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Filling in the Gap:
Building the Programmatic Shield
While the Heart Grows -
AND ETERNAL TRUTH LIAISON!
Now let us consider further the very
structure of things for the child, the youth, as he or she grows, and the
building as it progresses, what it needs and how it may be placed.
There is the thrill of truth, the wonder of its fitting into the wings of life and the heart behind them and the deliverance which this constitutes. It comes of course with a cost, both to God and to man, to the One to provide it, to the other to receive it, though it be free ...
STRICTURE and STRUCTURE
Stung by the young, in a substantial percentage, slurring morals, winging and flitting without aerodynamics in drugged skies and listless atmosphere, vanities innumerable and accidents unthinkable, one correspondent to one of our newspapers recently made a rather peculiar and very special request.
It was this. Very well, there are religions and all that, but suppose we just have a MINISTER OF MORALS, someone whose specific, specialised, indeed perhaps ONLY duty would be to inculcate morals into the young.
The select duty of this privileged official would be to ensure that into the vacuum of righteousness and into the sea of confusion, indeed perhaps into the pit or even abyss of vacuity there would come some rules, some understanding, something approximating morals. For this, he would seek before it was too late. This was to be desired before what ? Perhaps before the fall ... , before the generation of degeneration, hanging loosely like an aircraft, not yet able to fly, at the edge of a cliff, moved over, with all its equipment about to be doomed, or ruined, or at the very least, heavily compromised on its downward non-flight.
It is true that he or she did not evoke the imagery above, but the message seemed to be of this kind.
It could indeed, this thought, be taken further. What if the quasi-religious Minister of Morals should be not only or merely a professional post for the instiller of morals, but the name of the Minister of the Department of that ambition! Then, as now, you would have a virtual political papacy, seeking to tell the gen on religion without actually showing evidence of knowing anything about its most basic tenets and requirements.
The irony of that, of course, is this, that in the Circular to Principals*1A, like some aged veteran of gin and rocks, you have not this only, but this not least. Religion is set out in a vague and irrational manner, denying objective validity at the rational, testable level, and this in general; and that is made one of the bases for the entire curricular content not only in science, but in social studies, in effect, where issues of religion and actuality may be discussed. In that latter area, LOGIC and DECISION are excluded as joint criteria. You are required to treat it all subjectively.
Obviously this is already the Minister for Morals at work, in one of the hats of office. Its incredibly simplistic substitution of self-contradictory rambling for thought has never to the knowledge of this author, been defended, though debate, and that public has as often been sought as declined by the sustainer of this officious cartoon of religion. It is not, to be sure, made in the form or format of a drawing, but the picture which it draws, though with words, makes any other assault by drawings come a very poor second in its effrontery. In this case, it is even self-contradictory, for how can you KNOW that all religion is UNTESTABLE meaning stories, myths or legends, when one of its chief topics is always the truth, the ultimate truth.
The opposite claim and name is categorically true of Christianity; and indeed, if there were no ultimate truth, or even no assured access to it, HOW could you possibly KNOW that this was the case!
All this has been dealt with many times, and the theme arises when the issue is raised with the presumptuous government, by this or that group of ministers, and this one knows, being very nearly always a participant. The point is not even MET by those responsible, Premier or Minister concerned, but rather it is dallied around and not mentioned in the replies given.
WHAT FOLLOWS ? it is this.
Not merely is the hideous defilement of truth which is illicitly and irrationally involved indefensible; it is not even defended, whether in the Circular or elsewhere.
Thus meretriciously and meaninglessly dividing testable truth from religious arenas, the ministry of morals (for this is implicit in its depictions) continues to give a groundless basis to the indoctrinated mass of youth.
This is not only omission, it is commission, a thing of lawless loathing, making laws where logic dare not and does not follow, vacuous and evacuated from public confrontation, despite many an appeal.
It is also useless. Let us return to the original concept of the letter writer noted. If you try to INSTIL MORALS (whether directly or indirectly by prohibitions and prescriptions), there is always the need to answer one telling question. Let us put it into dialogue with the imaginary minister and a student.
M: Now my young friend, this is how you are to regard life, with moral understanding and sensitivity. For example, there are some things that are complete no-nos.
S: Oh really, you mean like not smoking pot, since you deny yourself the dreams of youth needlessly.
M: No, you have it the wrong way around. Such as smoking pot, since it may induce schizophrenia in the long run, and there are statistics ...
S: Oh come on old man. Statistics are for mathematicians. I thought you were a minister of morals, and that you would show me WHY I should do this or that, or not do the other.
M: WHY ? Is it not enough that you might damage the only equipment for life you can get ?
S: Enough. Why in all good business, there is risk. If we were afraid of something that MAY happen if we seize the opportunity of a life-time, then we would never live.
M: Live ? Is madness life ?
S: Not exactly, but the bargain to keep on silly old living a bit longer in this state by denying the one we want in the interim, is a calculated risk for a desired payload.
M: What if your eventual payload is one you cannot pay ?
S: What if I do not mind taking risks when the result is enough: how many businessmen do precisely that.
M: Listen, if you do not structure your life on sound principles, you will be like a would-be Olympic athlete, not bothering to train.
S: Ah, but I DO train as well, and this is merely one of my outlets. Otherwise, I might die of boredom and be listless because of lack of motivation.
It goes on and on, simply because you logically cannot base an OUGHT on a FACT.
What happens is not, and cannot be, the ground of what ought to happen; description cannot become prescription. Obligation may be punishment-protected, but that is not morals. It does not make it something you ought to do, even in theory, in fact merely adding to the inhibitions.
A Minister of Morals would lack the motivation elements of REALITY, ultimate reality, not even having it at his professional disposal or address, like those who are to teach classes and deny in advance, as in South Australian Government schools, the concept of rational reality and assured ultimate truth as a result.
There would be no structure but stricture, no ground but statistics, no fealty but to a dream which might or might not be of interest, but would in any case, subjectively grounded have subjective appeal or not. It would be like suggesting that maybe 2+2, in the eyes of some people could be 4, but that there was no question of actually knowing it, or applying it; yet if one were to take it so, it could be very useful.
To the drug infested, socially congested, often molested mind of youth this is not merely an insult, but an assault. It does not answer, and it incorporates an irrational answer from the outset.
Thus there is needed a STRUCTURE for MORALS, a BASIS and a GROUND, an APPEAL as to why one should do them. Hitler had power for an hour and some might think it worth it, disdaining all dangers as if these were just trifles for the masterful manifestation of power, thus making one's party or group a dominant and surviving thing for a time - and who knows what might then happen.
On such a line, force is the thing, self is the centre, and thus what is BEST for all is irrelevant. Struggle, survive and arrive! that is the thing.
This ignorant substitute for thought about what reality actually is, inhibited by rule and excluded from result by curriculum chant, is a banal and asinine thing.
Whether as here and now occurs, what is a political papacy in some elements, or whether it be in the setting of an imaginary Minister of Morals, provided for professional specialist teachers, the activity as inadequate as walking in the clouds, with no ground either permitted nor prescribed for one's feet.
The GROUND of morals is essential psychologically as well as logically. The REAL myth and legend, it is that truth is not known and we know it and tell it and require this as truth to be taught: the actual truth about man and his life and his ways and his origin and his destiny and his Maker and his meaning. No one knows, they chant, and this is what it is.
How ludicrous such an imposture and how illicit such propaganda.
NOT TURNING OFF THE LIGHT AT THE SCHOOL DOOR
There is then a need for a structure, something like a skeleton to hold the contents in place, and to give them support; and there is need of a ground to stand on, for the skeleton, and for a design for the skeletal features, so that it is composed and not merely unstable.
Morals need basis, and the basis must stand.
We have seen that when logic is remorselessly pursued, without the inhibitions of desire or the proclamations of irrationality, it leads to the Bible and this to the Lord*1 .
Logic is not left like a child, bereft and muddled, but when given rein, finds both consistent ground and application. The ultimate reason is not missing, and irrationality does not govern. Indeed, when you require what is adequate for the result known as the universe, you look not in vain but come to the word of command, inscribed in the DNA, and to that in the Bible, both testable. You study the meaning of the symbols, the former in engineering and growth, the latter in purpose and structure. Nothing lacks, all coheres and man without meaning is just a muddle of defective thought. Man without meaning is merely a cultural cliché, cluttering as an alien fragment, the domain of reason and revelation, which is one of the ultimate harmonies of life, as has been shown in the above reference.
