaps, of the self-assured, semi-automatic nullities of non-understanding combined with the exuberance of cultural substitutes for thought.
Yet it is far more than thought which is required, if not less. You need to CONCEIVE of yourself as you are, without God, without hope, without a covenant, naked in the universe, a prodigy of oddity (Ephesians 2:12), performing away like a drunken driver in the dark, and perhaps with as much misplaced confidence. Such a person, if suddenly made aware of the assumptions which substitute for thought, and the thoughts which substitute for knowledge, and of the emptiness of the presumptions of what passes as knowledge, may well quiver, or be depressed, or excited, or morose, or cynical or witty or any other series of substitutes for living, as anodynes.
It is in this case not medicine or worldly counsel which is needed. If you read Pilgrim's Progress (and sad indeed if anyone reading this, has not also read that, for it is a solace to the saddened by KNOWLEDGE, not pabulum), you will see that both Christian (the near pilgrim, just awakened from the ignorance of living without life, but in a sort of blind nebulosity), and his wife Christiana (who did not come to herself until after her converted husband had actually died) were the recipients of much advice. In their awakening, there were all sorts of assured people telling them just what they needed, how foolish it was, in effect, to be awakened, and how unfeasible to become a pilgrim.
Pay for that variety of advice! Scarcely. This of course says nothing of those doctors and other service providers who take into account as Christians, the actual needs of the troubled terrains - perhaps newly blackened with deep flowing lava - and find the ultimate directives and answers for the spirit of man from the one who made it, in His word, the Bible.
When, therefore, FAITH comes into being in the heart of man, objective faith in the reality of the God whose word stands and whose life is behind all life, conscience and calling; and when therefore he takes himself to his heels from the paths of unrighteousness, nugatory nurseries of culture and the like, and turns to God through the only appointed redeemer, and only authorised salvation, which is also the REQUIRED one (cf. Acts 4:11-12): then that is a start. When someone is born again, then that person is ready for nurture from the nature of God, from His written word and His Spirit, and normally, this deals much in the confines of a body of like-minded people of the Lord. In them, however, is not set his trust, but in God Himself personally, that person to person he may STAND (Galatians 5:1, Ephesians 6:11-14), and so cohere and co-operate with other members of the body of Christ.
You will need the 'whole armour of God' as specified in Ephesians 6, just noted. However today our concern is the heart, and this is parallel to that.
To FAITH, then, you add virtue, that entire manliness to which we devoted attention in Ch. 7 above, that beautifully proportioned sense of duty and service, functionality and wisdom, strength and grace which is proper and appropriate for someone made in the image of God Himself!
We have covered in our acronymic activity, FAVIR. Let us not forget the K G. The knowledge we have already touched, but it needs more air. It is not mere awareness of facts, though these must never be disdained; but it is far more. As wisdom is above perception, so knowledge in the sight of God, in spiritual dimensions, is far more than facts. Even facts imply a perspective!
It involves first the knowledge of God, without which there is neither perspective nor light, truth nor peace, but only complacency or disquiet, depending on the degree of realism.
It proceeds to the knowledge of His word, by which He reveals Himself, and continues in the personal, dynamic and alive interchange between persons, which is the lot of the Christian with his Master, the resurrected Jesus Christ. Often this is distorted in one or both of two ways.
First, it is sometimes made to serve as a source of new doctrine, excluded as we saw in End-note 2, in Ch. 3 above. Doctrine has come through the prophets and apostles, relative to the very foundation of the Church itself, and it is something PAST (Ephesians 2:19-22), just as the possibility of adding to the THINGS in Revelation, is excluded in its closing verses, specifically. This is not laying foundations but experiencing both the joy and the vitality of Him who LAID them, and in whom they are laid (I Cor. 3:11).
