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EZEKIEL has some trenchant words from the Almighty, which affect not only his own time, but ours; which apply not merely to empires of his period, but to those of our own. They apply also to our own selves, personally. As this concerns contemporary events, let us see it and search it out.

In Chapter 31, the prophet begins an exposure of Egypt. On his words depend the whole history of that nation, as to eminence, from that time forward.

At first sight, this may seem monumental and imposing; but the word of God, like that of a Principal in a school, conveys authority. With God, it also has power! It is ALWAYS DONE. THAT is one of the criteria of its status, for those who search things out. Nothing else does this, let alone over a spread of prophetic period, amounting to nearly  three and one half millenia!

The Egyptian empire, in this prophecy,  is likened to a vast and spreading tree of majesty, above all the rest of the trees, imperial and imposing, vast and subject of awe. It is cut down, with the axe of the intentions of the Almighty. There are various reasons for this. ONE is to show to Israel, who again and again sought to rest or rely on this Empire, or Pharaoh in it, that the trust is misplaced, so that as a result, it might learn to put its trust in the Lord of glory, where it belongs; and to expose the pure infantility of this mistaken resource of some nearby country, in times of trouble (Ezekiel 17:11ff), without the Lord, and in contradiction of His own wishes (cf. Isaiah 31:1-3).

Far worse is this when it is INSTEAD of trust in Him.

"Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, and rely on horses,
Who trust in chariots because they are many,
And in horsemen because they are very strong,
But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
Nor seek the LORD!

"Yet He also is wise and will bring disaster,
And will not call back HIs words,
But will arise against the house of evildoers,
And against the help of those who work iniquity.
"Now the Egyptians are men, and not God,
And their horses are flesh, and not spirit.
When the LORD stretches out His hand,
Both he who helps will fall,
And he who is helped will fall down,
They all will perish together."

How like this was the case of World War II when Stalin was invoked to help, and made strong enough for his country to become a curse and an affliction to many millions for decades thereafter. It is not with dictators of blood that you deal with others of their ilk! It is not the land of the earth but the Lord of it, in whom one should trust (cf. Jeremiah 17:5-8). What is the good of relying on a bollard that moves! You see that in Ezekiel 29:16.

Allied with that, it will then be known by Israel that the Lord who is mighty, speaks and it is done (Ezekiel 29:21); and is Majesty in deed and indeed, as well as in name, fame and claim. The same message appears in Ezekiel 17:21ff., with respect to the Egyptian troops themselves.


For the futures market, as it were, it is also predicted that from that time, the mighty, the eminent, the prominent, outstanding, high and vast empire of Egypt of antiquity, this would never again be permitted to become a towering power on the earth (Ezekiel 29:13-16), even though actual disruption and exile would be limited to 40 years. The train of events in terms of which that was actually fulfilled is staggering, with Babylonians, Persians, Moslems and many leading up to the era of the British, the Russian patronage and the disastrous doom which was accorded to the mighty military build-up under Russian influence, dealt repulse and desolation simply but fatally through Israel in 1967 (just as predicted in Zechariah 12 cf. SMR pp. 779ff.).

While the Jews were to be driven into the sea, in fact they skimmed the Mediterranean with their air force, destroying much of the Egyptian aerial power, and then destroyed Russian made tanks on the ground, as the invading armies received their abasement. This is to the glory of God, who has nevertheless pending Israel's repentance as a nation (to come as in Zechariah 12:10ff.), ensured that there is no real rest in the interim, despite these glorious deliverances (cf. Zechariah 12:1-2).

But what of the personal application ? In terms of the parable of the mighty tree, felled suddenly, there is this message: It is done "so that no trees by the waters may ever again exalt themselves for their height, nor set their tops among the thick boughs, that no tree which drinks water may ever be high enough to reach up to them... " It is a LESSON which being ignored by the many, has had MANY REVISIONS, in the passing power of Babylon itself (once it had dealt the blow to Egypt), at the hands of Persia and the Medes (as in Daniel 8), of Persia itself to the Romans (Daniel 7 in its passing parade of coming empires): and what empire has remained, the Russian being humiliated, the British dismantled despite warrior successes, the French reduced, the German folded, the Dutch minimised, the Spanish receding, so that there is an endless blast of noise. Some empires have done far better than others in their day, but as soon as there is might and marvel, pride and bombast, the wheels turn.

