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DEALING WITH DON'TS AND WONT'S
How often does man seek to find the truth without God, or by gods he also invents! This 'truth' does not hurt so much, as receive hurt; for it is for ever involved in antinomies and alogisms, irrationality's indictment. We noticed this in *1 in the last chapter, for example, and the resolutions of what godless philosophy loves to churn, but does not see through, are always provided in the Bible. Here love reigns and obscurity resigns. This is not only because it states harmonious propositions and its principles and procedures match every facet of life with resolution in one view and vision, but because God is both the Author and the basis. Leave out the foundation and your house collapses; jiggle it with endless confusions and it does so more quickly, if possible. Return to the plan and architect, actual observations, and all is clear.
Observations of what is desired are so continually implanted by evolutionism and astronomical theories, lively and material in parallel, as if they occurred, hope the microscope and impiety the telescope, that the poor populace, inundated with wild dreams from white coats, are as liable to delusion as any in Hitler's day. Return to the data and reason, and truth shines as ever, and more brightly if it be possible, the more the data arrive! (cf. Ch. 1 above, SMR Ch. 2, The gods of naturalism have no go!, Scientific Method, Satanic Method and the Model of Salvation).
Logic is vindicated, reason is given relish, truth smiles and peace is available; but not by the rupture of reason, far less of revelation by the shafts of mere desire.
CELESTIAL HARMONY for the TERRESTRIAL HOST, in particular deals with the wonders of the results of abiding in the word of God, unique and as such one more verification of the Bible, while SMR Ch. 5 gives a preliminary overview. The deeper you go, the better the flow; for with perfection, examination is its praise!
To many, however, the open door to verifiable truth is not welcome; for many funds are denied (cf. Ch. 1 above, SMR pp. 203, 252Aff., 309) and for no small company, opportunity to teach is obliterated by mere secular fundamentalism, exclusivistic, irrational, bankrupt and busy with its prejudicial preoccupations.
The mandate of don'ts and won'ts in man is both conformable to and a resultant of his liberty; and the asininity of the results in wars academic and political is but one of the messages concerning freedom's abuse and liberty's misuse.
As to the external wars, resistance of actual invasion may not be unjust indeed, but the invasion is the occasion and it is man's refusal of the Prince of Peace which is the underlying cause of countless aggressive thrust. History shows its oddities, and its culmination will show its resolution in divine and judicial power, with teaching and tests then complete. Meanwhile, just as this peace within, with its vast external results, is available from the Lord according to and as in the Bible even at this hour, so is this so not only in principle but in the heart of each sinner in the domain of power for living a godly life, and that right now and hereafter.
THE DISSATISFACTION DILEMMA
Man in sin inherently tends to want satisfaction with himself the criterion. It may, for example, be satisfaction of a desire to be HELPFUL, for it is not necessarily evil in intention, not by any means, though it often is. Then the desire to be helpful, however, must first have the perspective of WHAT HELPS! To help a murderer kill does HELP; but it is not good! You must therefore first find what goodness is before you can implement wisely a strategy of doing good. The USA may decide that it is helpful to release people from oppression and exploitation by mini-gods with money or arms, where the people are treated like oil pumps, oscillating them for profit for the purposes of pride or arms or glory of some personally estimated kind, whether in terms of false prophets, the option chosen, or more directly.
Yet corruptive power can also strike from a majority, so that any land, with whatever PAST, which NOW suffers itself to become sullied and misled, can not expect democracy by itself to deliver it, or freedom for folly to be its salvation!
Without God, NOTHING works! How could it ? Leave out the spiritual global positioning and you are lost! This does not mean to abandon the car; but to be led while in it! Wheels are not god: for GOD is He, and let God be God, or suffer from collision with reality, and rebellion against divine mercy.
In fact, there is even an economic theory that this satisfaction-seeking is the criterion of man's purposes (cf. SMR pp. 356ff.). It assuredly is one popular with many, but when GOD is in view, either a man rejects Him, the case here irrelevant, or he seeks to USE Him for his own lurks, ways or satisfaction, or else he yields himself to the divine call, and seeks the satisfaction ? yes, and much more, the good pleasure of God, for God IS good. This is what we have found (cf. SMR Chs. 1, 3, 10). This is also what is written and we are discussing what is the cause of human rupture in terms of it, for here is both its explanation and its solution.