Secondly, this KNOWLEDGE in its dynamic and living character, may be missed not through presumption, as above, but through diffidence, with or without tradition, in which former case, it can lose diffidence and find arrogance. However, it may start with a diffidence which, missing the truth, hangs uproariously to the error of its cultural occlusion. Many faint at the thought of KNOWING GOD, or depart in fear from it, or in concern lest it uncover what they want to keep, or they insist on their keeping what they want to lose, or any of the other 'awful' possibilities which ungoverned mind and untempered heart may require and impose on its devotees. Hence they idle or harass in the oblivion of mere form.
In that case, it is as in John 5:39-40, where regarding perhaps as delightsome, the sign of the word of God, and climbing all over it, the 'tourist' in life, never seriously considers FOLLOWING IT to where it points, which is Christ Himself, Redeemer, only Saviour, Creator and the end of torrid Wrestling, in realistic Rest (cf. Biblical Blessings Ch. 10). "You search the scriptures... but you will not come to ME!"
These words, He says, attest Him; but that is for ACTION (Hosea 14), not the haplessness of Hamlet, lest one fail in some way, always putting aside the command, and finding it too much, so that the mind gradually becomes inured to any thought of therapeutic, indeed saving knowledge of Christ, and continues as if these were words merely or chiefly for assessment as entertainment or interest (just as in Ezekiel's day - Ezek. 33:31-32).
These slides avoided, one comes then through FAITH in Christ to the knowledge of His word and the personal knowledge of Himself (John 17:1-3).
K G FAVIR however yet lacks one component in our address: it is the G. This is for GOVERNANCE. Now that may seem a rather old-fashioned word, but it has this advantage, that it is embracive. It means governing, and having control, and hence self-control, but not only self-control, rather also the tempering non-tampering presence of the Lord in one's life, a transforming, directing, moulding fellowship and grace from one who is ALIVE (Revelation 1:18), and will NEVER DIE: having already defeated death, taking it and breaking it, being sinless.
For us who believe, this means that we are covered beyond death, with life, and that in its individual reality and consummation; for it was the very body of Christ that arose, not some stealthy serenade with a corpse, assuring the disciples that death was nothing to worry about, so that they then worried, flurried and tarried accordingly! Not this, but as Peter said at Pentecost. THIS IS THAT, referring to that end of the Age maestro performance of Christ which led to the outpouring of His Spirit, the courage of His comrades and the testimony to the fact that neither did His dead body rot, nor could death hold Him, but that He rose. A poor thing, death, when God is concerned! Why, it is His own determinate penalty on sin; and this is precisely what He took, having none of His own, and applying the victory to others, made man immortal, as many as received Him (John 1, 5:12, 5:24).
Hence comes this additive of Governance, since there is arisen one to GOVERN, and great is its grace (cf. John 10:27-28).
Road rage is one excellent example of the LACK of this ADDITIVE to faith; and domestic rage and other intemperances, immoderations and flurries are further testimonies to the deficiency. If you lack adequate calcium and mount in age, and this apparently affects ladies more obviously then men, perhaps because bones are often less robust in the gentler frames: then you may be ready for fracture, and this is often the harbinger of death in this world, for the aged, readily via hip fracture and the decline which may attend it. Such deficiencies are manfully, or womanfully met by added calcium. How obvious ! But deficiencies in governance are not so readily met in spiritual life, in the terrain of the heart. Nor is it merely a matter of carving new VENTS in your mountain sides, so that the top is not blown off your cerebral processes every time lava rises. These, with their added ventilation, merely conduct the mess about the base!
It is rather a matter of such responsible, realistic realisation of Christ, of His purposes, presence, word and testimony, His duties and His beauties, that such things became worse than infantile: they are substitutes for spirituality altogether.
So we must add GOVERNANCE. In Paul, this is found in his word, "Let your moderation be known to all men," but gentleness of grace is the point (Philippians 4:5).
progress, but this is the way with the Christian (as in the additions of
II Peter 1). This is part of the way of growth. With a child, the growth
in the 'teen years involves much of the formats of coming independence.
We expect it, and it comes. In spiritual growth likewise, there is much
to expect, and it comes. Nevertheless, such is the beauty of liberty in
the love of the Lord, that it is not at all entirely automatic in spiritual
things. There may be battles, times of wintry exposure of the bare branches
of things, needs for re-assessment of one's performance or even some concern
at the terrains and slopes of one's heart. This however is the way of growth
in grace (II Peter 3:18).