In fact, this is to the end of the arrival of the tiny TWIG which in Ezekiel 17:22-24, as in Isaiah 53:1-3 shows ultimately the Messiah who, though having no "form nor comeliness", glamour or merely carnal appeal, will do the job which REALLY needs doing, dying for sin for all who receive Him, and sharing the spoil with the strong (Isaiah 53:12). Thus to HIM is accorded a NEW FAMILY made up of all who make in their hearts, by the supervening grace of God, HIS sacrifice an atonement for their sins. As to HIM, He SACRIFICED and did not exalt Himself, being THEN exalted with a name above every name (Philippians 2:1-10).


As to His 'empire' or more aptly, universal dominion, there is no end; and even when this earth is removed, having fulfilled its mission of tutelage and opportunity, creation and creativity, love and verification, validation and truncation (Matthew 24:37, Isaiah 51:6), there is no limit on the constructive capacities of the Almighty, and His kingdom continues without the imperial imperiousness of the Gentiles, or the untrustworthiness of the many, but in the beauty of holiness for ever (Daniel 7:14, Revelation 22:5, Ephesians 1:10 cf. A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 16).

The personal application of this whole theme of arrogance and glory, truth and vanity, is seen in Jeremiah 13:15ff., where king and queen are admonished to HUMBLE THEMSELVES, and give the glory to God (it is ludicrous but lethal also to give the glory to oneself, one's - in the end - puny powers, one inherited genes or country or group, when God is the power and the resource, without whom the whole cosmos cannot even continue, and from whom its resources and various deputed powers arrived). IF THEY REFUSED, the result is arresting. The divine love, as expressed through the prophet's heart,  is as clear as His power (Jeremiah 13:17):

"But if you will not hear it,
My soul will weep bitterly
And run down with tears,
Because the LORD's flock has been taken captive."
That divinely beautiful plaint comes so startlingly in Jeremiah 27:
"Woe to you, O Jerusalem! will you not be made clean ? when shall it once be ?"


The turmoil, the maelstrom, the turbulence of eminence sought personally or nationally or internationally, how puny it is, when the peace of truth is always, while it is 'day' and the gospel era continues for its time, at hand and available. A few hundred thousand killed here, a few millions there, with some ideological dominion imparted, some subtlety of deception exalted, some devisings of dishonour and mere trickery and trumpery advanced, and what do you have ? You have a disregard of man by man which is awful to contemplate, vast and anti-inspiring like the obverse of a waterfall, a glimpse into hell after considering the amplitudes of the heavens, a snake-pit after regarding the purity of the distinctives of an orchid.

What is accomplished ? Only this: weariness and pain, and the added distinctive of having once more illustrated the passing parade of feeble powers which, like babes in cradles, do not regard the very power which holds them up. And this ? Is it noble or wise, or astute ? No, quite the contrary, it is a fecklessness of spirit which is as ruthless of suffering as it is avid for its own final judgment according ... to truth (Romans 2:1ff.).

In view of the word of God (as in Ezekiel 21:26-27), it is the revision of an 'experiment' as by some tired old lecturer after many decades, year by year before his class. It always ends one way. It has to do so. That is the way the situation is constructed. In the case of man however, the personal creation of his spirit makes the continuity in proud folly and vainglorious uplifting, an age-old avenue to disaster, like tanks year by year, rolling down side of a cliff, as if they could not realise, no not by instruments, nor by the sight of their drivers, the sure doom they faced with such uplifted composure and unyielding opacity. Yes, and do not many nations and persons GLORY in the sheer extravagance of their ignorant delusion, preserving their incapacities at all costs, like art-forms, stored in some bank vault.