If you are seeking someone else's satisfaction, and this is not your choice, but HIS, that you know Him, then of course it all devolves on HIM. To be sure, as to be seen from *1 of the last chapter, this sovereign selection of His is not an alternative to divine love, but its implementation past all error or circumstance of life. When this GRANT of GRACE is made (as in John 6:65), then truth is the criterion and love an implementation of truth. Then it is NOT, and emphatically and indeed summarily NOT your satisfaction or pleasure or even good pleasure that you seek, but HIS. In that case, you do not elect to like His principles so much that you follow them, as an expression of your own essential self; but rather you are elected (cf. Romans 8:29ff., II Timothy 1:9-10), and being elected, you see, and seeing you know, and knowing you understand, and understanding you act in the truth which is there not at your choice or preference, but as SUCH.
We are MADE not by preferences of ours or for them; though our construction allows them, just as a sports car ALLOWS misuse, but does not at all require it, indeed, its very nature forbids it, but not by compulsion!
Love does not compel, but does impel. Yet if man PREFERS darkness, even before the almighty acts of God and His stated desires, that is the nature of being made in the image of God. You can do that, although God is neither frustrated nor surprised if you do: even if He be grieved. Knowledge is His and wisdom, yes and executive power, and none can abort Him (Proverbs 8, Ephesians 1:11, Colossians 2:3,9, Romans 11:33-35, Isaiah 4, 41:26, 43:13). Love is not selfishly interested in grabbing to have, but in giving life where it may be found. What it seeks in its integrity, it finds, where it gives, there is room, and what is defunct in itself, He recreates.
When, faced with the wisdom of God, man says that he WILL NOT, then this has repercussions in philosophy, politics and life. It means that philosophy becomes quite needlessly a chronic ditch and dump; that politics becomes an inordinate exhibit of corruption, ineptitude and mixed motives; that vision seems to mock the many exponents and its limitations to rebuke them. It means that life becomes for many a morbid affair, or a lifeless, or a dispossessed, or a mere ground for exploitation of oneself or of others (cf. SMR Ch. 3). In the sad resultants, pride aspires or cynicism deflates, and in the mêlée, there is ... world history.
With this goes the illustrious injections of divine grace, and the use of those who have received it, in Christ, whose endeavours are seized by the opponents, who often indeed relish their own satisfaction or that of blighted visions, so that much good is spoiled like milk left over-night.
Accordingly, in World War II, the efforts for universal liberty and freedom from oppression were delightful; but the Cold War was the consequence of avoiding the point DURING the war. Thus Stalin is variously conceived, with the host of his co-operators in Communism's lust from 1917 on, to have ruined by death, deprivation or sundry miseries, the lives of scores of millions of the citizens of that dump tank, the USSR. How then could people, even before all of the results were known, but when many of his dire and devilish deeds were very well known, CHOOSE or elect to USE partnership with such a man, in seeking victory over his very brother in blood, Hitler!
Pay ? why of course both to the grasping hand of the Cold War and by the infatuation of many for the Russian armies' victory. This seditious and superficial lure followed Churchill's sending of tanks to save Moscow*1, and the USA's vast and even prodigious gifts, together with the resources of many nations to support and correlate not only for the general war effort, but in the process for the deliverance of the USSR. It was direct ; it was indirect as in Yugoslavia's amazing resitance and hence delay of the brutalising Nazi armies, stricken as a result, at Moscow's gates, with the obliterative cold.
Hence, with this no mean additive, a decadence in truth and folly followed in many universities, and this helped the betrayal of secrets to the enemy, for even if for long many were misled, the hype and false glory could only help to deceive them the more. Truth imparts vision; deviousness helps disaster. God is a spirit; man's spirit shows in his ways, to warp or to elevate!
The false prince so greatly appeals! It is he who has many exemplars, but one base and basis (John 14:30) and one outcome; but it is not yet (Revelation 19).
When the White Russians fought the take-over tyrants of atheistic absolutism, humbling to the human race, seeking to prevent a more complete tyranny than ever, how small a force could have won the day if truth were the criterion of the new nation!
Again, when Hitler took the Ruhr, if the false prince had been met, the means would not have come to hand so readily. But they said nothing and continued saving the peace, the comforts of it, till war abused them to the roots! Continually, man fails to see and allows to happen what is mixed, balancing powers instead of living rightly; and even though Britain for long in much did much better, yet she has subsided into what is to be sure, more than that Island off France, but less than that majesty which put the living and revealed God first: in word in much, and in deed in not a little.
Man the delinquent pays, and wonders that the payment is so great.
What is this liberty which satisfies itself, and not its basis ? It is a form of servitude, so that when Churchill, with commendable spirit and resolve, but limited vision, decided that his life was now being made simple, because he had only to focus on one thing, that man Hitler and his ruin and overthrow, he was making this very mistake. He did it in an exalted manner, and his courage and concerns were often delightful; but the vision was too limited.