Man without meaning exists only in the mind of man*2A who is dissociated from his source, bereft of his basis, when like many others confused or rebellious, he tends to ape his error in life, as in thought; yet not wholly. Man in ANY diseased condition tends to pay, sooner or later, as the thing exhibits all its dimensions. A latent cancer may cause little trouble for many moons, but mooning around without treating it is not meaningless, just unwise. The results of what is not done but needed - by omission, and the continuation with what is - but not to be desired, by neglect, is ruinous planning and fatal for life. It disrupts after it disturbs and leads to decease after it has won.
The need for youth to have itself grounded is not less vital than this bodily case, but more. The God of eternity must be faced and cannot be hidden; and if not before, then in judgment.
The pathos of hiding the disease with pollutions of philosophy and putting this in governmental authority is one of the most hideous actions of education, whether with Hitler or in Australia, where no physical duress, only educational and procedural is involved.
If it is not the function of a secular school to give religion, it is assuredly not its function to defile it, or to attempt to decree it into a flimsy falsehood of irrational fantasy, and bind this as a basis for teaching, as is here the case.
ALL must be examined and ALL must be in vogue and in order, in the interests of pursuing truth, and the use of authority to defile educational liberty is a hideous blemish on a former democracy.
Yet some may say: If the people want to elect a government which defiles religion in this way, this is STILL democracy.
Is it ? Statistically yes, but when a government elected freely abolishes in the young the means, at schools, of expressing it in certain ways, such as logically, and instils a philosophy which it insists on doing without competition, then this is not education any longer, but authoritarian imposition. This is using power to reduce liberty by distorting reality in the potential voters to come, and hence is an abuse of political power in the interests of the current holder of it. Democracy must allow for the opposition to develop, and tyrannising in this way to its detriment is truncated democracy. Indeed, truth needs neither such such propagandising cartoons nor violent harpoons, misusing the power of the hour for the gluttonous gains of vainglory. What is not true finds no rest, and seeks the illicit as a child scratches eczema.
The point is the same in a Moslem land. Suppose now that, as in Iraq, a government is elected most of which is Moslem, then that is democracy ? Potentially yes. Suppose now that ALL schools MUST present Islam as right, all opposition to it as wrong, and this or that philosophy of force is instilled by government decree. Does this allow for opposition to the current will of the people to develop and challenge ? Most assuredly not: it uses current power to prevent future change.
Of course if you DEFINE DEMOCRACY to mean that any elected government can do as it wishes, then your definition is time-oriented: it occurs ONCE and then is gone. Obviously, this is not a CONDITION of democracy, but a phase of it.
If you want a Christian or an Islamic state, to impose it, then to that extent it is not a simple democratic thing, but a religiously bounded one. That is possible, but there needs to be no confusion about what you are doing, and in education, no pretence. It is not free. If however you permit reasoning without penalty, direct or indirect, in a given milieu of current preference, and do not BIND on thought the openings, a thing for which Britain became justly famous in its day, then you do not preclude opposition.
Democracy is not just a phase. If, as in the instance of the Bible, as shown in *1, the case is rationally impregnable and right, then the permission of efforts to show the contrary is one of its grandest points, for it may show to the academic, the hideous fallacy which he often propounds; and so light is not shut off at the school door. It is only in such cases as that in South Australia now, where the hideous fantasies concerning religion and the path of science are inextricably interwoven in the gobbledygook of the Circular to Principals, and the matter is suppressed continually from open debate or open answer, that corruption arrives. It is not the poke which matters, but the authoritarian force which sets out to silence the reply, whether in schools, or in public debate.
But let us turn from such debased proceedings - not because of the error so much as because of the force misapplied to secure its seductions on the unprotected and the silenced. Always, we must remember, it is not the MOTIVE which is crucial, but what is done, when violence occurs. Manslaughter, or child-slaughter is still death...
BUILDING NOT A MODEL BUT MAN
Let us then consider now the child, the youth as developing. He or she needs truth, liberty to find it and not philosophic pap brought in, ill-conceived and self-contradictory.
If there is liberty to differ, and liberty to find. In a religious household (which unlike the Government case here, may be Christian), then liberty is not removed, even though in the formative stage of youth, there is a prescription as to whether there will be family prayers, and whether the Bible is to be studied. There is however no duress if a family member wishes to believe otherwise.
What is essential is this, that the child be given access to structure, ground for morals, reason for faith, opportunity without defilement to find. From the viewpoint of building (and obviously it is the Designer who builds by DNA and allied commands, for that is what they are, in some areas), there is a series of options. Foundation may be sought or actually found. This is helpful in all building.
Then there would be structure to the thing called man: and biblically (since we have shown as in *1 and often, that this is the objective design parameter) there is no other foundation which is laid but Jesus Christ, and operationally, this is as Christ and Him crucified, yes rather risen. Life must face death and its overthrow first in raising the dead, on the part of Christ, with such effect that the authorities thought of killing the one raised a second time, for publicity purposes (John 12:10 cf. 11:48ff.). Without solution to that, you do not even understand life, far less have any hold on it.
There is nothing left but a distorted, pseudo-meaningless muddle and mess for exploitation by milling man; but then, if you remove the structure of mathematics from engineering, you get something similar. this is not the case there; but if it were, we would not be what we are, since created things are responsible and potentially responsive to the Creator of order, mind and man.
To imagine things partly true and partly false is merely an intellectual exercise in fraud, and that it leads to impossible results is predictable, as well as actual.
Into the INTELLIGENCE of the child, then, must be not only the means of reasoning, but its result. To be sure, this is to be received by faith, since liberty of the will*2 is no trifle, but indeed the very foundation for sin and the necessary preliminary for love, whether of God or any other. The young need to know where to go to find structure. There is a strange disease of the bones which tends to reduce their strength, and to abase their structural soundness, so that to the extreme, one could imagine some poor, afflicted person reduced to wriggling like a worm on the floor. This has certainly an element of humour, but the nature of the disease is no more humorous physically than it is spiritually: YET it is instructive.
To stand spiritually and morally, rationally and personally, man needs a structure and not merely a stricture. It needs arrangement and to be of stiff stuff, not merely symbolic, for symbols convey meaning, not people, they indicate but do not in themselves operate.
The STRUCTURE for faith involves, as all else in man, commandments, but it does not concern commandments ONLY. There is the structure for MEANING and the liberty for RESPONSE.
Unlike the DNA case, there is room for perceiving and not doing, understanding and negative option. In this case, that of man without meaning*2A, the structure, so necessary, is missing and various alternative forms or formulations, distressingly inadequate and logically unsound, operate (cf. News 19). In such cases, people invent their own morals, of necessity without foundation, since they are based on themselves or their options, the latter being mere exports of their liberty into prepared formulations; while they themselves remain unbased. False gods, based likewise on nothing, do not help at all, but merely add to the profusion of confusion (cf. SMR Ch. 10). Indeed, they not only create illusions of freedom, in some cases, but in all, artificial life is a ludicrous in conception with facile limitations for those rejecting actuality, which is far freer and more functional, and has the advantage of not being in collision with the Maker.
To this structure, of which the 10 commandments and the Sermon on the Mount are to be found as part, there is the next requisite for the building of man, not meretricious substitute, but actual man as designed. This is THE ATTITUDE.
It is never enough to have mere structure, vital as it is. When once a child or youth being built, faces structure, it is at once apparent that the attitude to that structure, and indeed to all else, is crucial. The Maginot Line, in France, it seems, was a truly magnificent structure, stories deep, equipped superbly; but the attitude to it was wrong. It was trusted in to the point that strategic thinking appears to have been absurdly lacking, making invasion simple; and of course, at length it happened, discourtesy of Hitler.
The attitude to the structure is vital. Jesus indicated that many sought for eternal life in the scriptures, but although they certified Him as the tested, testable and attested Messiah, they would not come to Him (John 5:39-40). The attitude in this case was by no means simply negative; it was merely artificial. It was all talk, all appearance, like giving long prayers and using religion for material gain, as exhibited by Christ in Matthew 23. The attitude then has to be right not less than the structure.
