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The LAW, the LETTER, the LOVE and the LONGING
misconceptions concerning the law are almost innumerable. If it CAN be
thought, you can be nearly sure that it will be. They range like car prices
for optional models with accessories. They rove from dispensing with the
law, in the starkest and most unblessed antinomian contrast with Matthew
5:17-21 and Romans 3:31, to having it return in some incredible fashion,
as exposed in
for example in Light of Dawn Ch. 3, pp. 81ff., SMR pp. 822ff..
We have often considered such things, notably in Biblical Blessings Appendix II, III with I and The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 3 to which Ch. 4 may with advantage be added, Barbs, Arrows and Balms Chs. 13, 20 , Christ the Citadel ... Chs. 6 and 5, and so on. Today our task is specialised.
It is this: to consider the terse word from II Corinthians 3:5-6:
Quite frankly, does this mean that the letter = the law = what is to be dispensed with, so that something wholly other, the Spirit which gives life, may now act ? Is 'the letter' a metaphor for 'the law' and so is law gone and a new unfettered delight of utter liberty to replace it, without the hills of difficulty in specified attainment, objective and long-standing, with all moral stipulations removed from the permanent notice board ? Is the long day of morality now gone, with things ever new, never standardised, except that is, it so happens that they come to be so, from time to time ? Is THIS the meaning ?
The first and chief reason why it is not so, is simple. The phrase 'the letter' does not equal the phrase 'the law'.
In II Cor. 3:7 we find that the contrast is put in other terms.
"But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious ?"Thus the Old Testament approach is 'the ministry of death' ? The love of God which David so embraced is simply summed up as 'the ministry of death' ? Eternal life which he received by faith (as in Psalms 21, 16) is actually death ? To ask is to exhibit at once the lamentable and derisible confusion of such presumption. When you make assumptions about meanings it is necessary at least to adduce SOME evidence, not an immediate contradiction in the next verse!
If one should venture to the next verse again, II Cor. 3:9, we find that there is a third phrase. 'The letter' has come; the 'ministry of death' has come, and now arrives to our faces, 'the ministry of condemnation'. The issue is clear. We are dealing with the fact that the commandments specified death as the due and fitting end for their mere breaking. The law, narrowly conceived in the sense of the Mosaic commandments, meant death. As Paul indicates in Romans 7:11-12:
THEY were brought in with sacrificial multiplicities and such things, to UNDERLINE the reality of sin, not to misrepresent it. It was a school-master, not a fraud, unregistered pedant, a peculiar and improper molestation of the reality of morality (Galatians 3:23-24). A tutor was not, if you will, hired in order to twist the minds of the children. It was to prepare them in sensitive perception and realistically concrete ways, for what was to come. The tutor made things clear; he prepared for the teachings to come, not to supersede the moral and directive ethics or principles, but to have them understood in their total embracive reality. There is nothing slovenly about love; for GOD IS love (I John 4:7ff.). Does adultery then become acceptable, because the heart says, 'I love this other man's wife, truly I do!'. This is no joke. That is precisely the sort of wisdom which this antinomian folly can produce.
Will we then sin that grace may abound ? (Romans 6:1). Not at all! says Paul. Does sin cease to be sin because you love, or say you do ? Not at all. The law entered to show the exceedingly sinful character of sin, not to make a dupe of those who, following it, got mere misconceptions of the divine holiness (Romans 7:13). Is it then imagined that the Lord would like the tutoring to be realised as unjust, unholy, not good, so that we might in all points contradict the apostle Paul ? Does God change ? (Malachi 3:6) in order that man might sin!
It is apparent then, that 'the letter' is equivalent to 'the law as a centre for condemnation following breach of its commands'. It is in that sense only that it is a 'ministry of death'. Not that there was no grace before, for the commandment from Abraham on, not stifled by this tutorial aid of 'the law', was still standing, and the only way of overcoming death by breach was always mercy by grace (Romans 4). There is no change in that. God has not changed; the teaching models have been progressive, and various steps were undertaken, that is all.
Of course, the law in the sense of a huge sacrificial system with various symbols fulfilled in Christ is FULFILLED, and hence obsolete (Matthew 5:17-20); for as Christ made clear, NOTHING will pass from the law till ALL is fulfilled! All ? Yes, every jot and tittle is to be fulfilled. Thus, it is important to realise that if you wish to be dealing with Christ and not some mental construct of your own, that is HIS WORD! As to His words, they will not pass away, though heaven and earth assuredly will (Matthew 24:35).
Not only the sacrificial system, but the ceremonial symbolism is all fulfilled. It is a dead letter, not because it stank, but because it shrank into the sacrifice and portent of Christ (Hebrews 8-10).
