W W W W† World Wide Web Witness Inc.† Home Page† †Contents Page for Volume †What is New
Holiness, not Hollowness
THE CONTEMPORARY TEMPORARY TRUCULENCE AGAINST TRUTH
Moral one-upmanship is perfectly askew. It is rather like a billiard ball miscued. It is a wrong reaction, brought about by a wrong stroke. In the heart, the stroke is ambition and the result is mischief. Imagine people trying to be polite IN ORDER to impress, and if not impress, then activate a score line, like a batsman, to pass the rival. Why should this be done ?
In some societies where the form of godliness (an end of the Age specialty as in II Timothy 3:5) has become the substitute for the reality of spiritual acquaintance with God, you do not need to prevail in goodness. It is enough that you prosper in APPEARANCES. That is why the whole statistical nightmare of political adjustment to polls, in which vision is vitiated in the interests of victory, has become so popular.
Victory for what ? for what is right, good, just and true, conducive to the fulness of life, humble and wise ? or for a party, a platform of appeal, in which vision is as deficient as wisdom, the current craze merely implemented, like teachers following the children, whatever their desire, if only to be popular. When God is likewise despised, not always in name, but by being made irrelevant LEST some one of some religion be annoyed, and multiculturalism becomes a Trojan horse to allow agnosticism or atheism to have EFFECTUAL play, then this follow the culture complex becomes merely an anteroom to destruction. Not thus is wisdom to be found.
In some instances, as one hears commentators, perhaps notably in the USA, speaking of what is happening in the long processes of some elections, it seems almost taken for granted that the candidates for election will adjust to what is wanted and remove what is unpopular in a crass drive ... to win!
Gone from such moral slush is the concept of leadership, let alone visionary leadership. It is like catering to children by giving them sweets, when food is not their whim, craving or desire.
No so! someone may cry. We who are in government, are to REPRESENT the people, so of course we try to adjust to their wishes, their will, from the outset, even before election and quite rightly, in order to gain election.
If as in Western Australia, they might proceed, people want juniors to participate in sex of a heterosexual kind (in order to indulge the misconception of maturity and adulthood), then do the same for perversion! That was actually the way one person interviewed considered it. Thus the breach of one rule, maturity, becomes the breach of the next, naturalness, and before we know it, the people who are popular are giving the meat to the hounds; and why are they popular - because they so act when in power. And why are they in power ? because they adjust to the demand.
And what is the demand ? for more and more carefree approximations to Sodom, pretence that immaturity is maturity, and virtual abdication of the moral responsibilities of adulthood, forwarding the rape of the nation, or is indulgence in unnatural degeneracies, as contrary to design as to its fulfilment. Such becomes readily the course of unrestrained demand!
And why is this there ? It is because more and more morals are for show, not for blow, to use the handkerchief analogy. And why is this so ? It is because of the attrition of morals following World War I, when many with much moral fibre, with spiritual vision, with sacrificial grace, perished, and many without it luxuriated in the peace which followed into the fast moving twenties; and it is also because much the same, though the morals were already wearing thin, happened in the 1960's in the USA in particular; and again, it is because people are growing weary*1 of high moral stands, amidst the rubble of nations, the ruin of environment, the radioactivity which minimises man, in appearance, or delusively glorifies him, but in any cases tends to overshadow him.
Man's means are becoming his mental masters, because his morals are collapsing, his churches in many major instances are dooming themselves into endless seditions, secretions of alien gods, cultures and mischiefs*1. Multiculturalism is coming to be a moral paragon, allowing the just request for objective consideration of other races, without prejudice, to become religious intolerance of anything decisive, in case it be taken culturally, so that truth is becoming unpopular, because inconvenient, just as the High Priest Caiaphas found it with Christ (John 11:47-51), and man in his midgetry is becoming no superman, but mini-man. What is the trend ? It is to this:
It is so like the days of Israel as noted by Jeremiah 5:30-31:
ďAn astonishing and horrible thing
Has been committed in the land:
The prophets prophesy falsely,
And the priests rule by their own power;
And My people love to have it so"
The 'prophets' increasingly are false church leaders who chew the cultural cud and bite the hand that feeds holiness, for they desire it not at all; or singers whose trendy proverbs make of life a wild dream or poignant mess, or perchance, a tinny and hollow thing, so long as one enjoys oneself; or politicians who chant, the will of the people be done, and then make sure that they find it, so that this sacred thing should not merely represent as well it might, some sound and reasonable approach to civic problems, but rather a voice for the synthetic, syncretistic religion of convenience, a sale of the soul for social stability without tears, a connotation for morals and in the end, an axe for God.