What is a 'right' attitude ? It is one which correctly evaluates the structure, and indeed the nature of the person who has it, that is oneself. What is a right attitude to the structure in this case ? It is one which realises its nature, worth and origin, and in the fear of God and without any fear of man, whose breath is in his nostrils (Isaiah 2:22), acts within it. What is this 'fear of God' ? It is not only compatible with love, but in this instance, requisite for it. If you do not have a reverential regard for God as infinitely wiser than you are, and of great and delightful power, then of course you do not even understand the structure of morals and principles. You see them in the wrong light. You regard them as options or incitations or even mere exhortations, and regard your rental contract as far more demanding.
This is a form of spiritual madness (Hosea 9:7). Our bodies are not optional, nor is the moral structure which is the WHAT to do with the HOW it is done: it is what underlies it.
What is wisdom ? it is to fear God and to keep His commandments, says Solomon. This is not at all to delimit love or the basis of the motivation for keeping; but it is to bring out one point very masterfully. If you do not see God for the One who He is, then of course, His word has no binding force on you, and your whole structure is re-manufactured in brittle clay, with merely a formal resemblance to the actual and necessary one for operational felicity and safety!
The attitude indeed needs to recognise far more than this, but this is in outline only. You thus appreciate the structure, even delight in it, and are THANKFUL for it.
Then you need heart. We have spoken much of structure, but this in the context of the merely moral minister which you may recall, was being suggested through a letter in the newspaper. The attitude to be right, as it must be, even in sport, applies to the coaching and the means; and here it relates God Himself. Then, however, the heart has first of all to be THERE!
There is in our current society, world-wide, a trend for many to become what might be called wire-brains. They are purpose built people whose desire is money, position, prestige, acceptance with the 'right' (defined) people and security. Morals do not exist, except in the twinges of disregarded conscience. Their sights are set, their wires throb with messages of only pragmatic kind, whether in business or marriage. Does it help ? will it help ? will it meet the specifications of the pre-set prupose and program for life ? Heart is irrelevant, even a monstrosity, a weakness.
There is no heart.
THE HEART is essential, and its absenteeism in man makes merely for a debasement so horrible as to become a sort of standard for hell. If you do not have heart, not only morals but a particular sort of approach reasonably centred; if a person lacks something which does not start with oneself and end with one's desiderata, or those of some mere group of created beings, then of course there is idolatry. Here is merely the setting of self or chosen surrogate, in the place of God, and here the ultimate to be gained, is not the ultimate in fact. This is delusion, adult fairy tale. True desire cannot omit the truth. Fictional desire must face it, when the clouds subside.
Not only must there however be a functional heart, but it must be accessible to truth. Thus what man is FOR, the love, service and knowledge of God and the love of his neighbour as himself, may lead from time to time, as in this country, to various national results which, although often twisted or delimited, do attest something. The enormous giving to charity is but one example, regard for the weak or the old, these things seem to have taken considerable hold in this land, to its great gain. They are inadequate as a structure, but bear some resemblance to elements in it; they do not make healthy what is sick, but at least they attest what health requires.
Thus if one is a wire-brain, and the demands of culture move one to make certain concessions, then these too in the end may even become a fraudulent attestation to one's neighbours (see section X in the model, for this) and for self-esteem (see section Y in the model, for that), and so on. This is by no means to suggest that this is all it is; quite the contrary, but even this MAY be subsumed in the fatal facade of unreality which many use, and if not in whole, then in part.
This requires us to consider THE CONTENTS OF THE HEART.
This, in any sustainable and worthwhile structure, includes love, and truth, and understanding, and compassion and responsibility and reliability and courage and faith, peace and joy. These things can also be given worthless substitutes, but they do not have the same effect on blood pressure or on bonds. WHY love ? Because firstly God made you and it is He and not you, who is the criterion. Secondly, it is because in addition to due regard for WHAT HE MADE like you, in His image, there is His word which DEMANDS that you do this.
Yet someone may say, HOW on earth COULD I love ? Do I command it then ?
This is an attitude of the heart, and if you reject it, then you do not fear God, with whom nothing shall be called impossible.
But why should you WANT it ? for selfish purposes, to pass muster with God ?
That approach presupposes a God whose desire is that you pass muster and who simply requires this, One who is not one interested in the heart. On the contrary, as you see right from early times, as in the selection of young David as a king to be, it is on the heart that the Lord looks (II Samuel 16:7). It says these words, as Samuel looks at one possible choice for king to be:
"But the LORD said to Samuel,
'Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature,
because I have refused him.
For the LORD does not see as man sees;
for man looks at the outward appearance,
but the LORD looks at the heart.' "
The nature of the person called man is at the ultimate, to be seen for what it is, and as Proverbs instructs us, the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord by which He beholds the innermost being (Proverbs 20:27). It is NOT some formulation, it is NOT some construction, it is what man ACTUALLY IS, that matters, his motivations, his motives, is mind, His purpose, his thrust, his underlying nature, the character of his spirit.
What is the good of having good wheels if the driver is an ass ?
What is the good of having impressed the police, if you smash the car ?
What is the use of being noted as a grand driver if you lose consciousness in dreaming, swept in the current of foolish dreams ?
The heart is the centre of operations and the final basis in man for his ways, the cord of his spirit and the lair of his life. Very well, then it should love God since love is what He is (I John 4:8): that is, there is in God a fundamental reality so striking that nothing is permitted to compromise it or qualify it in any way whatsoever. It is required of his creation in His image, man, and if man opts for something else, citing the degeneration of things in the curse, then this is merely to provoke evil and seek curse. To follow bad examples is never any excuse (cf. Romans 8:18ff., Romans 5:1-12*3 ).
The third reason why love should be part of the contents of and communion in the heart is this, that God took the ultimate action of love (love always acts in some way, and seeks that it may be adequate). He did this, in calling forth from His own resources His eternal word (Micah 5:1-3, Isaiah 49:1-6, John 1:1-14, 5:19ff., Hebrews 1), and so sent Him as the ultimate and definitive expression of Himself, to man. Having done this, and having predicted it in detail for more than a millenium progressively and in detail as refined as the date*4 : God acted finally. He acted effectually. He acted in the culmination of what had been cumulatively exposed, and now was made manifest.
This Son came as a servant, indicative of love, and not satisfied with this, came to serve as a sin-offering, to bear the result of sin for those who would receive Him as Saviour and Lord (in heart and not merely in mouth - Matthew 7:21ff.), and so rely on His word (as in Matthew 7:24ff.). In fact, He even designated those who do not follow His word as those who build on the sand - not really a good foundation, and one only in name!
In the strength of this love, however, He made it clear that receiving Him by faith in this way meant that the result was assured, and that the one who heard His words and believed in Him who sent Him would not only be saved, not come into condemnation, but would already be in the domain that is invulnerable, that of eternal life, and would be raised up on the last day (John 6:50ff., 5:24).
In the wisdom of this love, He also demonstrated that death would be dealt a mortal blow, and so die, since after all it was a judgment and He came to bear judgment and to deliver from the fear of death (Hebrews 2), by raising various people from the dead, notably his friend Lazarus after 4 days (John 11), so creating an insuperable problem for the superficial priests and others who desired not to know God, if not in so many words, then in spirit, and thus in action! You see in this just how much the heart matters!
Not satisfied with this, as if to show that it was not only that someone COULD do these things, but that the invisible God could do them even on His own Sacrifice for sin, Jesus Christ, and raise Him by His Holy Spirit, God raised Christ. This He predicted in Psalm 16, and it applied to all His people as in Isaiah 26:19, and was of course presupposed in Psalm 2 and Psalm 22.
Christ predicted it repeatedly as a criterion (as in Matthew 16-17), and this obvious contempt for the powers and plans of man was one of the exhibits of the sovereign divine power. Thus, despite the long prediction of what He would do, and all the power of Rome and of Israel, at the official level for various and not least 'survival' reasons given to securing the termination of this Jesus Christ (cf. John 11:48). Yet one and all, they failed to keep His body which walked out on them. It was marred, marked as to its site by friend and foe alike, marshalled under police protection, secured by structural additive, and was as putty before the knife.
But God acted. In the heart, in the head, in the hand of man, God simply overwhelms when the liberty of truth is involved. At times, it happens as centuries of misrule disappear; but on this occasion, it happened where it was stated, on the third day. Time was under duress; death was under sentence by innocence, and man was to be delivered from the sentence on guilt accordingly, as many as received Him; for though God has power, love is not a function of mere power.
The realities strike relentlessly, remorselessly, but man is never forced to believe, a contradiction in terms! Love is like that. I Corinthians outlines some of its soaring graces, which mini-man, not just small, but wilfully diminutive, intoxicated with passion to demolish, continually breaches.