Very well, the 'letter' is a Pauline phrase for "the law of commandments contained in ordinances", which being specifically an Old Covenant matter for Israel via Moses, ceased to be a national dividing point with the Gentiles. THAT teaching means that this aspect was fulfilled. THIS common faith in Christ had arrived. Of course, the Christ is the One who made it clear that ALL the law would be FULFILLED and NONE OF IT abolished. If you follow Him, follow that.
Christ did not 'wipe out' the laws the validity of which made His death necessary; for if these had been mere struts and props, He could have removed them without bothering to die at all. Rather their very just, and good and holy impact could NOT be removed, not a jot or a tittle, and WILL NOT be removed, though heaven and earth pass away, not a whit, nor can they be whittled one bit! What He wiped out (Colossians 2:14) was 'the handwriting of requirements which was against us', and this - that He 'nailed it to the cross' is precisely what could be done with things owing, the notification put or even nailed on the door of the debtor. Debt was thereby wiped out, and the cause of it oh so meticulously marked ... in Him! The requirements in their forensic depiction against us, the personalised impact, were annulled by blood, because they could not be annulled in text.
Christ assumed that debt, but did not repudiate the instrument which MADE it a debt! It is what was against us in this law, which He remedied, removed and obliterated, dying the just for the unjust, and providing propitiation, not alteration, through His blood (Romans 3:23). If Christ had wanted to annul the Law, He would not have said the opposite with relish and sparkle! Death would have been superfluous, propitiation a pretence, redemption a mirage, justice an illusion and the Bible would be 100% wrong.
Such a conclusion does not endear such teaching! nor validate it...
Eternal redemption purchased would have been a no sale, and a nul concept (however it is a vital one in Hebrews 9:11-23). Thus does this other gospel seek to interpose in flat contradiction of concept and word, to make its own mistletoe parasitic hold on the word it distorts. As Hebrews 9 tells us, however, it was NECESSARY that the copies of the things in the heavens (in the sacrificial system on earth) should be purified with better sacrifices than these! The word on earth, reflecting the purity of heaven, required atonement as the only way in, for it was the only way out, being based on eternal necessities. It is likewise necessary that misconceptions, aligned to another star than He, should not be confused with the Biblical text or teaching.
It is the word of God which says all these things, even that which is useful for instruction in righteousness and edification of the saints (II Timothy 3:16). It is this which is there for one to abide in, as indeed in Christ (John 15), and this is what the trees of His planting in fact do (I John 3:9).
Did then Christ die in superior disregard of the word of God ? and was His death a mere incident in the matrix of things ? He who said that man must live by EVERY word which proceeds out of the mouth of God ? or is this morally innovative teaching a contrariety of style, an assault on the word of God with panache!
Sound teaching ? On the contrary, to the word of God, it COULD NOT be MORE contrary: it was because Christ would not repudiate His own word, justice, measuring the exceedingly sinful character of sin, not some mythical imagination about it, that He died at all! Truth required justice and morality; love desired mercy and pardon, and grace interposed to have the account settled on the cross by Christ, who thus and thereby became the Redeemer (Romans 3:23-26), not the abrogator.
We do not sing, I know that My Abrogator lives! because that would frankly be a blasphemous repudiation of the objective truth in the need to die. It was not some fake wrath of God which Christ as the Redeemer satisfied in Himself, but a very genuine one (Romans 3:25). God is a God of truth and justice, and it was not some mere speculative morality which He send His Son to honour to the death, in order to rescue; it was 'judgment according to truth' as in Romans 2:2. God does not change. He is not a man that He should call back His word. The word of the Lord endures for ever (I Peter 1:24-25). What is called holy and just and good, yes and truth, is not so deemed by a lie! It is so deemed by truth, for the word of God IS TRUTH (John 17:17).
'The letter kills', then, both by context of words and phrases, which identify 'the letter' as the lethal power of law to kill the unprotected sinner, and by contextual considerations throughout the whole word of God, comparing spiritual things with spiritual (I Cor. 2), as is most fitting, is a scorching reference to sin's cost. This dictum thus has NOTHING to do with some esoteric or even gnostic view of the word of God vis à vis 'spiritual things'. It is rather the LAW in its condemning power relative to the dispensation of the Spirit, in which we all may come directly and without sacrificial and priestly intervention, to the Lord, boldly by faith, for forgiveness and strength. It is not something novel; it was there before: but not in this simplicity of directness, this admirable access, this condition of all being wholly covered, who are His, in all respects, ceremonially, legally, in love, so that we are kings and priests to God.
It is a consummation, rather than a differentiation at the grace level, which is in view; for the law no longer looms in its fearful thrust in this one thing, that its many ceremonial and sacrificial provisions are fulfilled, its ministration by priests is overcome, Christ being now our own High Priest, and the reality of grace is so highlighted and focussed in Christ, that the whole diseased misconception of much of Judaism (Romans 10) is exposed to the uttermost.