Nevertheless, there are many who, seeing the corruption of the flesh and sensing the glory of God, seek Him where He may be found, one Author, one Saviour, one Lord, one Creator and maker of all, in the One whom He sent from His eternal side, invested with commission "a Saviour which is Christ the Lord". To heal, to love, this was His task: to cherish, to understand, to pardon, to speak truth. He came to seek and to save that which was lost, to bring restoration to God, and receiving our own indictments, as many as believed in Him, to relay His own grace and victory by His Spirit, because of His vicarious death.

In the very face of this, one Baptist Minister, we read, does not consider his sins enough to justify the death of the Lord!  What does the word say to this underestimation of the human declivity before God:

It is alas when a person does not realise that it was strictly NECESSARY for Christ to die, that he or she is lodged in the delusive heights, which carry the divine injunction to bring them down. Paul who declares us, like other Gentiles, to have been Likewise in Colossians 2:13-15, he indicates the nature of sinners. If there be any people having  hope of attaining to basic representation WITHOUT CHRIST according to His own diagnosis and remedy, His own blood by which we draw near to His Father; if there be any,
with hope of arriving and departing with conscience acquitted, unattainted at those aweful assizes, those true and veritable judgments which lack NOTHING in intensity and understanding, or with merely a wise plea or two from what (for the robustly self-assured case concerned) is an unsacrificed Saviour: then these are conspiring with hope against hope, and their case is hopelessly confused, in active repudiation of the word of God.

Where by the word of God, are such people placing themselves ? Misled and masquerading with a truth that is not their own, a covenant that is their own and not divinely given, they can only fall. As to His covenant:  HIS is in blood, and without blood there IS no covenant now at all - Matthew 26:28. He IS the divine covenant and this IS what He has declared (Isaiah 42:6, 49:6).

HIS is that famous NEW covenant predicted by Jeremiah in 31:31, and seen often enough in the old Testament. It has arrived. Sad indeed those who depart without it! It is the ONLY provision. It was costly enough and the medicine for one and for all is JUST ONE: Christ crucified, yes rather risen, and as to the crucifixion, He died a ransom for many, reconciling BECAUSE He has made peace through His blood on the cross (Colossians 1:19-22). It is precisely THUS and thus only that the reconciliation is to occur, we there read. HOW did He do it according to the apostle ? through His flesh, by death.

THIS ? It is the very essence of the tall tree, which too high, was brought too low, for everything that exalts itself will be humbled; whereas in His hands, the crooked will be made straight. NO sinner will be refused who comes in faith to Him; but many there be who, noting their good works and excellent attainments will be told by the King whose express covenant they have despised, being above it, that He never knew them. This in fact He has declared for all to ponder (Matthew 7:21-23). Indeed, He even declares the principles: you EITHER build on HIS words, or you build on sand, not only vulnerable to destruction, but asking for it (Matthew 7:26ff.).

To reject the diagnosis of God is to reject God in His wisdom, and to remove yourself from His redeeming power, rendering you uncovered in the tempest, alone in the maelstrom, a lighthouse manufacturing its own light, and not following the light of the world. BECAUSE, said Christ, you say you see, therefore your blindness remains (John 9:41).

Then ? there is only the darkness of eternal night, obscured, official residence for the obscurantist, the fractious, the eminently minded; for it is not attainment but self-attained righteousness which is rejected, a blot and insult on the face of the dazzling beauty of holiness, where sin even in thought, even in temperament, in its abasement of the wonder of God, is like a grain of potassium cyanide in one's cup of tea.