So now we come in our acronymic travelogue, to LOGPURITT. This simply involves LOVE AS MOTIVE. Since without love you are nothing, or indeed comparable to a noisy, brash cymbal clanging, or merely mild tintinnabulation (I Cor. 13), it is essential that love is back of all your actions. If you must reprove, it is in the hope of help, or the effort to remove peril: some good thing. It is never for vengeance, since that specifically is the LORD'S PRE-ROGATIVE, He being just and knowing ALL things, there being no possibility of error. With us, this is not so! He is acute, accurate and in need of no aid from us! (Romans 12:19, Deuteronomy 32:35).
PURITY is allied closely, for "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!" said Christ.
Mixed motives are detestable. If you have an assortment of good motives, well, then be sure that the correct one is on top. But if you have varied motives in KIND, some selfish, some squalid, some merely for personal gain, some for the love of God, and so on, this is chemically impure, if you will, like chemicals masquerading as of BP standard, when in fact they have been dropped on the floor, and merely picked up and replaced in the bottle.
TENDERHEARTEDNESS follows in our PURITT, being the final T's signification.
See here I Peter 3:8-9:
This refers to GOODNESS and GRACE TRANSMISSION.
You may object, quite understandably, that acronyms should HELP and that his is growing too complex. However a little thought would help here. If you think of your KG LOGPURITT as the person on the internet, then you have merely to consider COST, and (if you are Australian, but not this alone, this only in that it is a recent Government additive, to have the GST, goods and service tax) at once GST comes to mind. Too easy! Then of course make it GGT, and if you need more help, consider it a GOOD GOVERNMENT TAX and there you are: GGT.
GOODNESS is needed. This elemental quality is one of the most refreshingly fragrant, like a combination of alpine waters in a winding creek and the tangy air of heights. Without the operative presence of goodness in your life, why live! It would be horrendous. Why, to live with six billion others, made and crafted by God, and not to have goodness of heart is worse than any abortion, even than those horrific cessations of humanity which often involve a merely selfish carving up by curette of the inoffensive child whose 'rights' seem met by far greater wrongs! A desire to achieve good, to do good, to spread out goodness, to increase it, to show it, to know it, to be like it, this is so elemental that its omission might the rather be preceded by a cessation of breathing. It is the beginning of life: GOD IS GOOD.
It is not that any goodness of our own is in view, for we are but saved sinners, those who being made Christian by grace, relate at all to these additives found II Peter 1 and elsewhere in the word of God. It is the case however that the Christian is CONFORMED as by a sculptor, to the character of the Lord by the power of the Spirit and the work of His word, in the re-created spiritual heart which he/she is given at spiritual birth (cf. Hebrews 8:10, II Cor. 3:18, I Peter 1:22-23, 2:2, James 1:18, 2:12). Goodness is indeed a specific FRUIT of the Spirit, in the God planted tree of the Christian's life (Galatians 5:22, Isaiah 61:3, Matthew 15:13).
Now we consider GRACE-TRANSMISSION. In II Timothy 2:2, we find the need to do more than store the things taught by God. They are to be committed, transmitted as pylons transmit the wires holding the current, to the next generations, and to the outposts of this one. Hence our site! in one dimension. The reason for the faith does not fail to contain the faith itself, to be transmitted.