Thus there is NO RELEVANCE WHATSOEVER IN THIS TERSE WORD, 'THE LETTER KILLS' TO THE VALIDITY OF THE BIBLE. On the contrary, it is making clear that so great is that validity that death was indeed the outcome of it. So vast was the truth of it, so inevitable the testimony for it, that an event of an unparalleled magnitude followed. Therefore, God became flesh, and as man died because of it.
It is not some literary abhorrence which is in view, for such a falsification is fictional and a fiasco merely. It is not some slighting of verbal formulations, of which the New Testament is a vast repository, even of ethical and moral requirements, which it provides in a multitude of exhortations, injunctions and commands of its own. The dictum, 'the letter kills' is simply a reference to the lethal power of law, taken alone.
It is the more lethal in this, that when GOD has formulated it, NO CLEARANCE is possible except HE BEAR IT, and since this is precisely what He did (as predicted in Isaiah 52-53, Zechariah 3:9, 12:10, Hose 13:14, Ezekiel 34 with Psalm 2 and 22 cf. Joyful Jottings21-25), the awful reality of sin exposed by the excellent tutorial power of the law, to sensitise to its exceedingly sinful character, to its abhorrent and contemptible, its devastating and its derelict-making dynamic: all this is covered. Sin was exposed in its horror by the law; and Christ exposed it again in the horror of His crucifixion depicting its penalty, as He bore it for those who would receive Him. But what resulted ?
It is this. A new directness in a redemption-accomplished world situation becomes available. Now there is the most manifest exultation is in the vast tracts of truth, made available in the most intimate correlation with love, in Christ, so that love met law, kissed it and mercy rejoiced (Psalm 85 cf. Beauty of Holiness Ch. 3) .
Love was not unwise in doing this; it was constrained so to act, regarding the truth (John 3:16, 8:31,40, Hebrews 2, II Cor. 5:17-21, Hebrews 7:17-9:12, 9:23). In the last verse cited, we read, "therefore it was necessary". It was in the first place necessary; and in the second place because of what God said, the law. A necessity is not an option. The word of God is defined as truth. Truth does not vary. The law had to be met. It was the word of God which IS truth. Its violation was therefore unthinkable, and its necessities unwavering.
It is for this reason that I John 1:7ff. tells us that if we confess our sins God is faithful and JUST to forgive us. As Paul states in Romans 3:23ff., Christ bore the impact of the law to propitiate God, to cover sin with His life as a sacrificial offering, and the Father set Him forth as a manifest offering in this way "to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."
is what has been done. TRUTH is what made it just. Sacrifice is what covered
what was just. GOD does not change, but He DOES fulfil formulations in
ceremonies, sacrifices and ceremonies which match the facts.
THE BIBLE AND THE DEATH DEALING LAW
Accordingly, the use of the word, 'the letter kills' to mean something else is illegitimate. To seek to deploy it to mean that the words of God are deadly, and should be disregarded is about as far from the context as it would be possible to go. It is not even in sight, far removed from the argumentation and discussion of Paul, this issue of the word of God, the Bible, and its validity, power and accuracy, relevance or standing.
The issue is in fact the supervening character of grace through the sacrifice of Christ, to meet the deadly consequences of crossing swords with God, when HIS sword cuts between soul and spirit, and is a discerner of the thoughts of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). It is grace relative to judgment; it is sacrifice relative to grace, that is the thrust: it is not the word of God relative to truth in the least degree.
The issues are being condemned and being delivered, by sacrifice. The law is abundantly in this regard in Romans 7 and II Corinthians 3:6, shown as the source of sentence, in contrast to grace as the source of deliverance, through redemption, which is just and enables just pardon.
It is BECAUSE the word of God is truth, that Christ died, He who declared "Thy word is truth!" If it were not so, so far from being the Truth (John 14:6), Christ would be a liar. It is not even possible to escape from acute blasphemy in any such twisting, distortion and indeed importation of other issues into the context of Paul, where the term is further defined twice immediately after the first use, as shown above, in a way so utterly divorced from questions of the validity or permanence of the word of God, as to make such a misconception not merely mischievous if pushed, but ludicrous. Seeking to vary and stray in this way, or suffering it in one's thought, it is the exact opposite of the stark, biblically-defined issues of death for sin from law that is truth, inevitable death leading on to infinite grace which is thrust into the equation to allow redemption.
It is BECAUSE I CHANGE NOT, says the Lord in Malachi 3:6, "that you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob". Psalm 119*1 like Christ in the flesh, is decisive on the inveterate character of the truth of the word of God, which of course is fulfilled in what it portends, for how otherwise would it be true! But it does not vary. There is NO iniquity in Him whose word is truth (Deuteronomy 32:3-4, II Samuel 23:1-4, 22:30-31).