The thought is unpleasant and ANY sort of hygiene would exclude it; and those who reject the exclusion, are excluded, for ALL is excluded which enters into His divine and eternal precincts; and ONLY in Christ is the cover, as in Him the purity which surpassing and perfect, is acceptable in that heaven where blemish is not found, and all blemish is wholly other, divorce and disaster, as far from Him as the East from the West. Thus did the prophet Isaiah commence his own ministry by realisation of the glory of the One for whom he was sent, and thus was he abased (Isaiah 6); and thus is the need of realism before the everlasting light. Realism and repentance, remission and restoration is the program, and no part is omitted (Luke 13:13, Galatians 3:1-13, John 6:51ff.). His is the curse, or it is ours; but it is THERE!

As to Christ, then,

He "did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Matthew 9:13). The number of the former is rated without Christ, by divine standards, as ZERO (Romans 3:9-18)! The answer of the pervasive and unexcepted human need, according to the divinely inspired apostle is the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:21-22), who fulfils the law which applied to all and required sacrifices for all in the Old Covenant. This is that which in the New (Matthew 5:17-19), Christ fulfils AS the sacrifice (Hebrews 7:22-27), and the redemption (Hebrews 9:12).

As Colossians 1:19ff. makes clear, the blood is His death, the symbol and symptom of it, the visible expression and total provision of life given up entirely in judgment, to bring us to God. It is this peace through the blood of the Cross which is the universal rule of God regarding all things to achieve reconciliation. Here is His pleasure - here is the core, the cross, the death bearing guilt, by which alone satisfaction and reconciliation may be found. Indeed it is in view of this that Christ is the Head of the body, the Church (Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 1:22-23, 2:21-22).

No other Gospel (Galatians 1:6-9, 3:1-13) is sufferable in the truth of God, who knows what lies in the heart of man (John 2:24). Those who reject His diagnosis need another God, and since there is but one, they are forced to rebellion, by whatever name. But as to the word of God, this: the just for the unjust, He brings us ( I Peter 3:18, 2:24). In this way,  did He pour out His soul unto death (Isaiah 53:12). THAT is the free offer (Isaiah 55:1ff.), and there is none other (Galatians 1:6-10, Romans 5:1-12). Accordingly, John 6:50ff. likewise makes the reception of His blood sacrifice irresistibly necessary, undenudably declared and irretrievably required.

Thus Christ did not die for sinners in order that some might rise above, and find that death was too much for their exalted cases, or offer His New Covenant in His blood that it might be made into some sort of bloodless, moral rearmament, a sedate substitute for salvation, in which the flesh exalts itself. Rest assured, God ONLY will be exalted in that day! (Isaiah 2:12-17). It is ONLY by grace; it is ALTOGETHER by grace, it is a gift BY grace (Romans 5:15, Ephesians 2:1-12, and cf. Benevolent Brightness or Brothy Bane 79, where the latter text is expounded in detail).

Moreover, what is the appointed medium, what are its authorised means ? Now "in Christ Jesus, you who were afar off, have been brought near by the blood of Christ" - Ephesians 2:12. And who were so estranged from the saving knowledge of the true, only and living God as to be in this state, requiring this remedy ? "we all" ... "were by nature children of wrath, just as the others" (Ephesians 2:3). You do not dip in grace; you plunge. You do not contribute your precious forces to prevail; He has prevailed. You do not soak up a little moisture; you suffer an inundation of grace by which you are wholly reconstituted (John 3, II Cor. 5:19-21), or else, neither has Christ died for you nor have you, in reciprocity as He bears your sinfulness, died with Him (Colossians 3:3, Galatians 2:20). In this grace is frustrated, but God is not frustrated. Unbelief is a consignment.

Your new life is not a bargaining chip for heaven but a heavenly contribution for fruit. No wonder Paul declares, "God forbid that I should except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" ... and adds, "by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." The truth is severe. The cost to Christ was severe. The disease is severe. The remedy cannot be adapted, must be adopted. The change is categorical and the nature of salvation is precisely mirrored in the nature of humility (Ephesians 2:8-10). FOR... we are (ourselves) HIS workmanship.

Therefore it is not merely a national, not only a cultural, not alone a political thing; it is personal, intensely so, and private as well as public, commanding and conquering; and what is unconquered, is subject to everlasting contempt (Daniel 12, Isaiah 55).