It is precisely this which has been so ludicrous in the Commonwealth and State legislation becoming increasingly popular for control of speech and in some cases writing, with a view to comfort, not truth*2.
The priests ? Who are these ? Who ? who, in addition to those who linger where the scripture has long rendered them redundant, Christ having offered the ONLY SACRIFICE that God will consider for the salvation of man, the rest, personal self-sacrifice, being the result of enduement and enablement ...who then ?
As to Christ (Hebrews Chs. 2, 7-10), He made one, yes ONE sacrifice; and this ONCE FREELY made by the Saviour Himself; and He has no danger whatever of ever being honestly confused with sinful man (Matthew 23:8-10, John 10:18, Hebrews 9:11-15, 10:10-14, 2:14-18, I Peter 2:22-23, Romans 6:23, 3:23). He Himself has a name inveterately immiscible with that of sin-generated, fallen man (Genesis 3, Romans 5:18, 8:3), or any merely human man, power or organisation whatsoever (Acts 4:11-12), just as being God, He is above man as such by an infinity. He is the HIGH PRIEST incarnate (Hebrews 7:15-8:13, 9:11-28, 10:10,14. Adventurers into this realm, now that He is in office, are like children taking the wheel of the car or tractor, and turning it about. It is funny, perhaps, provided they cannot reach the ignition; pompous perhaps; but it assuredly has no place in life. Nor, except mercy in time should intervene, have those who fiddle with the divine dials, wresting from Christ His sole authority as priest, for the priesthood is obsolete, has served its symbolic function, and now the substance is in plain view (Hebrews 10:1-9). "He takes away the first that He may establish the second."
THIS, it is Christ. But who in addition to misled ecclesiastics, are the "priests" of our contemporary world, in parallel to the day of Jeremiah, and in terms of his stricture ?
The priests become those who provide spiritual psychiatry without regard to the spirit of man at all (cf. SMR Ch. 4, It Bubbles, It Howls, He Calls (Call) ... Ch. 9, Little Things Ch. 5, With Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength Ch. 11, Red Alert ... Ch. 1), or social 'help' without spiritual perception, helping people to adjust to people and problems, as those blind are helped to touch, without sight, 'blind leaders of the blind' as Christ said of many without the light of His life, in His day; yes, and this 'priesthood', it may come as well from educators in the same mould, mindless of the mind, spiritless about the spirit, materialists entrenched in sterile irrationality (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 7, Call Ch. 9), dealing with what they neither see nor understand. Such are the modern priests.
The people, in general, they "love to have it so," losing such things as their pound sterling, this with much more being symbolic of their national identities, becoming embedded in Europe, or the UN, or the combination of this or that kind for defence, allying themselves with Moslems as with the USA, whilst allaying nothing so well as any fear of avoiding the errors of World War II, when the atheist USSR was ally.
We have developed. Now it is not void religion, but religion of the void which afflicts (cf. More Marvels ... Ch. 4). Man moves to the avoidance of God into a void which is not an emptiness, but a scenario for coming judgment. Truth is always there.
As then, morals decay, churches syncretise, compromise, migrate, leaders synthesise, international bodies legislate with more and more assurance from void bases, pliable and pleasant, but with outrageous blindness, being guided without light, lest any should be offended (cf. The Other News Appendix 1, Joyful Jottings 14, CALL Ch. 11). Appearance is becoming almost divine; acceptance is outdoing authenticity; truth is airily dismissed as if in truth you could in any rationality at all do so, then having no means at your disposal (Barbs, Arrows and Balms 6 -7, SMR Ch. 3). The mere perception of social advantage, survival at any cost, comfort at any price, becomes the insidious serpent, as the steam-roller of societies and nations, increasingly abandoned, sees with what panache it can approach the pit, although they more normally change the nomenclature. It is often even called ... a summit.