Were God a creature of impulse, of mood, of unenlightened learning, of fitful starts and emotionally fashioned oblivions of past undertakings, there neither would or could be any relief. His word is truth; and His love has met that truth in a truly horrendous marring (Isaiah 52:12-13), which is the figure of sin, as also its cover for those who believe in Him, according to His word (I Cor. 2:9-13, Galatians 3:1-13).
What is gone ? Two things have gone. The structure of symbolism which Christ, having taught it by His word, through the Spirit before He came, fulfilled and satisfied, the nature of things being thereby long inculcated aright, and not amiss: this was one of the things which have gone. The results of what the law taught, He wrought. Hence the bill was paid for believers.
The other ? It is the misconception which Judaism made so fearfully clear in spirit and word (as in Matthew 23, Luke 11:53ff.), of works righteousness climbing clamorously into heaven by its own performance: a thing never any part of the word of God, but a distortion of the X-ray of the law, provided to uncover sin, into a means of salvation! Grace, however, as Paul most emphatically depicts in Romans 4, was never absent, and has ever been the way of salvation.
It is the word of God which says all these things, even that which is useful for instruction in righteousness and edification of the saints (II Timothy 3:16). It is this which is there for one to abide in, as indeed in Christ (John 15), and this is what the trees of His planting in fact do (I John 3:9). It is indeed the word of God which Paul so definitively depicted in its arrival, in I Corinthians 2:9ff., so that comparing spiritual things with spiritual, the substance of the concepts and meaning on the one hand, and the words for their delineation were alike conveyed from the Lord.
This, it is the word of life. It is beneficial to those who receive it, if an indictment to the lawless, who reject it. What says Paul ? "Holding fast the word of life that I may rejoice in the day of Christ" (Philippians 2:16 cf. I Peter 1:23-25, II Timothy 3:16, cf. Pall of Smoke, Diamond of Joy Ch. 8).
What says Christ the Lord:
AIRY-FAIRY FLOSSINESS OF FOOLISHNESS
WHICH SEEKS TO VOID THE WORD OF WELFARE
The law, says Paul, is for wrong-doers. SAYING you are a Christian does not void the possibility of doing wrong; it merely raises the question of sincerity and hypocrisy. No one is perfect ? Only God as man has ever been a perfect man without sin (Romans 6:23, Hebrews 2, Romans 8, I Peter 1:22-24). THAT is precisely how He could effectively bear it vicariously for others, such as would come to Him and thence become heirs to all things (Romans 8:32); for assuredly, if He has borne your sin, being delivered up for you, this is your blessed condition. That is what the word of God declares.
Suppose then someone decides to embark on a program (sinning in PRINCIPLE as well as failing in some matter temporarily in practice) of sin, in the dimensions, the categories specified in I Timothy 1:8-11 ? What things are these that Paul here declares ? The law is for the "lawless, the insubordinate, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust".
in these things in principle, and then where are you ? You are then in
the category for whom "the law is made"
(I Timothy 1:9). The law ? It "is good if
one uses it lawfully" (I Tim. 1:8).
This in no way negates the gospel of free grace; it merely reveals the misalignment scripturally of those who would abuse the realities of grace so that sin might abound, or ally themselves as children of the devil with what God condemns, in whatever is contrary to sound doctrine, such of course as the moral precepts, which are found in the entire Bible, which are useful for instruction in righteousness (II Tim 3:16 cf. Pall of Smoke or Diamond of Joy Ch. 8), and "good" as here declared by Paul.
Thus, it is to use the law unlawfully if you try to reach heaven by attention to performing its precepts. It is likewise to use it unlawfully if you slip along on the downgrade path, tripping never so merrily with astute presumption and sanctified rebellion, rejoicing in defiling its morality or disgracing its moral injunctions. What is not fulfilled of course remains 'sound doctrine'. It always was and ever will be. GOD DOES NOT CHANGE. His word endures, established in heaven, binding on earth, and it is HE who says so! (Cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 7.)
What then follows from this ? When love reigns in your heart, the realities of the law, given by the God who is love, are embraced with great sensitivity and care, so that what hangs on this love, is in principle and in substance, found in you, the law written on your heart (Hebrews 8:10), agreeable to the mind, the very sweetness of the word of its Author, like dew on the lips of the dawn (Romans 8:9-11, Titus 3:3-5, John 14:21-23). Do you then ignore the moral provisions and guess that you are near enough to perfect, and that holiness is incapable of any defect, despite David, and even Paul's own lapse in victorious living (as in II Corinthians 1 where he 'despaired even of life' and why - in order that he might learn afresh that fact that one does not trust in oneself!). Such a position is as far removed from I John 1-2, as one could well wish. Such becomes readily a supercilious peacock screech and nothing less.