It is like electricity in the wires, because the grace is of God, and we pass it on, this Gospel of His grace and truth: it is for us hold up the wires which have the power and the impact within them! It is so also however in the individual Christian heart. Which of us does not recall those personalities, often older, in our youth or younger times, which in sheer virtue and a sense of goodness, goodwill and heartiness of grace, were an inspiration and where the expectation of such things was not disappointed. We are ALL imperfect; but this is one form of transmission of grace which unlike ordinary perfume, does not lose its savour with Age. That is because it is the SAVIOUR who never dies, who is behind it.
we consider GRACE-TRANSMISSION. In II Timothy 2:2, we find the need to
do more than
An abundant entrance, says Peter, is ministered to the ones who moving with the Lord, grow in Him (II Peter 1:11). It is not that growing well makes a good tree; it is good tree which grows well!*1 (Matthew 7:17-18). A good tree CANNOT bear bad fruit, Christ indicates of the botanical CHARACTER of things. Of course some pieces may be spotty, but these by the nature of a good tree are decidedly atypical! The heavenly Father PLANTS HIS OWN TREES (Matthew 15:13) and what is not of His planting is torn up!
a world it would be if everyone were LIKE THIS PICTURE painted above from
the Bible, by the use of acronyms! It would be delightful to live here,
entrancing to meet people at all times, an exercise in restraint not to
be constantly in the midst of the marvels of grace abounding on all sides!
Quarrels - yes, but not selfish ones, rather the indignations of those
who, not fully grown in all understanding, find different aspects of a
thing which they put manfully to one another.
Imperfect ? Of course, but never would there be chronic evil possessing the heart!
ALL problems would be resolved, in terms of malice, interdiction, malevolence, malignity, cursing and vileness, imagining of bad motives when good ones obtain, casting of evil thoughts on others from the vile depths of hearts which are in fact uncleansed, onto those which are: and so on. If any strayed for a little time, then with what speed is there repentance, and with what clearing is the ground put straight between oneself and one's neighbour.
The intractable Middle East would become a play pen: Allah and false glory would be rescinded at once, so removing the heart of the Arab problem, for there is an abundance both of money and land amongst their brethren, available for them. They do not NEED to blow up the tiny residue left to Israel, after the defalcation of the international agreement made after World War I, to give her Palestine as a homeland! Israel could then find its Messiah, and so end the international horrors accorded her, who lost her way and decided AS A NATION absolutely against her life. Romanism would decamp at once from its papal meddlings, and health would reign in grace that would make the whole environment one of peace and prosperity.
It is not so. It cannot be so while the underlying unholiness begets unwholesomeness, and the beauty of holiness is replaced by vindictive indifference to the amputation of innumerable limbs of people, including the very young, simply blown up so that even more of Israel may be dismembered to the glory of Allah, who not having the advantage, being sonless, of existence, is little helped by all this (cf. News 82, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 30, and SMR Index).
In business, what integrity, what co-operation in ethical grace amidst interesting competition, not to spoil or ruin others, but to attain excellence, secure break-throughs and made progress: the competition a sauce and a spice, not a substitute for godliness.
In personal and domestic relationships, what grace, what bliss of moderation and composure, what deep willingness to suffer this or that, often found in the end not to have been so noble, since one may inadvertently err oneself! What drastic decline in divorce, what wonderful love jointly for the children, what loyalty of friendship, not wantonly discarded at some one fault, but made the enduring base of love that bears all things.
Not merely is there NO OTHER WAY to live, as the world so long and so eloquently has attested and now affirms with dramatic vigour! There is nothing else beautiful, in the splendour of His holiness who, having made man, made him for this. Without it, man cannot go; and as to man, he simply loves to TRY EVERYTHING ELSE, the problem with this heuristic approach being this: that it is irrational at the outset, so mere baggage to the human spirit; it is rebellious at the onset, so inviting endless disaster in the very place where blessing should be sought; and it is messy at he upset, which is continual and now more and more universally, it thrust in the face of this, our race, by the media.
LIFE MORE ABUNDANTLY has no other place to proceed from, than that which made life in the first place. God is not mocked. The mockers increase, but not their satisfaction; the cry is louder, but not its clarity. Its unkempt and discomposed disgraces, decomposing, litter the earth. But the loveliness of the Lord continues to adorn it, not least in the patience of the many Christians oppressed for their faithfulness to the Lord of love, and of truth, whose is peace, left languishing in prisons, left to be dissolved with reputations falsely attacked, as the way chosen by their persecutors: a smoother method of removal, and a less perilous political 'solution'. In such things, it is almost as if the derangements of the damned want to clamber back to infect this earth; but in Christ alone is their safety for truth, a place for peace, the container for love, the source for salvation and the way to live.