Active and applied FAITH in God is a dysfunctional exclusion, and here it would mean that you would not USE what was evil as a means of securing good. You would live and die if necessary by God, and for Him, and deviate not at all from Him. Thus when Churchill reportedly stated that if Hitler invaded hell, he Churchill would attempt to say a good word for the devil in the House of Commons, you see clearly, beyond the exquisite humour, the nature of the case. Evil however can NEVER be commended; for it IS evil.
The DON'TS of history are the dents of righteousness, when the way of truth is departed from as a means to an end.
History is dinted by such don'ts and even when the will which excludes has relatively good things in mind, the won'ts that face divine principles that never diminish or blench, become part of the matrix of muddle and befuddlement, difficulty and anguish that lies so deep in the heart of history.
When philosophy refuses the love and Lordship of God, and His express self-depiction in word and deed in Christ*2, then of course, denying the truth, it fails to find it. Even if your eyes see a submarine's periscope, and you deny it, you fail to find it. It is dismissed as dispensable, irrelevant, and its obviousness is no advantage to your succumbing mind. Blindness does no worse!
What is true cannot without penalty be simultaneously affirmed and denied, nor the superstructure erected while the foundations are being insidiously excavated. Indeed where, as is now so common*3 , its denial is endemic and preliminary to many courses of study, so that the depression and ineptitude of the studies becomes more and more apparent, disciplines not able to agree as Bloom points out in his notable work, The Closing of the American Mind.
Increasingly in the vortices and whirlpools of human desire, where God is concerned, facts are becoming mere cannon fodder for philosophy as both in evolutionism and other fantasies, reverenced by incessant propaganda, such as political aspiration based on man. In reality, NOTHING based on man is either logically or operationally able to succeed. He IS not the base, and to make himself such is irrational and absurd. It is contra-factual in kind, tumultuous and cruel in result, a self-inflicted wound, appallingly repetitive, increasingly pervasive and inveterately corrupt.
It may for a time, like a prefabricated house in a cyclone zone, but the weather catches up, and this too, it is a part of the very pulsing heart of history.
Whether in science or in philosophy, in politics or psychology, the romance of rebellion continues, and its fruits abound*4 , in confusions, compulsions, unmanly mandates. These oppress in education and stir endless turmoil in battles innumerable, where error being the presupposition, a voluminous vomit is the supper. This in turn, and of course, leads to such a reaction into selfishness, or anaesthetised unrealism, as to help account for the world's contemporary and grievously sad history.
Thus if man INSISTS on being satisfied in himself, or in his own ways, then he is sure to be unsatisfactory, since this is the basic error in one of its coats; and being unsatisfactory, whether by illusion seeking to quiet his soul with riches or other domains, political, national or international, psychological or social, 'moral' (cf. News 19) or delusive, he neither stabilises nor secures what lasts, In this way, the ephemeral becomes confrontational, and the self-serving, by direct or indirect means, by surrogate or immediate, becomes common. Where vision perishes, and truth with it in the people, then the result is neither uplifting nor inspiring, and many simply recede into the oblivion that does not hide the death of the soul, amidst the busy circumstances of life.
TAKE the hard course, and find Christ ? for the way IS narrow though readily found ? This is unsatisfactory to the sacred self, which gives up its crown rights to self-control or management, to none, except perhaps for a time, for a line, in word for a season, pending power for another time. What then ? give up to the scenarios that delete meaning and make all subjective except the forbidden dreams that man manufactures and none could really believe, since they are without evidence, reason or verification, but which are TO BE BELIEVED! Give these up ? scarcely in such a case, for then the so sacred self is shown up, and this it does not desire or like; or the controllers are dissatisfied, and this may hurt. Acute can be the vengeance of the vulnerable for their exposure!
Thus in the USSR, the political situation came to resemble this, according to the book, The Games War, a Moscow Journal, by Christopher Booker. There was a more and more understood rejection of Communism in the populace, which underlay the lip service for safety, a certain déjà vu response to the vision, a certain sense of sleazinesss (easy when blood flows like a series of fountains in the main squares) and uneasiness in the social realm, the centres of discourse, the thoughts of the 'man on the street, this grew! That perspicacious author in this field, foresaw years before the collapse of the USSR, that it must happen, even from his survey of the populace and responses at that level.