Far then is the abiding Christian from this (John 15:10, 14:21-23).
His is not to be above correction and instruction from God and His word because grace has abounded (Hebrews 12:7-8), but in fact, being filled with love ("If any man loves Me, he will keep My word" ), he delights all the more in such attention not alone to the wounds of the Saviour but to the mouth of the Lord. It is all one, and Christ not only suffered but spoke, and the word of God is in Him given the specifications of permanence of the highest conceivable order.
Nor is He about to leave room for some new and false christ (Matthew 24:24), for "the prince of this world is coming, and he has no part in Me!" (John 14:30), and "If you continue in My word, then you are really My disciples" (John 8:31), and as to His words, heaven goes, but these do not! (Matthew 24:35). It is in HIM, Himself that all things are to find the unifying theme and saving abiding, and in none else but He is this should to be found, this container, this unity (Ephesians 1:9-11). It is so since God has purposed this in Himself, we read, even He who predestinated His own to their blessed place in this peace and purity with Himself, by His triumphant work of salvation. It is a trinitarian matter. It is indeed (Ephesians 3:9-13) according to God's eternal purpose that the complete coverage of the two categories, Jew and Gentile (totally the whole world) should be revealed to the principalities and powers.
As to that, it is in heaven also that this unity in Christ is to be found (Ephesians 3:10). The glory to Christ in the church is accordingly, "for ever and ever" (Ephesians 3:21). Indispensable in character, it is illimitable in scope (Colosians 1:19ff.), and eternal in continuity.
Even "in the fulness of times" this is so, and it is likewise for ever and ever that praise is given to God and to the Lamb, one throne, one rule (Revelation 5, 21-22), the Lamb the light and the temple; and when He, having completed the very removal of the very presence of death, hands back His completed task to His Father, still together and for ever do they inhabit the throne and is the Lamb the light from His Father, the very illumination of the city of God.
Before Him, impostors sought to invade the earth, not according to His word; and after Him come thieves of the souls of men (John 10). It is well to find in Him, and thus in His word, the instructions in righteousness no less than the free gift of eternal life by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:1-12), by which an eternal inheritance is provided and secured (Ephesians 1:11, I Thessalonians 5:9-10).
It is thus that in Daniel 7 we find that the Son of man takes the glory and dominion over all peoples and tongues, being given it by the Father (as in Psalm 2), and this, it is the final kingdom which shall NOT be destroyed, we read.
NO other Christ; NO other lamb; NO other light; NO other way; NO other time; NO other development; NO other word of direction, correction and exhortation: for this is our heritage till He come, and it is here that truth is to be found, evinces itself and is confirmed continually, for "the word of the LORD endures forever" (in Isaiah 40:8, as in Psalm 119, as in Isaiah 59:21 as in I Peter 1:24-25). Indeed, the law of the wise is a fountain of life (Proverbs 13:14, just as is the "fear of the Lord"). That, it is clean, enduring for ever (Psalm 19).
That is the domain of the word of God with the God of the word: its inheritance and its holiness (Psalm 119:89, 44, 144, 152). When we see God face to face, the light will be complete (I Corinthians 13), but now it is spiritual godly, good and true. It is like daylight after the night: in the night we see by the light of the word; in the day we see immediately by direct vision. As to the word of God, however, it has such fidelity and is so perfect that it tolerates no change, no diminution or adornment (cf. Mark 7:7, Deuteronomy 4, 12, Revelation 22:18-19). It is attacked. It does not change: it rebuts. It is accepted: it does not change, it operates within, the power of the Author deployed to perform His promises (II Peter 1).
It abides as instruction, as Gospel, as director of Christian living; and the word which was given by the SPIRIT (I Peter 1:11) of Christ, is the word which is applied by the Spirit of Christ. There is not a duality and a war in heaven; there is a trinity and it is all ONE GOD, ONE WORD, ONE FAITH and the room for variation is ZERO. Liberty in love to act WITHIN the word of God is glorious; liberty to disregard it is null. That freedom within the word is legitimate liberty: yet illegitimate liberties are one of the distinguishing features of man, to seize or attempt to seize them. For all his efforts, it is he and his world which seizes up, overheated in its turmoiled presumptions, its inebriated excesses and its stultifying pretences.
Just as fairy-floss is a child's treat at our Agricultural Show; and its sugary lightness is not sustaining nourishment, so adding to or subtracting from the word of God remains the sure request for deserved rebuke. The expression of folly, it is the attestation of presumption (Proverbs 30:6), calling for correction. Is it not enough, what happened to Israel of old, that there must be this seemingly inane and certainly unwise dallying and dabbling with a liberty which simply confuses the friendship of God in the Spirit of truth, with the departure from truth in the spirit of rebellion! To do that most readily, simply depart from what HE SAID.