Life in Him, with the Creator from the first, in the time at the last: it is moreover provided with the key to what is beautiful in holiness (II Peter 1:4), near to what is pure and upright, not processive as if in programs, but personal in understanding, having the magnificence from which life came, as its constant recourse, even Christ Himself.
It is here that life is; otherwise not. It is a matter of discard (Matthew 13:36-43), though in His love and His grace He gives to those of this world, a long time (II Peter 3:9), to arise and go to the midwifery wing of the Hospital of Truth, and by faith to be born, and then leaving that wing, to GROW in GRACE and in the KNOWLEDGE of OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST. It is this which the blessed Peter, not the mythical 'rock' who in fact opposed the crucifixion (Matthew 16:22-23 cf. Psalm 61, where God ALONE is the rock), but the real one so faithfully declared.
? Such an example of sincerity and willingness to suffer reproof, and growth
in patience and kindness that it is as a fragrance indeed.
For further reading on this theme, see Acme, Alpha and Omega Ch. 3, and Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium Ch. 7.
the UNITY of DIVERSITY
when the COMELINESS OF CHRIST is its CONTAINER
AGONY AND THE ECSTASY ?
Rather the Wonder of His Grace!
then, the splendour of His Majesty
I THE ASPIRATION AND THE ASSURANCE
I Peter declares in the most eminently categorical terms that there is an inheritance for which the saints are kept: it is one which DOES NOT FADE AWAY. It is not like the smile on the face of the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland, something which grows more and more dim till it is suffused into the light of common day, and no more visible at all. Quite the contrary is the case with the Christian life and the destiny which God freely supplies to His children, which, being His, are that way for ever (I John 3:9, 5:12).
These are "elect according to the foreknowledge of God" (I Peter 1:2), and are "begotten" to a LIVING hope through the resurrection (Romans 10:9 shows its centrality, with the Cross, as in Galatians 6:14, of which spiritual schema it is part). In this living hope, they are begotten, and this, to what ? To what does it lead, to what does this new birth move in its natal inheritance ?
It is to an inheritance, it is to this it is begotten. What is the nature of this inheritance ? Is it legally indeterminate, or corruptible like a castle in Ireland or Scotland, too expensive to maintain, or derelict, coming to some heir who sees it disappear from practicality altogether ? Is ruin its character, is dysfunction its nature ? Is this the nature of the inheritance to which, as a child of God, the person is BEGOTTEN ?
Far from it, Peter indicates most strenuously in I Peter 1:2-4. It is INCORRUPTIBLE, so that NOTHING can destroy it. It is UNDEFILED, so that NOTHING can pollute it. It does not FADE AWAY, so that nothing can distance or deter it in its power, its pristine purity or its buoyant dynamism. It is moreover RESERVED IN HEAVEN FOR YOU, of whom further we learn, that such are "KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD" for salvation. Begotten by Him, you are defined. Defined you gain inheritance. Defined and endued, you are kept. Kept, you proceed in this state by the undertaking of the POWER of GOD!
Now does it declare, Here is a possibility, and let us seek to get it ? Who can tell ? It may come to us. Not at all. It says something directly contrary to and incompatible with that. It is an INHERITANCE. Such is covered by a WILL, through the death of the testator (Hebrews 9:16-10:14 where those who receive Him are sanctified for ever by ONE OFFERING of HIS!), and is provided from his bounty. Eternal life is a gift (Romans 6:23) and an inalienable one (John 4:14, 10:9,27-28).
It is something to which the very power of God is committed, which in I Peter is expressly stated to be reserved for those, the Christians mentioned and faith being their gift : this is its result, the obtaining what it has received, namely eternal life (John 6:40, 6:23, 6:50ff., 6:47, Romans 5:1-12). ONCE the believer is such, THEN the result is such. It is a correlation which is divinely affirmed. BELIEVE and you HAVE eternal life with its fulness as an INHERITANCE affirmed by His word who secured it (John 10:9,27-28), backed by His OWN faithfulness in contradistinction to false shepherds! RESERVED for the Christian, it is so for the one who further is KEPT by this power and has this result as an inheritance from his very begetting, his new life in Christ.