You could not HAVE the system and you could not openly DENY it, so you fried in its fat. That was the dilemma. Christ gives the solution, but it involves a change which the self does not desire, and its satisfaction cannot tolerate. Tossed on such horns, history smiles faintly, occasionally roars, and then seeks some other vapid vision, like the drunkards who say, Let's drink some more, another cup, another draught, another round! and as the Bible puts it, they are as those who sleep on the top of a mast.
THE PRINCELY PUZZLE and the DIVINE SOLUTION
HOW can I rule my life, and yet be no ruler! There is the princely puzzle. If I CANNOT, then I do the best I can ? Best ? this implies good! What is good! If I am the good, how is this so, since I have neither control nor in myself truth, except I have found God. How can I determine what is determinate! How dare I fail to do so, since I am in it ... and how could I achieve the end, except by merely striving in the milieu, and seeing what more beneficial ripples I can create.
Beneficial ? that implies goodness. What is good ? Again you come to God or a simple negation of truth. YOU cannot be it. Your visions cannot be it, unless you reach absolute truth, which you are not, and so find who He is. Again, reason requires the God of the Bible, but this means that you neither are nor could be the prince. You have to capitulate. This, your perfervid imagination may dream of being secured by chains. There are however points of application, bases for any motion and meaning, and to disdain these is like a car refusing its mounting, or cylinders disdaining petrol injection. When you trust the designer, then the design functions in our own racial case, in a role of non-autonomous but directive liberty. When you seek separation, you limp, not lithe any more, but a disgruntled licensee, obsessed with owning the hotel!
Rousseau seems to have thought that man was born free but now is in chains. He was right in a way he did not know: man was indeed born free when God made him, and he is indeed now in chains; but the freedom is not inherent any more in the polluted products called personalities, except their chains be cast off, and this involves a return to actuality and hence to God. Class, culture and politics are merely symptoms, whether actual or imaginary; and in the mind they can play like rats. The disease is apathy to or flight from the Maker, rebellion or resistance to His reality or its realisation.
Rousseau's extravanganzas of liberty by desire or political or social means ignore the realities: the selves which operate them, as has alas been too fearfully shown since then in every merely man-made system, working in a texture of untruth which threatens the world more and more manifestly. The loss of liberty is endemic now, though it once was actual, like many another fortune of other kinds; and the only solution is return to base for re-establishment of the basis in the truth. This involves that the princeling mortals throw off now this political, now that false and provocatively impudent religious chain, based on nothing, and no more merely indulge their sacred selves, no longer inducing more of the fevers of subjective idealisms of their own choosing.
As well let a sick child choose his dinner, when death imminently threatens, or make his own medicines, as have man restore his own soul in the midst of irrelevant subjectivities and endless subjections and subjugations. Life is not to be found there.
Prince man is an illusion, and the more dynamic the political legerdemain which seeks to make such an aura for man or a selection of the same, the more effete the regime. It is only when man rules for GOD, not as if he were a god, but as using what is given with justice, truth and love, and acknowledging the One who IS God, acts responsibly to all reality, that even rule is more than an exalted name. As in the USA, where much of the litany of lordliness was ASSUMED to relate to God and in many things to Christ, yet it was not so bound.
Thus FREEDOM has now increasingly become
mounted in aspirations to the very heavens, in the Statue of Liberty, and the
Statutes of Liberty, so that same-sex marriages became a rush, power play in
politics a carnal game, power bargaining a listless lordliness, without
principle except for gain, and self-interest whether of the nation or its
individuals: considerations such as these became increasingly the idol and the
The weakening of the national fibre, based on satisfactions of this sort, and lordliness of that kind, has made the USA even for some of the worst defilers of mankind and godliness on this earth, by their inveterate violence and irrational false prophets, a butt for moral lashing! So as for Israel of old, the Lord allows a 'foolish nation' to create trouble, bringing disgrace on the land which once knew more of the authenticity of purity, and now leaves it!
Godlessness or merely symbolic godliness does not work, because it is not true.
BE the prince, and you merely delude yourself; give it up to others, and they do the same: you are betrayed. Hang on to it desperately since it is all you have, and you become an irrational dunce. Without truth, you MUST but live a lie. When the truth has become plain, it represents an uncompromising princely path, like that which Job in his worst moments, suddenly took; but with him, such assertiveness was an exasperated streak of sudden shame, while with this modern type, it is a consolidated illusion.
Tossed on the horns of princeliness, denying the only Prince who is truth, the world is prickled and punctured, and bleeding. Yet still, it neither relents nor repents, just as the Bible declared would be the case, even when the blood flow mounted (cf. Revelation 6:3-7,10ff.; 8; 9:20).