Christ in meeting the devil, a combat of the divine in human vulnerability
for man's salvation - even for as many as should receive Him - with the
Satanic in its native but irresponsible dynamic, followed a course. What
did He do ? He used the word of God as written, and won. It cannot be touched
because it is very wonderful (Psalm 119:144, 152, 160, 92, 98-100, 129).
THE LANDSCAPE WHICH IS FORMLESS IS FARMLESS
Wandering, free as a cloud, man would often like to leave God, His word, His instructions, His specifications for man, and bring down the house with his famous exploits, conquests of space, inhabitation of Mars, living quarters on the moon, international squelching of whatever gets in the way of manifest survival and so forth.
It has gone on since Babel, and the spirit of the thing is since Eden. HAS GOD SAID! sneered the devil (Genesis 3:1).
Avoiding the premises of creation and the necessities of logic alike, man has wandered into wars innumerable, often irrational as well, hopes incredible, bluster so full of pride and sound and fury that the very waves could stop for a moment, their boisterous roar and listen in amazement. The bravado is as inefficient for the race's peace, as it is proficient in senseless gabble, long the preserve of the mighty and the aspiration of the propounders of every kind of speculation, based on there being no such thing as truth, which they then peddle as true.
The facility and agility for the puerile, the immature, the rebellious, the inane, the profane gives to the race last place in any contest for wisdom. While many have left these foolish, impractical ways, and have made peace with God in Christ Jesus - for God did not forget to act when He made man and man strayed, or fail to know the remedy before He created the source of its need, mankind: yet most continue astray. In what way ? It is in evanescent and undisciplined thought wherever God is concerned, as if logic were a disease and man a professor of pathology, who had forgotten the physiology and anatomy principles and plans themselves, bound fast in evil and error, and ignoring the realities altogether.
It is like those who would farm, but not bother with land; fish, but not be concerned about waterways or seas; who would make money, but not be fussed about finance.
Not however on the confused and failed frontiers of man as God, does the future lie for those who are to have one, other than the fascinating but unwise goal of the spiritual rubbish dump (Isaiah 66:24, Mark 9). It is rather with the God who, articulate in our DNA, is articulate in His written word, and active in His sent Word, incarnate as the Son of God (Luke 1:35), that a prospect lies unchanged. These things we have traced in Repent or Perish Chs. 2 and 7, SMR Ch. 1 and elsewhere.
For the present our concern is practical. Avoiding the foundation in the Founder, man is a foundling. Foundlings can be fine, if someone brings them up right. This foundling, however, the alienated human race, is such BECAUSE it refuses to be found, and hence to be brought up right. Its butt is God. Its bastion is itself. Its creation has given it ground to think better; but its will is to act worse.
As God indicated, the time would come when the combination of inveterate and innumerable wars, famines, plagues, earthquakes, evil actions and evil people would make life on earth impracticable, the globe uninhabitable (Matthew 24, esp. verses 21-22). Man is saying, NO! We will have*2 some hope in the Kyoto accord, the UN, the WCC, the limitation of liberty of speech, the crimping and cramping of whatever it takes, as we have sought in various empires before, such as those of Hitler and Mao, Stalin and Napoleon. We will manage somehow. We WILL not give in; we will fight God on the beaches, and in the lanes of our lands. We will rebel, and we WILL NOT go to hell, for it is not convenient.
To the living God, always there, never without a testimony, whose word does not change, they declare: 'GO!' or else, they procrastinate with 'SOME OTHER DAY', or other cant.
Hypocrisy is like an ever-flowing fountain of filth. Inability to provide any honest and enduring answer to the Bible of God, is the witness of fact. Faith embraces what disfaith*3 detests; and God requires faith, a thing which logic attests uniquely valid, but will divests as uniquely abhorrent.
So does mankind in vast numbers propel itself to to the pit.
as our subject is to the fore, let us consider the results relative to
the word of God and its fulfilment, as distinct from sanctimonious junking
of it, by people who say they believe!
Perhaps Madam or Sir would like a Bible without law ? Sure. Without this particular Christ, or with a lot of selective models ? Sir, of course; Madam, naturally. Perhaps some sort of law which can be distilled from many sources, ex-God, a sort of UN contrivance of law without Lord, and man as the centre, cynosure and arbiter of all ?