The principle, then, of humility and holiness, of realism and subjection to God, of avoidance of overstraining and exaltation, is universal. It is national, personal and terrestrial; and indeed, the trauma and the syndrome is not divorced from celestial operations, from which Satan himself lost place, being cast from heaven in his ignominious self-exaltation (Revelation 12:7-10). Reality and truth are allies of peace, and the blood of Christ is more necessary to the sons and daughters of Adam than is air to their lungs.

You can take a deep breath and hold on, ignoring your frailty and the limitations of your powers in delusive heights; but reality and truth are not for sale. You however, if you do not know the Lord, ARE. It is a petty little sale for results so extreme as to reflect the outrageous character of the transaction. But to everyone who comes to the Lord in faith to receive Him as He is, and His works as He did them, there is rest, whatever has been done. His payment suffices for one, for all, for everything, for anything, so long as it is RECEIVED BY FAITH, and His word is taken as truth (John 6:37,40).

Neither the drafters of national accords, nor the psychiatrists, the sociologists nor the moralists can mend man. It takes the Maker to remake (II Cor. 5:17ff.). When man is remade, then he finds the beautiful kindness of these words:

WHEN HE, the Lord whose post and place it is,  is in direction - and assuredly this involves correction as from any teacher, but loving correction: then the realities of life pour out like streams. Then the accolades of this world being seen in their flimsy situation and puny perspective, the honour and glory of God become paramount, and the child of God is able to walk on the created earth, as created for it and over it, with the Father of lights and perfections, in accord. Then life is commission, from a position of redemption, for the realisation of the will of God, to whom is the glory because it IS HIS!

This, it is merely to recognise it.


There was once a singular flight. It was, imagination declares, on the way to hell. It was not referred to as such by the transit members, passengers if you will. They deemed it their 'destination' and had various conceptions, mostly in line with one another, about what it was. By common consent, it was to be, in some sense, 'good'.

They of course had names: holyman, harlot and dictator. The first was called Reverend, the second Madame and the third, Emperor. For short, we will make this Rev, Mad and Emp.

Without wishing to eavesdrop, for electronic equipment is in any case not adequate for this, but with a sort of sadness and sorrow, one records the words that seem to drift like solemn bells, on the winds of thought.


Emp: Of course I, for my part, always had the blessed vision. It was true that I had to be hard, to be a disciplinarian - you know, Putin is supposedly marvellous at that. You have to be. It was equally factual that there were a few I had to bump off, but it was at least in plan, my policy never to delay. I learned something from Saddam Hussein in that - you know, the disagreement, the request for the General to accompany him for a moment, the return with the smoking gun. Humane in a way: no time to 'think'.

Rev: Think! That's what there is far too much of. Just use your talents, take up your gifts and make acquaintance with Jesus Christ, that is what I said. Any small blemishes, He can clean up, like a mother with a child. All this talk of redemption, blood, dying for one's sins - what sort of a harrowing is this.

Mad: I agree! You would not believe the number of clients who would tell me that they were in some way ashamed of our relationship. It was service and I was using my talents. If at last, I was not too fussy, well you have to earn your living. No dole bludgers for me!

Emp: Mind you, I always had a regard for religion. Not any one particular religion for that gets too aggressive or impactive, influential. It does you out of a job if you are not too careful.

Rev: Of course. I always deplored that blood on the door business for Israel in Egypt: you know, kill a lamb as a sacrifice - they call it the passover to this day - and sprinkle its blood on the door, so that the avenging angel would know that there was a family publicly proclaiming salvation by death and sacrifice, and hence one where the death was not to occur. They would escape.

Mad: I remember that. It is like the red thread, scarlet I think, hanging down from the wall in Jericho, so that the Israeli spies could escape at night. By blood only, the escape was the symbolism, I was told. And that passage in Romans 3, that "ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, BEING JUSTIFIED FREELY BY HIS GRACE, THROUGH THE REDEMPTION THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS," that reaches me!