But why, you may ask, is
this truculence which increasingly forges ahead with plausible appearances
of morals, as if advance were to be found in retrogression, and eminence
in mud, why is it called in your title to this chapter above, merely
That, it is simple. It cannot last. Pursuit of appearance in default of reality runs into reality and hence ruin. The reality is God. He is cunningly excluded in all the moral talk, religious commandeering and statecraft (cf. Joyful Jottings 1). If the word ever appears, then the meaning is dismissed, either in categorical contradictions or vague symbols devoid of rational meaning, or spiritually sustainable reality. Phrases become excuses for thought, and combinations of words substitutes for any real approach to reality. Charm or disarm, this becomes the meaning.
Temporary then is any result on this fraudulent basis.
There is another reason for
such antics and attitudes, in whatever institutionalised form, being but
temporary. It is this. So it is written (cf. II Timothy 3:5,13, I Timothy
6:1ff., Matthew 24:14,22). Reason endoreses it; history acclaims it. Yes,
and the word of God STATES it. The author of delusion and deceit,
"his time is short" (Revelation 12:112).
HOLINESS IS NOT HOLLOW
The Mould in Matthew 20
We come now to the Saviour's teaching about what endures, spiritual sanctity and wisdom. This, penetrating and just, spiritual and true, fearless and filled not with appearance, but reality straight from the mouth of the Maker, would not allow the love of honour. self-will and pride of place to rule at all. It is not man but God whose fear is real, lovely and clean (Psalm 19:9).
Consider the morbid appearance of disciples actually arguing about who is the greater, the greatest ... Is this will for the mere self, without regard to reality, or is it authentic, filled with veracity and truth ? We see this unfortunate lapse in Luke 9:46ff.. What did Jesus the Christdo concerning this development ?
He did this. A little child is brought to their midst, and Jesus reminds them that whoever receives such a little child in His name, receives Him, and so the One who sent Him. The principle ? "He who is least among you all, will be great."
The lack of mere appearance, self-seeking desire for eminence or even pre-eminence, the concern for the work, for the lost, for the young, for the unprotected, to bring them TO HIM, to find for them a place in the kingdom, this is sincerity, this is real. But what of those who may be doing this, if they are deeply concerned and to continue arguing about greatness ? desiring to be first. Does this unclean spirit enter heaven just because it brings a child to Christ ? Not at all.
At once, the cut-out comes: He who is LEAST will be great. The very abandonment of sincerity, reality and spirituality inherent in seeking to make your self a grand thing, merely using what is available for the purpose, or at least utilising it as a stepladder is not only appalling; it is abominable. It is the exact opposite of what is in view. This is not the work of a kingdom of heaven living at all. You cannot be great in a regime or kingdom, if you are not in it at all! The grading is for those who are already IN! These, they are spiritual, being born again; certainly imperfect, but not living in spiritual sin as their milieu. It is in CHRIST that they live (I John 3:9, Ephesians 2:6, Galatians 5:24, Romans 6).
Let us turn now to Matthew 20.
occasion is this: the mother of James and John is seeking for them,
a pre-eminent place at the right and left hand of Jesus, in His Kingdom.
Christ at once brings them to the PRICE of the kingdom. It is a place of
giving. It is place of testing. HE Himself, the Lord indicates, has
a 'cup' to drink. What is that
cup ? It is nothing less than the painful passing of His human life into death, so that death might be broken, justice met and love in mercy be triumphant in forgiving the objects of divine love, on His account who has paid.
Could they drink the cup ? THEY could not be as He (Matthew 20:28), acting as a ransom for sin (as in Psalm 49:7,15); but they could serve in something of the same spirit. WOULD they ? The very comparison between serving spiritually in this way, and self-seeking for greatness and acclaim, is odious. Such is the thinking of your relative placement in the very presence of One who ABANDONED His pre-eminent place in order to place people in the beauty of holiness (Philippians 2:5-12), in the presence of God, in heaven where the Lamb Himself IS the light? It is blatant contradiction*3.