But sir! surely SOME place for God. Ah! of course, Madam ? You would like in our spiritual supermarket*4 - and of course there HAS to be a mark-up for we all must live, is it not so ? - a place where the goddishness of God can be adjusted, as in an intake manifold in a car. So much of the divine, and of course, sir, I think I hear you - mixture rich or other of the divine ingredient in any case. Yes, that is a way. Let us see now ... (oh, excuse me, but I think we forgot my superannuation, SO important if we DO continue, is it not! - thank you).
It is not that man cannot learn; for the case is far other. He WILL not. He WILL have his way like some obsessively and disastrously wilful child, who not merely wants a particular thing or series of things, but his own way as a right - a sort of modern education robotic child, rabid with irrational liberties, conferred before reason enables, grasping for godlike powers, to be culturally 'given' though they do not come even to adults, without God!
Education of course is merely a function of the disastrously dysfunctional being called natural man (cf. I Cor. 2:14), and it interprets his follies in enabling the next generation to be the next marred remnant of the race, ready for works even more atrocious than two world wars in one century, lasting a total of some 10 years, with wars innumerable beside: for to define every tribal rort and impact, every group murder, every child theft for slavery and forcible religion, every land conflict, every super-power contest, every ideological lust and thrust, would take such time in definition alone, that it could prove all but endless.
Rumours of wars was a further martial criterion of Christ in Matthew 24, we find. It goes with gross and utterly evil actions, evil people multiplying and evils ways marauding. We have it all, feminism seeking special favours in terms of 'justice' and masculinism having held them already; little nations wanting the power, as in Georgia, to be independent, and then sections of it wanting the same relative to the rest. Restlessness in religious violence, commercial violence, trade outrage, psychological enchantments, spiritistic hypnotics, romantic allurements, power exhibitions, glory seeking devices like heat-seeking rockets: this abounds. Fear and nervousness, tension and the tide of uncertainty afflicting the boisterous incompetence of misled principles, these come just as foretold.
In the midst of it all, the word of the Lord is clear, competent and the answer for man. It is His Maker's manual and since the thing made is exceedingly wonderful as an invention, there is NO hope of pretending to know enough to make another, though his desire for such things will be a pre-occupation undoubtedly until the Lord comes to make up His accounts.
This He has done already in terms of pardon and demission, and those who receive Him do so in terms of a thing still in His hands, for salvation is a product of the will of man or of the flesh, or of blood at all, but of God (John 1:12). Man does not like this either, but trust in God is again the answer, for He is on record quite clearly that He would have all men to be saved (I Tim. 2). Not so with man however, for with many, they would not only be excluded from such a result, but would, forcibly by arms, or subtly by psychological romances, seek to deter or prevent it, even for others (just as did the scribes, in effect, as in Luke 11:52ff.). Religious forces then co-operate (and you see that in its final phases, in Revelation 13 cf. The Other News 5), and they try to make the sheer sordid pseudo-splendour of the race seem a godly, yes a divine thing.
The sects have helped this end, seeking to remove the actual christ by rejecting Him while still naming Him, maiming His word and following their own lusts. Special ones like Islam and Romanism, and derivatives like Communism have done their will likewise (cf. Chapter 4 above, and Barbs, Arrows and Balms Ch. 30). Violence has been in the latter group, and psychological violence has often been in some of the former. Terrorism now makes an enormous contribution: for must not there be a defence against ... well, anything that can stir people ? And what stirs more than religion ?
Already, in Europe, a voice is heard as recent news exhibits (DW TV), concerned at the loss of liberty for the means of security. Others, more subtle, have long sought just the same, making religion a butt, and so God a victim if it were possible, of their desire to have a quiet life in someone else's home, without that party's consent. SO it is in this world, and so is the inane pre-occupation with ignoring the Father, making 'nature' the mother, and then ruining that, like unwise sons and daughters, in the interests of various lusts. After all, when lust is your lord, how can you expect to keep it out of the mess it must make ... except by force!
That never works, is often tried, and populates history like the star fish which decimate reefs, and do not hurry away. Force will as the Bible predicts in Revelation and elsewhere, be tried to the end. It is in its end, that the end of the regime of unrealistic seduction of spirits to avoid God, ends. Where truth is rejected, force is injected, for it is like refusing a fit with the wrong key, and seeking to jam it in. As to this romancing in rebellion, its blunted disabilities mount; its end is assured.
Meanwhile, do not try to farm without soil, to live without spirit or to act without wisdom. In God and in His word is the truth; truth without absolute truth is not possible to obtain. Absolute truth without a personal divulgement from Him, is impossible to obtain. The relative is constitutionally incapable of it. When you divorce yourself from truth by mere wilfulness, you merely add fog to confusion, and folly to dissolution. It is true that the world will be subjected to dissolution (II Peter 3); but not yet.