Now in II Peter there is a parallel emphasis. Not every mere name is involved in this; formality and mere ceremonial conformity is irrelevant (cf. II Timothy 3), and those who involved in such quaint false hopes, as they may here aptly be called, should beware. Not everyone who says, LORD, LORD, Christ declares (Matthew 7:21ff.) will enter His kingdom. On the other hand, as we see in I Peter 1, those who have BELIEVED are already begotten again as in John 3 also. These have found in His action on their hearts, received by faith, that emplacement already (as provided likewise in John 14:1ff. and II Corinthians 5).
Accordingly, when we come to II Peter, ALL are challenged to ACT LIKE IT, and to ADD the graces which in SANCTIFICATION are relevant (II Peter 1:5ff.), for this is the abundant life and its corollary, the result of being a good tree because so remade and planted by the Father.
JUST as in Philippians 3:10-16, we see the STRIVING and HOLY EFFORTS in the name and in the grace of Christ, the Christian suffused with strong leading and endeavour, looking to the goal with appetite and delight, so in Philippians 3:20-21 we find that it is not a possibility but a certainty that for the believer in Christ,
This error removed, like a tremor of vibration in a car, one simply rests on WHO HE IS and WHAT HE HAS DONE, and seeing the certainty of the One and the word of it, and the effectiveness of the other, and the action of it, and the two combined in the book and applied by His Spirit (Romans 8:16), one has that assurance that NOTHING shall separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:31ff.). FREELY with Christ are given all things (8:32).
One COULD NOT be justified (acquitted from guilt and its punitive consequences by divine cover as in Romans 4:25ff.), WITHOUT being glorified. These are members of a circuit of divine power, directly sustained as clearly written (8:29).
If not justified, one has not begun; if justified, one does not end.Glorification is part of an indissoluble union with justification (Romans 8:29ff.), and if the one, then the other (cf. Romans 5:1, 8:17). Hence not only is it the case that "having been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him" - and the case is emphatic, but "we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation" - Romans 5:9,12. So far from being presumptuous to accredit in faith what God presents as gift, it is presumptuous indeed to reject it and still use His name.
His name is the guarantee and this is the way He wants it to be. Faith accepts that, because it has accepted Him, and is accepted in the beloved as is HIS EXPRESS WISH (Ephesians 1:6,11). This is not to denounce the flickering of those who are troubled (Isaiah 42:33-4), but to show them the error of the trouble, a mere bubble, and to trust in the blood which life for life, has them covered as Romans 5 emphasises with such dramatic penetration and merciful grace.
IF HE IS NOT believed, then that is not the case. If HE IS, then it is, for so has He spoken. The two aspects of vigorous diligence and ADDING graces in delight as in II Peter, and delicious repose, and resting on His attainments on the other, as in I Peter, are as night and day, part of one beautiful totality, neither interfering with the other, as in Paul, where both appear in the confines of one chapter, each with vigour.
is part of the beauty of holiness that it is whole.
II THE ACTUALITY, THE AGENCY AND THE AUTHOR
Indeed, here lies one of the most exquisite facts of His kingdom: the whole is coherent and not merely composite, for its background is ONE in ONE being whose personal coverage is not a mere constancy of mathematics, but the unity of character and totality of knowledge; for indeed it is He who has invented the possibility of our knowledge, labouring to assimilate except where it is granted knowledge in His grace. It is He who is the background to the scope which exists in it for total coherence: but ONLY when truth is the basis, the criterion and the caption, granted in revelation, the supernatural book, the Bible, and confirmed and exhibited in nature, the natural book that bears in its imprint, the impact of His power (cf. SMR Chs. 1 and 3, That Magnificent Rock 1, 8), the two in a harmony precisely as one would expect in such grandeurs, and such with intimacy.