No, places at His left hand, and at His right ? these places at His left and right hand are given by His Father (Matthew 20:23).
Thus if someone is wanting to be great, and is using Christianity or anything else to this purely personal end, he is exalting himself. Since "whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Matthew 23:12), such will be humbled, NOT exalted! We are not talking of a momentary lapse, but of a way, a spirit of life.
Someone trying very hard, sweating and seeking because he has found that by humbling yourself, you will be exalted, someone with exaltation keenly in his eye, what of him ? He is merely exalting himself. His humbling is superficial; his heart is proud, his desire is upthrust for the self. God is a Spirit. You cannot deceive Him. Humbling is not of the countenance but of the heart. On whom does He look ? On "him who is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word" - Isaiah 66:2. He sees the SPIRIT of a man, as Proverbs 20:27 declares:
We should "bear with the scruples of the weak, and not please ourselves" - Romans 15:1 tells us. Even Christ did not please Himself (15:3), but rather the reproaches of those who reproached His Father fell on Him. There is no exaltation in scourging, reproach and condemnation. If this is seen as undesirable, a thing not to be pursued, then how does one die daily ? (I Cor. 15:31). If however it is regarded in some light as an investment, so that this is, in some vaunting way a measure of what is the exaltation to come, then how is this poor in spirit ?
Christ's desire was for His pay-load of the redeemed, for whom He paid, and paid because He loved them (John 13:1, Isaiah 53:10-11 cf. Deliverance from Disorientation Chapter 9). That is the way of being Christ-like. If however the procedure for any man be a pretence, and the investment be a mere striving for more, a sort of final advance in pleasure, NET, then hypocrisy has seized the heart, richness of spirit is in its arm-chair as it receives pain, and ambition is the harassment of the destitute soul concerned.
FOLLOWING CHRIST, YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE GREAT. HE already was great, and requiring nothing in order to be EQUAL WITH GOD (Phil. 2.), nothing more at all remaining, He yet came DOWN in order to get a task done, a work accomplished; and love drove Him (John 3:16, Psalm 40, Romans 5:8, I John 4:10-11, Ephesians 3:17-18, II Cor. 5:15-21, John 5:19-23).
? Love does NOT SEEK ITS OWN (I Corinthians 13:5, cf. SMR pp. 1036ff.,
Whether therefore this, which we examine among the devious attitudes of
man, be a direct grab or an indirect ambition, it is the same: the
affair is spiritual, and this is NOT what love does. GOD is what love is.
To be happy in God, you love; for HE is love. How could you be at one with
the One whose desire is to give when yours is to get, and to use God as
a pivot for pre-eminence (cf. II John 9)!
Thus Christianity is from first to last, in its spirit, a matter of giving (John 3:16, Acts 20:35, I Cor. 13).It is not interested in vanities, even using this very term to refer to idols in its Old Testament component of the word of God (cf. Jeremiah 2:5, 8:10, 10:8,15, 14:22, 16:19, 51:18), and not least of these are idols in the heart (Ezekiel 14:3). This inveterate desire of sin to put before it, some idol or other is one of the primary expressions of unregenerate human nature; indeed, this is part of the alienated scene, scenario and passion, to end in such graces as the "idol shepherd" of Zechariah 11:16-17). In this case, the Lord undertakes to raise up such a spiritual fraud as a jolt to their sins and a judgment on their ways. Such indeed is to come! its prototypes have been active, but is zenith will be a darkness visible, manifesting the depths of depravity (II Thess. 2, Revelation 13, 17, Daniel 7, The Other News 5, Biblical Blessings Ch. 2, Beauty of Holiness Ch. 4).
How then are we to explain that parable of Matthew 20, which precedes in the text, the request of the mother of James and John, which we have been considering ?
story is of it simple. A number of men were employed for the day, some
taken earlier, some later, as the day progresses. In the end, all were
paid the same. The employer heard the outrage of those who, having worked
longer, yet received no more than those who worked but one hour. In reply,
his point was simple: IS IT NOT FOR ME TO DO WHAT I WILL WITH MY OWN ?
your eye evil because I am
good ? " he asked.