Emp: Worse is that part about Jesus as the One "whom God has set forth as a propitiation through His blood, through faith... to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness , that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus". Fancy justifying the ungodly, on the basis of the death of One for many, even if He was the Son of God - it is downright demoralising. What I say is this: if you cannot look after your own life, at least fundamentally, you deserve to go to hell.

Mad: Mind you, at least it is clear. IF I were a sinner, I should be glad to know that the difference between me and others going down please! was so absolute that it would justify MY destination being absolutely different from theirs. As a matter of fact, at times I almost think of Christ as redemption, eternal redemption - received by some, offered to all. When He is delivered up for YOUR offences, and they are by faith given over to Him, then there is a result: FREELY ALL things come to you, that is what it is written somewhere in Romans - oh! 8:32, it reminds me of a train time that once was mine. That is what it says.

I had been reading the Bible a bit, now and again, in my older days - plenty of time you know.

Rev. Well, the flight is about to take off on time, so you can get off if you will. But where would you go - vicarious atonement, redemption through His blood, THIS is the way, God has set forth Christ, having made peace by His blood on the cross, to be the basis of reconciliation with Himself of all things. You can have that in Colossians 1, with your Bible. The Bible is a book for people who can make something out of it. For me, I say that you have to think for yourself.

Emp: Look hear Mad, don't go getting religious. The plane is about to take off.

(Suddenly she realises that they are all in hospital and she is merely imagining the flight in a sort of clear-headed vision. Here companions are real enough, but so is the hospital.)

Mad: I AM getting off. It does say that many harlots will get into the kingdom of heaven before some of the super religious, and that does me! (That was in Matthew 21:31 - I was just reading it last night!) You know how that word fitted in - HIS authority was being questioned. I must say that if I were going to die for someone, I should not like it if they quibbled about my motives and then accepted my deliverance!

Rev: Some take it. I know that on my Board there were some who believed in eternal redemption through His blood, as the exclusive way to God. Never took it myself, a man must be a man.

Emp: And God must be God. I shall take the words out of your mouth, Mad.

Mad: True. I see your love of authority surging ahead. After all, if sin is sufficient to cut off from God, to the point that God intervenes and says, Look here! your sins are what hides My face from you, let's not beat about the bush, that means there is a severance, cut dead, like a lost beau. It is over. When God is the source of life, that is not only perilous, but fatal, and when the end comes, it means endless severance. Not for me! I am realistic, never saw any point in dressing myself up in fancy clothes for fun. Give me the garment.

Rev: What garment ?

Mad: YOU should know. The one in Isaiah 61:10 and in Matthew 22:12, where you get covered by Christ, OR ELSE, you are wholly unacceptable. You are not covered by a sacrifice you do not put on as a covering.

Rev: I AM covered, it seems to me. I walked and talked with Him quite pleasantly during my life, and I am sure if there is any difference of opinion about my sinfulness, then it can be ironed out in heaven.

Emp: I must say you have great confidence in yourself as a salesman-negotiator. Now in my case I have not the slightest intention of changing my way of life in any manner whatsoever. If a man cannot be his own man, it is no use at all to me. But I can see Mad's point, if you like it that way.

Mad: LIKE IT! If God is God, let's not try to educate Him. If Christ has died, let's not tell Him that there IS some other way than death of reconciling man to God, or paying for sin as a ransom as He says - I think in Matthew 20:28, or telling Paul that Christ did NOT become a curse for us on the cross despite his words in Galatians 3, and that to redeem us from the curse of the law.

Rev: I for my part was NEVER under the law.

Emp: Paul you know was speaking about Gentiles in Galatians. Let me see, I have a testament here under my pillow.  Yes, "He redeemed us from the curse of the law" - or I should say them, for I am not one of them - "so that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." I have to agree with Mad here, about what it says.