Thus the soldiers were stunned by the work of God, the boulder moved by His power, the body raised by His dynamic and the evacuation was on the third day as planned.
Instead of constituting a Lenin-type residue for viewing in death, Jesus Christ became the centre of the faith which requires LOVE in the HEART, love such as God had shown in allowing such a sacrifice of One so willing (as in Psalm 40), so masterful and so pure, His only begotten Son, who came by this manner as foretold (cf. Matthew 1:21).
Gratitude and realism alike, delight and incandescent appreciation together, all acclaim what He has done, and where this is within one, where faith receives Him, then love is the result. Moreover, if it is love of Him, then it is to be love of one's neighbour as oneself and of the brethren of the household of faith especially, since these are not only created by God, like the rest, but redeemed by His sacrifice of love (I John 4, Galatians 6:10).
Later we will see that those who are PLANTED (Isaiah 61:3, cf. Matthew 15:13), have many fruits from the connection with God.
Meanwhile, in order, we realise that also necessary as the child and youth grow,
THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD.
Since God is personal, as shown in SMR, it is necessary to know Him AS personal. This is not to be done by ignoring His will, ways and wisdom. Rather is it to be found by seeking His face:
as a cat may seek one's face when on one's lap, by seeking His mind,
as a student may seek that of a tutor, by seeking His counsel,
as a businessman may seek that of an accountant, by ascertaining what He has
as a lover may do in reading love letters, by discovering the ways of His
as a trainee may do with the master craftsman, by wondering at Him
and seeking to understand Him in everything, as a child may do with his father.
Yet it is here obviously unique in its mode and these figures are mere introductions to the wonder of His wisdom and the glorious privilege that comes when one actually, and in practice, does KNOW Him, more closely than any friend, and find Him reliability itself, as faithful to His word as the sun to its arising, only more so; for this may cease, but He does not change (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8, Psalm 102, cf. Sparkling Life ... Ch. 4, SMR Ch. 1, Worn-Out World and the Coming King Ch. 1).
HOW WOULD YOU change if time were a mere invention of yours (Romans 8:38-39), knowledge from beginning to end were yours (Isaiah 44:6ff., 48:3, 46:10) and all power was invested in you, so that the things that change do so by virtue of limitation and designation, but you are without end or beginning, under no constraint and operate entirely as you wish! Would you not see what was to be desired, and be it ? Would you turn from it by unwisdom when wisdom was yours ? Would you fail to find it if all power were yours ? or indeed, would you opt for being different things when all things were before you, all knowledge, nothing lacking ? Would perfection opt for change, or fulfilment desire unfulfilment ?
To be sure, God DID out of the love which does NOT change, declare and perform His great act of putting His own eternal word into a condition of vulnerability, that it might achieve His set and unchanging purpose (cf. Revelation 13:8, Ephesians 1:4). That is voluntary and did not change His character or compromise His glory. Rather did it illustrate it in practice; and thus He fulfilled what He declared long before He did it, with the results in the Gospel (Isaiah 52-53) also predicted long before the basis was actually accomplished (cf. Luke 9:31, John 19:30).
To know this personal Being in an intimate and friendly fashion (James 2:23, John 15:14) is more valuable than water to the thirst-craving throat, since that is an episode, and this an essence, that an event, this an eventuality, that a need, this the basis of all principles, the beginning of all meaning and the end of all incompleteness (Ephesians 1:6). Moreover, when He is received, it is not that in all things one has attained already (Philippians 3:12); but there is growth in Him as a branch in the vine or a tree in its ground, and this is excitingly adventurous and a joy to wisdom, a glory to vision which beholds Him (Matthew 11:27). So it continues until the final time comes (Philippians 3:20-21).
Small wonder than that Jeremiah was so filled with delight in KNOWING GOD (Jeremiah 9:25-26)! To become intimately involved with His creations, such as the Canadian Rockies, Niagara Falls, this is a wonder; but to KNOW the Maker, this is the very fashion of desire and the very heart of love, since this is His own insuperable nature.
Nor is this as if one were reading a book, for just as we have spirit (cf. SMR pp. 348ff., and *2 below), so He who IS Spirit (John 4), sends His Spirit to enjoin us as sap flowing into the STRUCTURE of the vine, and making it FUNCTIONAL and apt for fruitage. This makes of it more than observation, and less than automation, for in this is that glorious combination of liberty and instruction, access and insight, investigation and discovery with revelation and gift! Thus no less is necessary as we see the child, youth growing to maturity than THE SPIRIT OF GOD, in the heart. To this theme, we shall return.
This is highly personal, but then God is personal; yet there is also the need of THE COVENANT IN CHRIST, as splendid and acutely strong and staid as an oak, basic to any basis, and incorporated in all knowledge of God (John 14:6, Matthew 26:26ff., Galatians 6:16). Without Christ as Saviour there is NO KNOWLEDGE of God, but at most mere fragments and feelings, responses and hopes. It is moreover by Christ's WILL that one finds God (Matthew 11:27), and while it is His desire that all should be reconciled and come to the knowledge of God (I Timothy 2), it is by His ACTION and deed that any actually find Him.
Divine favour is towards the finding of Him, but nothing is fudged nor does mere petulance or thrusting of the will find Him, for no one can come to Him except the Father draw that person, nor unless it be granted by the Father with whom the co-operation of Christ is both intimate and infinite (John 10:30, 5:19ff., Philippians 2, John 6:65); for His willingness is one thing, and the outcome is another.
NO ONE, and this is fundamental to both the covenant and the knowledge of God, WILL BE EXCLUDED except on one ground that in the very face of this love of God (as in John 3:16), who sent Christ NOT that the world should be condemned, but that it might be saved (John 3:17), there is a preference for darkness which is the stated ground of exclusion, even in view of the clearest conceivable divine intimations of the scope of His outgoing love toward man (Titus 2-3, Colossians 1:19ff.).
That very preference for God in man, it is not a mere oddment of psychological permutations and combinations, but in the light of the Eternal God and His eternal salvation as desired by Him for all, is the very knowledge and foreknowledge of God who knows how to transcend the tedium of time and the trials of persecutions, with the very intervention of truth, specific, spiritual and final in kind. God is no more limited with man, than with anything or anyone else, and His restraint is no more an index to weakness, than is a father's protection for his daughters in a social storm.
The COVENANT then, specifically in the blood of Christ for the remission of sins, as in Matthew 26:26ff., is an unchangeable (Galatians 1, Ephesians 1:10), and ultimate accomplishment, the end of a path of preliminaries (Hebrews 8-10, 1:1-3), and is that designed from the foundation of the world, and enacted in its divinely known results, not by intrusion but by exclusion of what is not conformable to truth, before our passing times were invented! (Ephesians 1:4). Here is the eternal truth available to man, child and youth.
This then is another essential in the growing child and youth, to have it firmly placed with the foundation (I Corinthians 3:10ff.), for no other is possible or to come. It is this or nothing (John 8:24), and this Jesus is the same for ever, and judge of all men (Acts 17:31, John 5:19ff.). Indeed, to save as to judge, it is His right and authority by virtue of His infinite nature (Philippians 2), His immeasurable suffering in the form of man, just as man is to be judged (Hebrews 2), according to truth (Romans 2:1ff.), and in terms of the unalterable fact that the Remedy for his condition, Jesus Christ,, the eternal Word of God incarnate once and for all (I Tim. 3:16, John 1:1-14, Micah 3:1-5), is given in LOVE TO THE WORLD THAT WHOEVER WILL may come.
This is a thing wrought to completion and perfection in the wisdom of God. If your Judge has done all for your very redemption, offering it freely, then judgment has lost its fears (Hebrews 2); unless in addition to asking for it by sin, you seek it out by refusing even this redemption! (John 3:19).
This covenant is then from everlasting to everlasting (Jeremiah 1, Lamentations 3:33, John 10:9,27-28, Romans 5:1-12, 8:29ff.), and once a man is justified, he assuredly will be glorified as Romans 8 indicates, a glorification which as in Romans 8:17 is a matter of being heirs with Christ (as in Galatians 3:29 also, with Ephesians 1:11, clearest possible statements). Thus promise and premiss, knowledge and operational felicity combine in one mighty thrust, like the dazzling display of giant waterfalls, with the rainbow of mercy assured, above the marvels of water below.