The account ends with this. "So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen."
SO ? HOW does this principle relate to the story ? Of course, we must realise at the outset that a spiritual lesson is certainly to be expected. What is the essence, then, when you apply this narrative to the spiritual life, the relationship with God ? It comes to this. The attitude of the early ones, as revealed at the time of getting wages, was on GETTING everything for their works; and they neither discerned nor cared for the act of grace, which, taking nothing from their deserts, yet gave just the same to those who worked not so long.
Hence, though called (in the parable, to work), yet in general terms, in their hearts, as first, they become last. What sort of 'last' is this ?
They were outside the kingdom in spiritual terms. In what way ? In this: that they did not see the nature of grace, love it, appreciate it or work within it. But last! Not merely not so far ahead as would have been the case if their attitude had been better! Last rather ...
Certainly last, for if grace is not loved, how is the gift of eternal life itself taken! Would they not be wanting to work for it, to assess everything in terms of THEIR OWN WORKS, so that this would become the criterion, or a basic ingredient of all differentiation ? But it is "not of works, lest any man should boast" (Romans 3:23ff., Ephesians 2:1-12). Works are done; but the desire for gain in proportion, so that one's place and power is measured in terms of works, in PART or in whole: this is wholly reprobate! THESE first to be taken, yet with such hearts as that, are last. There is no room even for seeking a higher PLACEMENT relatively, in terms of one's asserted works. Works have NO PLACE in putting one in a rank or scale, since they do not even gain entrance to the kingdom of heaven at all, as Ephesians and Romans, Isaiah and Revelation so often tell us.
Yet do they help, once one has come into the kingdom ONLY BY GRACE! someone more pertinacious or persistent, might ask. IF the motive of the work, however, is self-exaltation, then as we have already observed, the objective spiritually is the dynamic, and it is this quality which will ABASE. Such an attitude is a long way contrary to the kingdom of heaven, where people are constrained by the love of Christ, and is on a different road altogether.
As to rewards, these are at the discretion of the Almighty, as this parable clearly teaches. DESIRE for reward of an extrinsic character is merely in danger of prostituting spirituality for unspirituality, using the former to satisfy the lusts of the latter. Indeed, the flesh does lust against the spirit and vice versa, as Paul indicates in Galatians 5:17; but those who are Christ's have CRUCIFIED the flesh with its affections and lusts (Gal. 5:24). How then is such a surreptitious or hidden, indirect or devious lust to be accounted spiritual when its very existence posits that the flesh is NOT crucified, is far from it, is merely seeking to satisfy itself with its desires, by spiritual means!
borders on denial of Christianity altogether; and so far from being a way
to eminence, it is in double danger. First, it is wrong in spirit; and
second, it is in perilous proximity to putting works in the mouth as one
comes to one's Maker (Matthew 7:21). Such a thing is abhorrent, and those
guilty of such clamour and claim, are sent empty away. On coming to the
Judge, does one protest as if He did not know ?
Or does one show the leech-like desires of a self-seeking heart in the approach ? Is one loving, or grabbing ? Has one served in spirit, being poor in spirit, or has one been a sort of investment broker, seeking to maximise profit in spiritual purlieus through greedy seeking, and insincere service...
How would one be pure in heart, if one's service to others were for personal gain ? How see God at all if this is the coin of the heart! Was not Christ sold for 30 pieces of silver ? Is it to be so again! Theological hedonism is still hedonism, heedless hedonism.
Let love be without baseness, spirit be without impurity, service be with sincerity, motives be with the Mastery of Christ in view, not some approach to power and glory, for the seeking heart bent on those things, has treasure in heaven in earthen vases, seeking an import licence for dross.
The place has none of it. It cannot come in (Rev. 21:27). Those who wish to ally themselves with such things are like the camel going through the eye of the needle. Unless they divest themselves, they are too broad to enter at all! (Matthew 19:24).
does Paul say ? "Let love be without dissimulation,"
without hypocrisy (Romans 12:9).
Ah but! one may say, HOW is this Christian apologetics ?