There is much to answer for; and in the word of God is your answer, if you want one that stands. It is always important to realise that in God, there is no lie able to stand, no logical invalidity of any importance, no capacity to be hoodwinked. Despite the words of one known to the author, When I get there I'll handle it as I did this world! truth does not bend. Lying is a liberty to be truncated, and truth is a feature that is the source of judgment. It is according to truth, not to the word of man against the word of God.
The point is this: HE KNOWS. Truth is the only possible criterion. it is true that mercy has in truth provided a way of escape. Without that, the truth is this, that judgment is according to the word of God, and as to that, it is written. It does not change. It does not yield a comma. It is refined (Psalm 12, 111) and defined in the book of the Lord, who, articulating His mind for man, has ridiculed the concept that the idols of man will deliver him. Even when that idol is man himself, it does not alter the case (II Thess. 2:4-10).
"The gods," God tells us, "that have NOT made the heavens and the earth will perish from the earth, and from under these heavens" (Jeremiah 10:11).
On what, after all, should they stand, for they neither made the earth, nor understand it, nor is it theirs; and as to man, he does not even understand his own being, still frequently in ghoulish fashion under-aware of his own spirit, while telling us by his spirit that he does not have one (cf. SMR pp. 348ff., Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium Ch. 9, incl. End-note 1; Benevolent Brightness or Brothy Bane 80; Scoop of the Universe 44, SMR 4; Repent or Perish Ch. 7, Extension 1).
How humiliating (National Geographic July 1997, p. 84) for neurophysicists to find that they cannot even find how man so readily and with such amazing skill can isolate what he wants and discern the relevant. Is it to amazing, however, when we have purpose and understanding from our spiritual equipment, that the use of the semi-automatic devices of our physical being, enable things to be found as provided in the construction!
The invisible domains are far from ineffectual, and in fact the visible itself is merely an inference of the invisible domains, even in us, even in us, are far from ineffectual, where spiritual assessment controls and directs equipment usage (cf. It Bubbles, It Howls, He Calls Ch. 9, Repent or Perish Ch. 7). Dower of God, they have power in their due and true usage. Vital and invisible, the person whose is the equipment is not duplicable by the matter-pushing or neural kidnapping prowess of man.
How humiliating that man has left largely his psychological analysis as the front-line method for the psychiatrically sick; for it is ruinously expensive and of more than dubious value (cf. SMR pp. 333ff.). Now pills to control become the admission of defeat. Man does not understand without God, and his desire for God to be found, to be located in precisely no centre is pandemically so strong that man would seek to persuade Him, or dispense with him (cf. Galatians 1:10): that is, autonomous man, the impersuasible by manifesto, the manifesto indeed to delete the divine party.
Like so much in the human manifesto line, it does not work. It does not because it cannot.
They tried it on Christ. He rose. God is insuperable, one of the most glorious facts of the universe being that the best, the epitome and source indeed of love, truth and honesty, should be the most powerful. Who would not praise Him!
The deletion button should
be set down firmly on sin, and the way is a spiritual sacrifice in which
you return to the Maker as the made unmade, to be remade by the power which
first made you. For Himself, He has provided the sacrifice that covers
in Christ crucified and risen. Your sacrifice is no more than a rubbish
night, burning what is unworthy to remain: that of sin. To be sure, that
will only be by His grace; but equally sure, refusal is identification
with the rubbish. And that, if ever there was one, is a self-inflicted
wound. Living rubbish is by definition wounded.
*1 See SMR Appendix D.
President Putin in a very fascinating speech on the BBC news (November 13, 2001), expressed the thought that an entirely NEW MECHANISM is needed beyond NATO for co-operation. He explained this as he was immersed in a very detailed and wide-ranging assessment of the results of his talks with President Bush in the USA. It is surely going to be convenient for the dynamics of the end to have more and more centralised mechanisms, centralising indeed, for power to propel itself.
This is in no sense a reflection of Putin's intentions; merely an observation of the matérial for the end, and its increasing availability. The requirements, logistically, of Revelation 13 make the current phase of anti-terrorism, a most apt amalgamating dynamic for the deadly controls of the end of the Age.
The next visible step,
the leaves fall, the structure will become ... clearer.
See SMR Index, faith.
The moral dimension alone in this fiasco is a miasma of mist and mystery, without resolution, because wrongly based.
See Divine Agenda Ch. 9, *1, Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Ch. 9, Things Old and New Ch. 4, and Epilogue, Pall of Smoke, Diamond of Joy Ch. 1, Scoop of the Universe 52, Ch. 5, *2 above, with News, Facts and Forecasts 121.
*5 Cf. That Magnificent Rock, Ch. 8, News 145, Pall of Smoke and Diamond of Joy Chs. 3, 10, Repent or Perish Ch. 5, Stepping Out for Christ Chs. 1, 5, 6.