With this Covenant, built from the foundation, there is, to regard the life in its LIVING reality, another necessary feature, which is not merely desired or required, but impossible to divorce from the God-planted tree (cf. Matthew 15:13): it is THE FRUITAGE. Galatians 5 tells us frankly and freely what it is, and what it is not.
There is no easy way, just as a tree needs fertiliser and water, yes and pruning, when things like 'sports' or shoots come from the original base (as with orange trees grafted on a lime tree base), and these must be ruthlessly excised, so that the stock, the orange in this case, is not compromised at all. Yet there is a sure way, to be PLANTED BY GOD in the first place, and to BELIEVE in Him according to His covenant in Christ's blood , in the second. Then failure is impossible, fruit being from God who does not lie (Titus 1), and life cannot be breached any more, when death itself lies vacant, overthrown in power by love, for mercy's sake (Titus 3:5-7, Romans 5:1ff., 8:38-39).
Equally impossible for the pure stock, is to glory in what is NOT the Cross of Christ (that vast planned work in the love of the heart of God Almighty, to bring the Eternal Word of God to die for sin, and to rise to obliterate the power of death, in the resurrection of His body as in Isaiah 26:19), when that last day comes! (John 6:50ff.). Indeed, even now, this is central to all glorying, for without it, only judgment remains, and by it, by Him who died and rose, death's sublime and permanent escapee by virtue of divine power and grace, life eternal thus rises, full of grace, resting in truth, rejoicing in mercy.
Thus He who created, has re-created, and He who commanded the universe into being by His word, has commanded light in the hearts of those who know Him, life impregnable in the careers of those who find Him. Those whom He funds, never cease, for He who is their Redeemer, who was dead, is alive for evermore (Revelation 1:18-19, Matthew 20:28, John 6:50ff., 11:25-26, 4:14).
Thus we even have travelling instructions for the assigned destiny in our Father's House (John 14:1-10, 10:9,27-28). This can succinctly be taken from a sermon on this page, as below. It is dealing with Galatians 5.
WALK IN THE SPIRIT, say Paul. Then the desires of mere bits and pieces of your being will not be satisfied, but the righteous living for all of you, spirit and mind, body and soul, in the Lord. Actually, he proceeds, there is a war on, that of flesh versus spirit, the former filled with every sort of uncleanness, like fornication and adultery, lewdness and idolatry, the spiritual poison, murder and drunkenness, rioting and being riotous, all lost to the dead end syndrome. The spiritual walk however is filled with joy, peace, goodness, temperance and love, faithfulness, goodness: things against which there is no law! As you LIVE IN THE SPIRIT, so does He work (Gal. 5:25).
III Conclusion: CRUCIFIED with CHRIST 5:24-26
If you are Christ's, says Paul, then there is a basis for this spiritual action and divergence. It is this: YOU HAVE BEEN CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST. How can you BE HIS, when you abhor His way, ignore His place and do not take up your Cross to follow Him ? Luke 14 tells us the answer to this: it is impossible. Nail by nail, your former nature has to be despatched: that old nature an abhorred residue which humbles you by trying to affront and assault you. It is however one which you provide as victim for the cross, identified in this with Christ (I Cor. 9:26-27, Galatians 2:20). Here, Paul is not only crucified with Christ (in Greek it shows a permanent state, already present, reaffirmed continually as the call comes), but declares,
"The life that I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me."
FAITH WORKS by love! (Galatians 5:6).
Romans 8 tells us that those who are Christ's have life given to their mortal bodies, through His indwelling Spirit, by whom they “put to death the deeds of the flesh." To be “spiritually minded,” he proceeds, is "life and peace". You do not merely hope these things; you work out your own salvation WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING (Philippians 2), not fear of being lost (I John 5:11ff.), but of failing to satisfy God by indifference, carnality or self-satisfaction, like a lost cause.
If, however, you MEET and KNOW God, it is far more than a triple heart bypass operation; it is the road for re-institution of the heart in His ways, and if you move into His covenant, it is an eternal result, wrought in time with divinely engendered regeneration (John 3, 1-10, Titus 3:5-7) and its undimmed vitality.
The SPIRIT of God is vitally far more real - bringing Christ to your whole being, than any tonic, pep talk or exhortation; for HE LIVES within you, constraining, enabling, refreshing (Colossians 1:27). You have to, indeed are moved to STIR up the gifts given to you, SEEK His face continually (Psalm 27), WAIT on Him closely, SEEK His face as a dog His master, YEARN for His wisdom as one who learns constantly, PRIZE Him above all, and rejoice in His resurrection (I Cor. 15). That, it is also a criterion of current power (Ephesians 1:19), so that what you now have by ACCESS in current trial, then you will have by DYNAMIC PROCESS in future state, yes in the twinkling of an eye: now converted, then transformed even in body. Meanwhile then, resist the devil and by faith, relish the work and power of God in you, so that you may abound in goodwill, grace, love, in peace of heart and holiness of living.
Lastly, in this brief survey of the growing child, youth, to the fulness of maturity in godly manhood or womanhood, there is the function that rejoices the heart, that of THE LIFE WHICH IS LED BY THE LORD. Paul declares in Romans 8:16, that as many as are led by the Spirit of the Lord, these are the children of the Lord.
To be sure, the context is that of overcoming temptation and relying on Him in a practical fashion so that one may be fashioned by Him and moved to become and grow into what is His will. Yet this 'leading' is also in the context of being HEIRS of God, and moves into the undismissible dynamic of the love of God, from which Paul is assured, nothing will separate him or his fellow Christians (Romans 8:29ff., 37ff.).
This is not least because He has so predestinated those justified; but it is also because that is the very nature of covenantal love. It always comes true in the end, even, in the national and hence diverse case of Israel, in that nation's restoration (as in Ezekiel 36ff., and shown in SMR Appendix A, It Bubbles ...Chs. 10 -1 1, Galloping Events Ch. 4 and many other places - see Index).
Paul himself, though assuredly an apostle, is an example (I Corinthians 11:1, Philippians 4:9), and the leading of the Lord is not bound (Psalm 78:41), but it is illustrated in many ways, sometimes in the moral and spiritual quality of one's life (as in Romans 8), sometimes in the leading as a horse is guided (Psalm 32), so beautifully illustrated in Acts 13, and 16, as for that matter in II Samuel 5:17ff., in detail. Since Christ is alive, but also unchanging, the same today, yesterday and forever (Heb. 13:8), then living action is His affair, and none can ask of God, What are you doing! Isaiah 45:6-10 illustrates this:
" I am the Lord, and there is no other;
I form the light and create darkness,
I make peace and create calamity;
I, the Lord, do all these things.
"Rain down, you heavens, from above,
And let the skies pour down righteousness;
Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation,
And let righteousness spring up together.
I, the Lord, have created it.
"Woe to him who strives with his Maker!
Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth!
Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
Or shall your handiwork say, ‘He has no hands’?
"Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What are you begetting?’
Or to the woman, ‘What have you brought forth?’ "
As one finds, both in such spiritual healing cases*5 as that of Elsie Salmon (cf. SMR pp. 339), and such persecutory cases as one's own life has in some measure exhibited, God is the God of the impossible, and naturally, just as an author can touch his book, so He at will can and does touch this creation, often in ways spectacular, commonly in ways less easily transcribable, yet still describable, and no less wonderful. The secret of the Lord, as the Psalm declares, is with those who fear Him! (Psalm 25:14), and "He will show them His covenant", and this He surely does, in practice, in meaning and in application!
So great are these privileges in those who know them, that you can hear this or that saint saying,
I do not know how I would get along, or live without Him!
It would feel like 'getting along' indefinitely under water, without a snorkel!
All of this, then, forms a part of the child, youth who becomes mature man or woman of God.
Here is the practical exhibit of the working of the ETERNAL TRUTH of the LIVING GOD, as a potter works with clay, when he does not throw away the deformed fragments, but having set his heart, makes his mould.
In our case, it is made and called and worked freely, so that one delights as does a loving horse (some are treacherous, it is true, but a faithful horse is a wonder to have!), in his master, in the bond, in the beauty of the whole living assemblage. This joy can be both in Him who guides and in the one guided, who yet must not stumble, but watch the way and make felicity out of function, an endearing challenge indeed! (cf. Philippians 2:15-16).