The answer is this. Always one is stressing that you have to know your field. If anyone wants to attack Christ, he must know, like a scientist wanting to attack some principle or law, the data. These data just now reviewed, are answering several questions which may illicitly because inaccurately be used in attack on Christianity; and that is how it is an apologetic concern.
us look. Someone may, What if someone repents at the last moment, having
stored up sinful pleasure to the end, in order to get the best of both
worlds! Does Christianity then cater to hypocrites!
but the first shall be last. The clamour for acceptance IN ORDER to avoid
punishment, is not faith. It is investment merely. By FAITH you REPENT,
being appalled by your errors (II Cor. 7:10), loving the God who by grace
sinks them (Micah 7:19-20), and sets you sailing by His Spirit (Romans
8:2), at great cost to Himself (I Peter 3:18, 2:22ff.). Amazing love,
goes the song, how can it be, that Thou My God shouldst die for me!
SELF-ADVANTAGING IS NO ADVANTAGE
now let us now consider and in notion, speak to someone who is seeking
some self-advantageous way of making God a means to his or her own ends.
Do you repent of selfishness, for example, making life a function of your self, with God an observer or an absentee by your will, by USING Him, so making Him yet a function of your life who, if no longer thought of as absent, is yet a means to your ends! GOD is and knows the end, the objective, the purpose since He is a Spirit. If you are USING Him for eminence, as above, or for a fictitious repentance so that you maximise yourself, HOW have you died to sin, and how is it true of you that your "old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin" (Romans 8).GOD CAN redeem people at His discretion, knowing and foreknowing His own. God DOES so redeem (Ephesians 1:4, Romans 8:29), knowing all, unimpressed with abuse of spirit, motive or truth, for indeed
This then is the opposite to the enlightened self-interest case. As to that, however, it is an outworking of the same fiction, seeking to make this time, not of reward, but of repentance, a fraudulent thing, a fiasco, an anti-spiritual, anti-Christian parade. The devices of sin however are no attestation of the actuality of repentance! The efforts to gain are not an acknowledgment that you "count all things but loss" in order that you might gain Christ (Philippians 3:8). In fact, it would be counting Christ but means, that you might gain escape. What you would count loss is integrity, and what you deem gain, is the deceptive entry where you are spiritually alien, like a hijacker trying to enter into heaven and crashing into its towers... except that such entry is excluded! (Revelation 21:8,27).
The heart untouched, there is no regeneration; there is no washing (Titus 3:5), merely a bossing, an exploitation. Repentance to life is not affirmation of sin as a Trojan horse in order to gain entrance. Unless you FORSAKE ALL that you have, said Christ, you cannot be My disciple (Luke 14). If you USE what you have in order to gain more, how then are you forsaking it ?
In short, it is necessary to understand that when God says that you are crucified with Christ who are His, He does not mean that you are seeking in the most uncrucified manner, ways of increasing your unregenerate desires, unspiritual unscrupulousness and striving self-centred ambitions!
Thus there is no difficulty here when you speak not of formalised ecclesiastical 'piety' which some may affect. This is irrelevant as bacteria to hygiene. People who indeed repent are seized in a spiritual awakening which is accompanied by an entire transformation of their spirits, a love for God, a desire to give as better than to receive, an integrity in fixation on the Creator, a love of the Redeemer, a desire for His will (as exhibited in our example - Luke 22:22-46), at any cost.
Indeed some say, If you were REALLY sincere, you would be quite willing to go to hell, if it were the will of God.
That however presupposes that we do not KNOW the will of God in this connection. What is His will, His willingness ? It is that ALL MEN might be saved (I Tim. 2), and this self-damnation as an erratic gesture therefore would merely impede negatively on God's own giving grace and love. That serves no one, but the devil.
Thus we see this of the Christian, biblically defined, as one who loves God above all things (Matthew 22:37, Luke 22), love not being able to be stripped down to some reductionist fallacy or function, since GOD IS LOVE (I John 4:7-8): that he CANNOT come with the intention of grabbing salvation crassly, just in time. IF such a desire were part of the unregenerate life of the person entertaining such crudity and sacrilege against love, a get something for me out of it all, mentality, then that person as unsaved has no more hope of doing something for himself than any other. He or she is merely one more unregenerate sinner balancing and not believing, callow and unkempt.