Yet this is far from all - and who could ever exhaust the sublimity of that person whose is our infinity as a mere offspring of His mind, His power and His artistry! Far easier would it be for a tadpole to exhaust the profundity of the oceans.
Infinity ? There are no bounds. It is His. Numerically, it is a concept: HE is the reality, beyond numbering, but able to create the very numerical concept, and in this concept, the symbolic access to the unlimited which is after all, only He: for to everything HE is the limit, since its dependence is on HIM! (Cf. Pall of Smoke and Diamond of Joy Ch. 9). HE however, being personal, is not devisable digitally, for numbers are the mere echo of mentality, laced into the realities of time. Theirs is no mandate; they merely cascade from what is, as spray from the falling waters. It is indeed only when you see material things in the scope of His revelation, in the domains of His power that the entire assimilability of nature comes to light, and lies restfully in its grandeurs, in the simplicity of His orientation, an offspring not with heart, but with conditions innumerable.
Such is not man, whose spirit is his major attribute (cf. Things Old and New Ch. 9, Ancient Words : Modern Deeds Ch. 13, Little Things Ch. 5, Joyful Jottings 25, 26): for though his is an advent of this kind for equipment, it is instrumental, not purposive in force. Accordingly, in the image of God, he constantly toils in the interfaces of the personal and the propositional, the material, the mental, the moral, the spiritual; and when unconverted, he finds such an array of imponderables (as in chemistry before the nature of gases was realised), that he rushes to this or that extreme, wanting to crush and crimp everything into this wonderful thought of his mind, or that, when obviously before he began they are of different, but related kinds. It is not in the matrix of substance, or in the little stones of thought in the stream of his life, that there is found explanation (cf. Romans 1:16-22).
It is too small, too generic, too clearly reductionist. It is the design of the Former, whose is the provision of a unity, as in poetry from man, for which the MEANS (words for the poet) merely attest, but do not possess the thought, or manipulate the ideas, nor do they contain the understanding in themselves. Their task, like the little lines on the magnetic tape, is to express in convenient form; but not to possess what is of wholly othe derivation, kind and indeed, of perspicuous vitality.
need to go beyond the created thing to the creator, to have any understanding
of the elements He has made, their uniqueness, their type, their relationship
and their meaning; and the reluctance to do so explains the quagmires of
philosophy, in one of its main sloughs, with exquisite simplicity; while
going to God provides the explanations of what is similar, diverse, contrary,
difficult and divergent with a consummate simplicity (cf. SMR
Ch. 5, TMR Ch. 7,
Little Things Ch. 5 cf.
A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 6). There is left no problem in kind at all, when to the source you repair for the repair of your thought, in the scope of its ambit.
There is no problem which remains insoluble before His word; nothing is left in crabbed deformity as in philosophy; the irresolvables are ZERO when the truth is the perspective, the word of God is the propositional base and the power of God is the active working. Nowhere else is this bright shining light to be found. Christ is indeed the light of this world, and of any other; for His is not only the explicatory power, the propositional precision but the specifically spiritual actuality for adoration, for worship, the very beauty of holiness.
Here, nothing ends in mid-air, as in the philosophies of endless confusion and clattering clash; everything has its place, inter-relationship and reason. Such is the glory of God, and its beauty is in its light, a light that is personal, enunciates propositionally without our lips, and loves without our arms, impassioned without being inflamed, tender without being oppressive, pure without being haughty, covering all who come and neglecting in the end, not for lack of love, but for lack of violence, all who go (Matthew 19:21-23): and leaving nothing to chance, since chance is merely the name given for what is not to our current purpose (cf. Ancient Words : Modern Deeds Chs. 9 and 13). With Him, there is nothing which is outside His purpose, for HE works ALL things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11). That is how He can and does predict so precisely with 100% accuracy, events including the work of millions of human people, all making 'decisions', from thousands of years beforehand.
His peace is the quietness of this light, His majesty is its gleaming, His work is its tale and His salvation is its impact on man.