LIVING IN THE SPIRIT is thus coming into focus as we consider NOT A MODEL BUT A MAN or WOMAN. Thus in Galatians 5:25 declares:
"If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
To LIVE in the Spirit does NOT mean NOT to do EVERYTHING in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, for precisely that is what is COMMANDED (Colossians 3:17, Ephesians 5:19). The matter is complementary, not contradictory, but it is sure.
His name is only name in which we are saved and may act (Acts 4:11-12); for there is one Lord, just as there is one faith, and it is at the name of Jesus that every knee will bow (Philippians 2). Thus it is He who is given a name above every other name, and for man the only name under heaven for his salvation; and thus has man his entry point, his point of rest, of authority and divine mandate.
To live in the Spirit does mean that one is to be aware that not only is the NAME of Jesus Christ, the person Himself, the way of access to the Father, but this access is by one Spirit (Ephesians 2:18). Indeed, in Ephesians 3, we learn that Paul is seeking that those in the Ephesians Church might be "strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man", with a special purpose in view. What is that purpose ? It is this:
"so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, that you being rooted and grounded in faith, may be able to comprehend with all the saints, what is the width and length and depth and height - to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God."
The work of the Spirit in the life of the Christian is ALWAYS in the NAME of Christ, for the SAKE of Christ and with the FOCUS on Christ (as in John 16:13-14), whose are all things, so that the Spirit takes the things that are His and brings them, but not on His own authority, so that "He shall glorify Me."
Thus at once, when we are seeking to show the building, not of a model but of man, the man or woman of God, we see the need to avoid reciprocal errors. Firstly, ONLY in and through and for Jesus Christ and in His name is their access and growth and power and provision. Secondly (II Corinthians 3:17), it is His gracious provision that we are not left like orphans (John 14:18), but no single Christian FAILS TO HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT in his heart (Romans 8:9). IF, says Paul, any one does not have the Spirit of God, he is none of His!
Moreover, those who have received the divine atonement by faith without works (Romans 3:23ff.), and trust in Jesus Christ exclusively (Acts 4:11-12), for their salvation, may and should be assured of everlasting life (John 5:24, I John 5:11-12), since what He has done IS done, and finished. When HE ONLY is the subject of trust for people, then there is no possible crucial difficulty (Romans 5:1-12), nor can anything separate them from the love of God then (Romans 8:38-39). These have Christ IN THEM, and FOR THEM (Romans 8:31-32), so that as the apostle declares,
"If God be for us, who can be against us. He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things ? Who shall bring a charge against God's elect ? It is God who justified ... Who shall separate us from the love of Christ!"
The transition is sure and not accidental, for God does not call to write in vain, to His apostle (I Cor. 2:9ff., 14:27).if you are justified you will be glorified (Romans 8:17,30), and are of course numbered in God's elect. This is seen in John 6:50ff. - if you should 'eat' His flesh and 'drink' His blood (John 6:51), then He abides in you and you in Him (John 6:56) , and note the "IN YOU"!
Such live forever, who drink of this water, and they will BY NO MEANS EVER thirst again (the negative, the exclusion of thirst again is emphatic, and double), for they need unlike the Samaritan woman, no daily journey for their water, it being a spring welling up to eternal life, as Christ declared to her.
When this is kept clear, then free indeed is the donation of the blessed power of the Spirit of God (II Corinthians 3:17), as at Pentecost where NOT confused tongues of babble but infused tongues of conspicuous linguistic clarity occurred (Acts 2) enabling those ignorant of the Gospel to audit it, each in his or her own language.
So placed, the believer can move freely without derogation of Christ or the erection of a liberty not of the Spirit, but of lust.
Alas, spiritual healing can be prostituted for selfish purposes, the glorification of some church or group, just as the name of Christ can be abused for political purposes, the incumbency of power - whereas
"My kingdom is not of this world.
If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight..." (John 18:36).
If the Romanists had not forgotten this fact, the history of that body would have been transformed; but the use of spiritual gifts and power for mundane purposes is ever unblessed, being contrary to the word and to the work of the Lord, by His own statement.
Whatever the abuse of power, it has few worse examples than that of the Inquisition, and such other aspirations for control, that are neither spiritual nor Christian nor obedient, but most cruel. If In God, there is , not mere force in a frenzy for 'faith'. The divine One is decisive, but not desperate, knowing the end from the beginning and the way from the first (Isaiah 46:10, Ephesians 1:4). He does not have to guess, for He knows. This makes for great peace, and it is this which He shares in that peace past all understanding of which Paul speaks in Philippians 4:4ff., and Isaiah likewise, in Isaiah 26:1-4, and it is this to which he exhorts later in that chapter.
The power of the Holy Spirit, then, in purity and in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, the WORD of God, whose words are the DIRECTIONS of the LORD, is part of the life of the child, who through youth grows into maturity, and living in the Spirit is like living in the presence of a TV operative, whom you find at work on the screen, bringing into your own home, the desire and work of the STUDIO.
In this analogy the Studio is in heaven, where Christ is to be until His return (as stated explicitly in Acts 3:19ff.), while the work is on earth, and the worker is the Holy Spirit who teaches, illumines, comforts, helps, informs with understanding, enlightens, may cast out devils, bring peace passing all understanding, filling the Lord's people with love, peace and joy as in Galatians 5, and graciousness so that minor and foolish upsets are avoided.
It is possible to grieve the Spirit, as one could grieve one's mother, and to quench the Spirit (( Thessalonians 5:19, Ephesians 4:30), as one could ignore the advice of one's father, in earthly things; but as Christ is forever, and one's life in Him is eternal, it is not possible to lose the link, for as Paul declares, If any man does not have the Spirit of God, he is none of His! and we "have obtained an inheritance" (Ephesians 1:11)
Thus, the man who is more than a model, a living Christian, is build up into the Lord, the Head (and there is only ONE head, and that Lord is Jesus Christ - Ephesians 4:15, Colossians 1:18, for it is not a two-headed monster!), ACCESS is by Christ, control is by Christ, and it brings us TO the Father, and it works THROUGH the Spirit (Ephesians 2:18).
There is no 'liberty' therefore to depart from the written word of God (Matthew 5:17ff., I Cor. 2:9ff., 14:37) in extravanganzas of unreverential worship (against Psalm 89:7), or other shocking and appalling distortions, as is the manner of some. There is however great liberty IN the Lord THROUGH His Spirit to accomplish His WILL, as directed in His word! This liberty involves the availability of ALL THINGS needful for life and godliness, and this by great and precious promises (II Peter 1), which by the power of His Spirit are implemented by supernatural and splendid means.
Avoiding therefore detriment to the name of Jesus Christ, there being no other name given under heaven to man by which he must be saved (Acts 4:11ff.), the Christian is to be yielded to Him as the Head, the only HEAD of the body of His people, so that in all things He, Jesus has the preeminence as is divinely provided (Philippians 2, Colossians 1:18). Thus is the Christian more than model, more than formulation, but one made and formed by regenerative dynamic, into man or woman of God, so the life that is lived is in the splendour of divine grace, the availability of divine power and the singularity of divine access, in Jesus Christ.
Through the blood we draw near (Colossians 1:12-22), and this to the Church meant having FAITH in Him and not some bogus substitute of an unrepentant heart (as in the parable of Matthew 13:20-21), unbroken and uncontrite, merely in the grip of emotion.
By His Spirit we receive the gifts needed for service (not by choice of ours! I Corinthians 12), the power for action and the leading for wisdom, so that the door is Christ and the purveyor is the Spirit who realises in us the work of Christ. This He does, first applying the gift of salvation in our hearts (Ephesians 1:13, John 16:8ff.), and then conducting His people on their way, being sent from the Father by Christ, just as the Father has sent Him in the name of Christ (John 15:26, 14:26).
Thus, filled with His Spirit, the Christian, being led to realise the grandeur of the love of Christ (Ephesians 3), may be filled with all the fulness of God (Ephesians 3:19).
FROM POTENTIAL TO MATURITY,
AND FROM MATURITY
TO THAT DEFT DESIGNATION: DESTINY
Thus, added to the apt potential that is in man, formed in the child, developing in youth to the maturity of manhood or womanhood, we find something much more than dissociated morals, as suggested in the letter to the newspaper, with which we began this Chapter.
There is no mere potential plus convenient additives to give meaning and control and sense and so forth, for the young. It far transcends that, as the heaven the earth.