The SPIRIT BLOWS WHERE IT WILLS. You MUST be born again. THESE are the things that Christ says (John 3). YOU CANNOT induce God to act. IF you come to Him on His terms, in repentance that is genuine, that is actual, that is not dissimulated, then you detest your laxities or failures, and seek His desires out of love. This is no more possible than falling in love with a rich girl as a self-seeking option, if you want to make God serve your carnal desires, fortify your self-centred universe and co-operate with deception.
Love is not directible in this way.
As for love: When it comes, it comes. If you want deliverance, you seek it where it may be found, in God, at His will. You also seek it WHILE it may be found, as the scripture declares (Isaiah 55:6-7). Esau sought repentance, but could not find it! (Hebrews 12:16-17).
When however you do repent and believe in the Lord's Christ, then your old nature is interred, and your new nature given birth, in the presence of the dynamic power of the living God (John 6:29). In His presence there is simply no room for deviousness or deceit, let alone ungodliness as a motivation for godliness (Habakkuk 1:12-13). He is not to be abased into instrumentalism, a mere means to your ends. God IS the end, the objective, the destination, the desire of the heart (Isaiah 11:10, Psalm 73:25-26, Philippians 3, 1:20-21, Haggai 2:6-7). It is He and He alone in this world who, when the earth is shaken, so that what is ageless endures, is "the desire of the nations" (John 14:6, 10:8,11).
That is the whole confusion. When you love God, it is HIS commands, and the love of HIM with all the heart and mind and strength, which is in view. Your old nature being crucified, is dumped, not directive. That is a decisive difference. You life FOR God, not ON Him, as your instrument of selfish advantage, irrational self-promulgation or epicentric revolution.
But what if you were still trying to be insincere ? You COULD still hope to make a short cut at the end of your life, and so find God ? Not more than inducing a delightful young lady to love you quickly in order to allow you to escape a fine by proclaiming yourself married; but rather much less! For with the young lady, she might indeed fall to your devious charms, as some do with bad men; but with God, the supposition that He would turn and change your heart, with such an intention nestling undisturbed within, is like imaging that an arc light might be dim. God is not dim. You have to be full of life, and if any part is not, but reserved (Luke 11:33-36), then you merely falsify the requirement to leave all, and so are left!
What then of our would-be critic of unsavoury characters trying to rush in at the last moment ? It has nothing to do with the Living God, but is a mere mental contrivance on principles wholly other, a God without power or sight, ignoring the realities of the kingdom of heaven, and seeking to gain an import licence for the corruptions of the flesh, into heaven, in order to find complaint against it. It is, after all, rather a botched, a rough job!
Assumptions which exclude the operation of God in seeking to criticise Him are actually very droll! It is like criticising a mathematical project without considering the existence of numbers!
With God, that great Spirit, the means are in love, the mercy is through justice, since He, Christ, died for the ungodly, the just for the unjust; and all you may actually do is turn in faith to receive the crucified and risen Saviour, and that, it is by grace of Him whose hand is then already upon you (cf. John 6:29, 3:8, I Corinthians 2:14, Hebrews 12:16-17). It is not at your discretion; but IF you want Him, then of course you come to Him. If you do, you will not be cast out (John 6:37). It is as simple as that.
See Joyful Jottings Chs. 1, 5, 14; Stepping Out for Christ Chs. 1, 5, 6, News, Facts and Forecasts122, 116, 121, Acme, Alpha and Omega Ch. 9, With Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength Ch. 11.
See Joyful JottingsPreface, 13, 14, pp. 99ff.; News 145, Pall of Smoke and Diamond of Joy Chs. 3, 10; Deliverance from Disorientation Ch. 6, p. 92.
*3 After reviewing the marvellous self-humiliation of Christ, equal with God, taking the form of man for our salvation, Paul speaks revealingly of what is Christian and what is not (Philippians 2:12-24), of self-sacrifice not self-esteem being the normal expression of those in whom Christ dwells (John 6:56, Colossians 1:27, Ephesians 3:16):
"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
"Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.
"But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel.
"Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.
"Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me."