Mad: Agree! I should think so. The law, says Paul in Galatians 3:22ff., "has concluded them all under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe". The law did not lie. The Jews were not worse. ALL have sinned, and for all God has set forth His Son, offered as a propitiation by His blood. The law merely emphasised the fact, depth and variety of sin. It did not create that. WE did.

The law came so that "every mouth might be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God" (Romans 3:19). I have received that offer even as I talk to you, so my sin is now covered, included in the lives whose sin He bore, for my mouth certainly is stopped, and I acknowledge my deadly guilt. There is no other gospel, no other purity, Saviour or offer for sinners. There is no transfer of guilt without faith, without blood - "by His blood, through faith," it says.

Good night gentlemen, you can go to hell, if that is your sacred wish, and make yourselves such men of action that you can get on without your Creator. You are deluded.

Rev: After that, I can almost see why we should not have had female elders.

Emp: Ridiculous idea, I always said. Next thing, women generals, and where would that end!

Mad: I do not want your silly authority. Give me wisdom any day, and influence in my person and speech. When Paul forbad all that authority in the church for women, there was good enough reason, and he stated what it was (I Timothy 2 is the place). It was because of our historic past. But then, YOU cannot bear children.


Suddenly, the scene changes. The hospital doors are shut. Mad has gone to heaven. The other two are now on their flight, no kid (imaginatively speaking).


Rev: I think it will be great when we are unleashed.

Emp: Released is the way I think of it. A world where we make our own morals and our own estimates of things are final, that's what I want. All this talk about God, popping up all over the place, as the Headmistress of one of Adelaide's 'famous' schools disparagingly put it. You know I agree with her!

Rev: Oh I don't mind God, if He keeps to His place. I always go along with my vision of Christ.

Emp: You know, that horizon looks disturbingly smoggy. It got worse as you spoke.

Rev: Well we all have our unconditional love from God, and merely need releasing with a little stimulus, you know, like a calf having its head held down in the milk bucket to teach it to drink. Our instincts are all in the right place, just a matter of realising them.

Emp: Again, I think of it as releasing them.

Rev. My vision of Christ was really what I lived by. The Bible is all right in its place...

Emp: EVERYTHING is all right in its place. MY place is the top.

Rev: I don't know about that ...

Matthew 25:1-13

As they talk, the plane swerves suddenly, and begins its descent. Everything is all over the place, and nothing knows its place. Everything is acutely out of place, there is no grace, and authority is in every direction, and hence nil. Spirituality is squandered, and the wanderings of the centuries assert themselves with all the splendour of doom. In fact, it is so very like the picture in Isaiah 59!

"Now then we are as ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us, we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" ... II Corinthians 5:19-21. What does Peter say in I Peter 2:34: "Who Himself bore  our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness - by whose stripes you were healed."

There is no class of super-Christians for whom a different gospel is available so that they might glory, and say in their hearts, Together we did it! Christ and I, my good works and His sufferings - but NOT death! NO man will be able to boast, for we are justified freely apart from all works (Romans 3:21-28), and bear good fruits not so that we can be justified NON freely, but so that our changed lives, indwelt by the Lord Jesus Christ, may express what He causes them to be. The STATUS of the tree, it is PLANTED GERM OR KIND; the FUNCTION of the tree is expressed thereafter in its fruit. However, the fruit does not plant it, or even HELP, ever so slightly to do so (Isaiah 61:3): Christians are the planting of the Lord and "every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted, will be uprooted" (Matthew 15:13).

"Where is boasting then ? It is excluded. By what law ? Of works ? No, but by the law of faith.

"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

"Or is He the God of the Jews only ? Is He not the God of the Gentiles ? Yes, of the Gentiles also, since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith... Now it was not written for their sake alone that it was imputed to him {righteousness to Abraham by faith before work*1}, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offences, and was raised up for our justification." (Romans 3:27-29, 4:23-25).


Cf. SMR pp. 523ff., esp. 525ff., That Magnificent Rock Ch.2 pp. 54ff..  Genesis 15:6, 22:11.