There is REASON for morals, and with this, in God, a self-consistent basis for reason (cf. It Bubbles ... Ch. 9), a verification of the work of reason (as in SMR Ch. 1), with an exposure of the misuse of reason (SMR Chs, 3, 5) and a parallel exposure of the wonders of harmony providing fortification impregnable. This comes only when reason acknowledges its source and acts in Him (cf. *1 below); and indeed here is found the ground of its contentment, and the source of its validation.
Not only then, is reason satisfied and in this alone, with the provision of consistency when it proceeds to God, and does not thus deny itself on premises which invalidate it at the outset, but its validation is completed in the finding of the resources which it requires, in the word of God. Here is found not merely truth, truth in existence, but truth made available. Moreover, not only is truth made available but made so in a personal manner, a deposit, so that it does not at all depend on the reception's clarity or competence, but on the power of the God who made us to make it accurate, whether it be taken or rejected. What was NOT rejected at the outset is now INSPECTED at the end, its own validation. Never demeaned like its opponents, to the irrational, it now becomes scientifically perfect in meeting the test of verification, while its validation is in its finding as meeting the unique criteria which only Almighty God COULD manage.
What then ? Where absolute truth does not exist on a model, then telling us what it is is mere self-contradictory folly; and it can never be remedied; for reason's demands being forfeited at the outset, irrationality is its permanent status. Where it does simply exist in a model, telling us what it is on the basis of your own mere thought is still inadequate, since the partial is embracing the whole by its own limitations. Where however the Absolute Truth reveals itself at its own will and by its own power, and this is that of the Creator, there is neither abuse of reason at the outset, by self-contradictory premises, nor lack of confirmation, which comes through confirmatory consequences, the Bible and its Christ, history and its obedience precisely at all times and in all things to the word of God written!*6A
Thus is the Gordian knot of the endlessly contrary cut, and the clean cut results from the obvious fact that nothing did not make us, nor was it the original, since it would then have to remain so, since nothing has no future; and nothing inadequate made us, for 'chance' is merely the name for the operation of a system describable and investigable, and unless it has all that is required in it, by way of law, mind, power, spirit, will and so forth, it is useless just to talk, for a moron would NEVER make contrivances of genius, nor does what is even less intelligent do any better!
It is from the everlasting God that we come (if He were not always there, there would be nowhere from which He could come - this merely magnifying the Gaudian knot, not resolving it), and this being so, truth is there, may be found without contradiction, may be tested, is validated and is verified when the words of Christ and the Bible are found unique in power to predict, to retrodict and to analyse consistently the ways of man (cf. SMR Chs. 8 -10).
Thus, and by that same divine source for the MAKING, the CREATION of man, with the DNA commands when He spoke and it was done, as He said (Genesis 1, II Corinthians 4:6), you find what is needed for the REMEDY for man. Without this, there would be another Gordian knot, as if God whose are all things and needs nothing, were to make what is ruined and neither remove it nor remedy it, while it defiled and abused His name and misused the liberty granted (cf. The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy).
Thus to the human potential there comes
understanding from an adequate Source,
power to be remedied on a personal basis,
by the work of the Redeemer
and the application of the unlimited power of God in the Holy Spirit,
the former pardoning and the latter reconstructing.
Then the entire life has a structure, a dynamic and a drive, a reason and a meaning, not merely in intellect, but in vitality and in experience, so that the woes of sin become the waifs of abandon, and the waves of grace, become the means of life.
In this way, one finds not only the entry to salvation, remedy, restoration, but its operation, not in dubious clouds of hope, but in clear skies of specified, reliable, conspicuously exact commands, promises and provisions, the WORD of God. It comes, not in bland or impersonal manner, but in application, by the provision of the function and work of the great operation of the Holy Spirit, in Christ's name.
To use the botanical analogy, the 'tree' of life in man, is not in itself a ground of hope, but of potential. It is only when the FATHER PLANTS IT, that the genetics being now sound (I Peter 1:23), it grows in glorious conformity, pruned, sprayed, watered, as required, and increasingly so, into godly form by the fashioning of Christ, who in glory, and from glory, brings to pass wonderful things by His Spirit (II Corinthians 3:18). In this is liberty (II Cor. 3:17), because it is that functional freedom which we stand to receive as heirs of grace (I Peter 3:7), saved by it (Ephesians 2:8), in it and with it. It is thus that the tree grows, being first established. It is for this reason that it bears, as it must being genetically of that kind, and cared for by the Gardener, who is Christ indeed. It is not possible that in the end it should do otherwise (Matthew 7:17).
Being born again of the seed which is the word of God, an 'incorruptible' seed (I Peter 1:23), the result is a 'tree' which is kept by the power of God to salvation (I Peter 1:5) to be revealed in its fulness, with the redemption of the body itself at the resurrection (Romans 8:23). Such trees are never uprooted, but in them is the very impression of eternity, and in increasing measure, the fashion of it in the heart. In His word, this is perfectly written, and as to His products, the redeemed, they are brought up in the faith with hope and power, grace and love.
In this, the satisfaction of reason, one of the created means of operation is by no means your sole objective, but it is your sure result.
The gift of eternal life is desired only because of God, whose it is to give, and who is our Maker; and it is found nowhere else, but in Him, through His uniquely validated and verified word, the Bible, and sublimely through His expression definitively exhibited in the living word, Jesus Christ, whose coming and way the written word for so long attested, and whose return*6 it does and has long similarly proclaimed. For none who hears is there any excuse, and for none is there any other mercy (Luke 24, Acts 1, Matthew 24, I Thessalonians 4, II Thessalonians 1).
Accordingly, it is found nowhere else, for apart from the living God, Creator and Remedy provider, there is no one and nothing else to the point. From Him is the desire for it, the consummation of our created natures, and for Him is the privilege of it, to confer, and in Him, in Christ is the way to it; and the way is open, and in accord with His desire that all should be reconciled, but none in hypocrisy, and none by wrangling, bargaining and operations of deceit.
God is the God of truth, and there He is for those who do not desire to maul, crucify, contain, utilise Him, but to worship and to know and to enjoy Him for ever, Lord and God, Saviour and Shepherd, that triune God, the centre and source of the love without heraldry, but with impact immeasurable and confirmation illimitable in the Cross of Christ.
His is the creation of our temporal life, and it is not temporary in Him, but only in Him is this so. It is granted only in Him who personally abolished death and brought life and immortality to light (Titus 1). That victory has been gained only once, and it is given only in one way, by Him who secured it, on the terms which led Him to come, and in the truth with which He did come, for all who receive Him (John 3:16, Colossians 1:19ff., John 1:12-14). Love did it, but love rejoices in the truth (I Corinthians 13:8), and those who find Him, do the same!
That is the South Australian Circular to Principals put out by the then Department of Education in Jan. 5, 1988, a black day for S.A.. In this Principals of government schools were given the authoritarian mockery of a definition of religion, at once a cartoon of comedy and a scene of lament; for the ignorant folly of this undefended document on the theme of religion was as great as its tyrannical flavour in setting in parallel, a curriculum in science. Scientific method and scholarship alike were notably absent, whilst political adventurism was at an extreme point.
It is exposed for what it is, in TMR Ch. 8, and also the issues are given attention in y.html.
*1 See SMR and the following volumes:
The gods of naturalism have no go!
This is a trilogy, and for it, use this link.
The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy
This involves the necessity of the location of the divine remedy for man.
For this work, click here.
which answers objections.
Reason, Revelation and the Redeemer
which speaks for itself: in two volumes.
Scientific Method, Satanic Method and the Model of Salvation
Celestial Harmony for the Terrestrial Host
which is confirmatory, verificatory and validatory in test situations for the mind and reason.
See SMR Ch. 3, Ch. 10, Dastardly Dynamics ... Ch. 10 (and unity);
Anguish, Ecstasy and the Mastery of the Messiah Ch. 2 (and living);
Calibrating Myths ... Preface, 3;
The Defining Drama Ch. 2 (and principles of enquiry);
Highway of Holiness, Path of Peace, Way of Truth Ch. 1 (man as a mensuration unit for the meaningless).
See Predestination and Freewill, together with Little Things Ch. 5, It Bubbles... Ch. 9, SMR Ch. 1 Chs.4- 5, and pp. 348ff., Licence for Liberty and indexes.
While in the image of God, man has this fascinating and delightful freedom to will, yet sin binds the carnal personality to such an extent that in basic matters, blindness makes it practically inoperative, since desire, prejudice and inculcated follies move about like fatty deposits in the physical arteries. However, in structure the thing is present, and since God is operative, the dynamic realities are not delimited by mere inability, nor yet is the image so defiled as to make the will irrelevant, or its bindings insuperable.
See Beyond the Curse.
See Highway of Holiness Ch. 4.
Further on this aspect of spiritual healing of bodily parts, organs, dismissal of disease by miraculous means, may be found at Ch. 3 of Things Old and New, *1A. While the understandable hype of those who would make profit and impact for themselves or their purses from almost anything of course abounds, there is a certain testimony which many Christians have as God has worked miracles of this kind, and this author is but one (cf. Sparkling Life ... Ch. 6), in their midst.
Just as the people wanted to make Jesus King when He had fed them freely, in the 'feeding of the 5000', and He did not yield to their blandishments, wrongly motivated at that time, but yet He DID feed them as they followed Him closely and intimately for His teaching and way, and so He had acted in that miraculous way (Mark 6:48-52), so now do many want to use Him or His power for specious ends.
Thus many would like to exploit this power, and in manifest corruption do so act. In fact, in one sense, exploitation of the power of God is one of the central themes of all of Satan's actions and man's self-centred or race-centred aspirations. It is NOT to give the glory to God, but corruptly to USE Him, whether for 'success' in this world, or some sort of platitudinous peace which does not at all pass all understanding or for 'joy' which is anything but spiritual, but merely a selfishly conceived species of contentment with oneself or whatever one specifies from such a basis.
Yet the reality of miraculous healing remains.
Just as Christ IN FACT fed the 5000 and later as in Mark 6, told them to recall this when they were in the midst of a maritime tempest, so that they could understand the power of God for HIS own purposes, and not be afraid, so in fact He does most manifestly act in this field. At times, when the actual gift of healing and not some merely flamboyant substitute is at work, there is as in Kwa Sizabantu in South Africa, or with Elsie Salmon, there is such an abundance of healing, sustained over years, in the 'incurable' basket, that even the blind would rub their eyes at the sheer impact of the light, power and precision of His healing actions.
Yet as one recalls, not once but often Christ told people healed not to spread abroad the knowledge of it - perhaps lest He be mobbed on secondary issues, and so compromise the main work. Such disproportion as that is never permitted, any more than is the merely political USE of Him, to take the stage. For all that, God in His infinite mercy, grace and wisdom gives enough of such healing wonders to leave none without a witness of His power and mercy, and yet not enough to allow exploitation of the sincere and the watchful, or the diversion of His true work of salvation.
At other times, healing is needed for His work and way, and He acts in a way far less spectacular to the public eye, but just as certain to those suffering disease, whom He heals privately, without any specialised healing gift being in operation, just by His generic grace to His family. In such cases, He chooses to act as in James 5:15-18, and not once but on several occasions one has participated in such wonders.
To complete this aspect, it may be convenient for some to have before them at this point the *1A endnote to Things Old and New Ch. 3, noted above, and it follows.
The reader may care to refer on this subject of visions, also to:
Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 9, A Question of Gifts Sections IX, X , esp. *16, and XI.
On this whole topic of visions and spirits, a very sober account is to be found in a statement from a very large, and active mission which apart from one subject on which they are evidently divided, but which is abundantly clear in the word of God (John 10:9,27-29, I Thessalonians 5:9-10, Philippians 3:20-21, I John 5:11ff., John 4:14 -the aorist of action, not the present of continuity, John 6:50ff. -as for 4:14, Job 19:25ff., Psalm 145:2, I John 5:24, 11:25, Romans 5:1-11, 8:32ff.), have shown some splendid works of power and godly living. That subject of course - and it is treated on this site as it deserves - is Christian Assurance.
In their African setting, these topics of visions and spirits are like squalls, and the book noted deals in detail with many practical cases, with admirable restraint and Biblical moderation. With dreams and visions, they are checked, noted, and their indications tested with fact. The Bible is the criterion in all this area, so that what is against it is recognised as such. In the end, whatever adds to its teaching, alters it, and voids its own requirements (Proverbs 30:6, Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32, cf. Revelation 22:17-20, where nothing is to be added to THESE THINGS). As for voiding the word of God, it is the work of the deceiver, according to the word of God, no less than is adding to it (cf. Mark 7:7, I Corinthians 4:2ff.).
The book concerning them ? "God's Grace The revival at Kwa Sizabantu", by Willy due Toit. It contains, inter alia, a medical report.
It is perhaps ironic, but not sadly so, for it harbours hope even for those who may for a time be led astray by vacuous or worse astral aspirations, that in this same book there is abundant reference to Christian … therapy.
- In its international scope, involving many thousands of people of many races and cultures,
there is record of large numbers healed in body, mind or spirit.
The bodily cases, involving in this case a specific gift of healing it seems, were undramatic in posture, unpretentious in procedure, made emphatically in Christ’s name only, without any assumptions of certainty at the physical level, in that it is ALWAYS in His OWN discretion. For all that, the rate of healing when the afflicted one was asked clearly what he/she wanted, and where spiritual purity and reality were, in Christ, the main objective, was astonishing.
It is not from aliens, imagined in the mind, that man must look for the ultimate therapy which touches all realms and regions of the being: it is to the Lord Jesus Christ. When it involves physical healing, it is Biblically to be without presumption of obligation, but with entreaty and kindness, putting His covenant and gospel above all bodily results (as in II Cor. 12:7-10). As with so much else, it is when the correct orientation occurs, that the whole matter comes to resemble the resolution of a puzzle, and individual components such as the body, tend to be seen in the light of the total situation,
- first and foremost, in relation to God Himself,
- through the only authorised way to His presence, Jesus Christ,
- and the only effective message, the Gospel,
- in the only certain, assured and provided word to mankind, written, the Bible.
On this topic of healing, see also SMR pp. 339, 347; and The Frantic Millenium and the Peace of Faith Ch. 9, pp. 199ff..
Not only is the Bible thus related to history (cf. The Pitter-Patter ... Ch. 4, SMR Chs. 8-9 and Index on Prophecy), making unique verification in humanly impossible domains, not merely is its validity completely free from assault (cf. TMR Ch. 5, It Bubbles ... Ch. 9, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 6 -7), but its conceptions and perspective is internally harmonious as nothing else is (cf. SMR Ch. 5, Celestial Harmony for the Terrestrial Host). Further it meets the necessities of the case as NO other religion, and no philosophy does (cf. Reason, Revelation and the Redeemer).
That is the way of truth: it never ceases gobbling up the rubbish, disposing of it through its simple inadequacies. Put differently, it is rather like a chaff-cutting machine, taking the stalks by the million, and turning them into the rubbishy chaff, which has this nourishment in it, that it is blown away! It thus becomes a nourishment to the mind of man, greatly needed!
On prediction of the date of Christ's death, a fitting tribute to the realm of God on earth on sacrificial splendour bent, to redeem: see Highway of Holiness Ch. 4. On the scope of these prophecies, see Bible in index, prophecy in SMR Index, and in particular, SMR Chs. 8 and 9, especially, pp. 936ff., 973A, preferably with 931ff., together with Joyful Jottings 22-25. With these, see also Bon Voyage Ch. 2, which has no small specialisation on the theme.
The variables involved for prophecy being as wide as human individuality, statecraft, thought, imagination and sin, as unknowable by any human means over the millenia involved (first TO Christ and then FROM Him) as any chess set in which the board continually grows bigger, and the pieces change, being upset from time to time, and the precision provided being the exact perfection for meeting the already impossible with the lustrous ease of divine majesty, it is necessary to remove the blinkers, face the facts, and if necessary open the eyes. It is then that one can see.
This is precisely the approach which Christ took in the face of unbelief in the face of every phase, aspect and power displayed, whether in healing, proclamation of majesty, raising the dead, fulfilling every facet and precise point of the identikit of prediction, and showing every compassion, equipped with the power to bring it home to the point in view! On that, see Matthew 13:14ff.
On this topic, see, for example:
A Spiritual Potpourri 18, Christ, the Cumulative and the Culmination 7
(coverage of related aspects),
Beauty of Holiness Ch. 4,
The Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet Ch. 6,
SMR pp. 502-510; , SMR pp. 750B ff. (glossary item for p. 731), 502ff., 909ff. ,
Acme, Alpha and Omega ... Chs. 5, 6,
Answers to Questions Ch. 5,
More Marvels Ch. 5,
News 129, End-note 2,
The Biblical Workman Ch. 1, End-note 3.