The bull with the horns is certainly a tough one, but then, you do not need to let its horns reach you, since there is a rest available in the Prince whose word determines history, whose works adorn it and whose ways have been declared for millenia, confirmed in Person and enjoyed by millions. Yet this enjoyment (cf. Matthew 16), it is not the objective, merely a result. It is sure to be relished amid suffering, or even death, for the Prince is intolerable to those whose love of truth is eroded, abashed, frustrated, who on the horns of dilemma being ever tossed, never appreciate their loss, being constantly seeking for gain.
Yet in the end, the PRINCE cannot be manufactured, give man ever so much knowledge, or made, be he never so brave, nor illuminated, be he never so apt, for while man is not at peace with God, truth is an evacuee, and limited visions and twisted torments of partial understanding merely afflict. Man desires him, because the vacancy from the desire to delete God is both inexcusable and irremediable.
Man thus invents what is foolish, and repeatedly finds the result when the surrogate of popular choosing, prince begins to fulfil the role of being ... princely. It is precisely this error which surrounded the popular choice of ancient Israel, to have a king to be LIKE the surrounding nations, which of course implied a stature more than spiritually just or socially wise! It got him, in Saul, and how they all suffered until a godly king, chosen as a youth, namely David, after many a nearly mortal persecution from Saul, came to work under the power and name of the God of life.
It is as it has been, and now there is little relief from the Saul syndrome!
Thus the DESIRE is there; yet in this way, its SATIATION CANNOT be. Here is one of the frustration massifs, of the ages, a symptom of uppishness in man, which is no substitute for the lowly, who know the truth, relish it and rejoice in living it.
Hence there must be political instability, for this apart from all other reasons: unless the prince, like King David of old, knows the actual princeliness, and casts his crown before Him whose it is. This does not imply perfection in our testing Age, yet it does mean repentance and pliability when error has surged into existence, as David so profoundly was used to show! (cf. Psalm 51, and I Chronicles 21:11-18).
On the other hand, the PRINCE is there, but when the desire is not, the heart being deadened, the will in chains of illusion, then the animated desire for some such rule continues to mislead, while the life which is His to give, eludes and misses the mark, like a perpetual torment or endless red marks on each successive essay.
Essays in folly do not satisfy in the end; and self-satisfaction, or that of one's surrogate princes, cannot do so. The satisfaction which alone is available, long-term, to man, is that with God; but that is to be found only when the satisfaction of self is no longer an issue! God is then God, and not an abused means to strayings ends, inveterate selves or their choice of surrogates.
It is only then He may be found or worshipped.
It is thus a wonder in the smooth path of truth, that it is HE who liberates by His own power, for His own love, with His own good pleasure that in Christ should the fulness of the godhead dwell, so that through Him, yes Paul repeats it, through HIM all might be reconciled. Such is love. Without it, worship is vain; by it, life is stable, honest, in truth and in peace. Dilemmas' horns are mere oddities for the TV, and the other illusionists or sources of illusion. Frustrate a sense of need and glory, or follow what is fallen: these are horns of a perpetual dilemma for the dead, whose living becomes more a notation of life, than that surge which is its proper course and by grace, its lovely and lively due.
Yet when the actual Prince of Life is found, gone are the inveterate scandals, for the 'scandal' is limited to one which is none, that of the Cross, which in its bare bones exhibits uncovered, the shame of man. This is not only that of those responsible for its performance as a punishment for righteousness, but of those who occasioned it by their sin. There is none exempt in the whole race of man from the responsibility for that; for if pride exalts one to be too good for such a penalty as Christ suffered, this the more openly designates how great the sin is, which thinks rebelliously of its solitary self in such grandiose terms, without God, or without His diagnosis. Such become a sort of hybrid god-man of their own making! Horrible is the thought, and vast the sin which requires indeed a satisfaction for its fault, as deep as Calvary and as openly displayed.
God is perfect, the Prince is illustrious, illuminative, rigorously true in all things, profoundly merciful in heart, delicious in kindness, sacrificially open, immovable in understanding, decisive in discipline, kindly in hope, wise in His ways (as in Isaiah 11, 40, 49-55, 61 and the Gospels, for example). It is He who overflows the highest hopes of man, because He is there before sin came, is the agent and author of creation, the eternal word of God who became incarnate; and He remains by the resurrection, in power after sin's legacy has been solved for man, once and for all, the problem of internal pollution with its economic, social, spiritual, moral, intellectual and inter-personal outcomes.
It is, this solution, like Newton's first essays on calculus, apparently stored in the desks of many, who leave it there, unused. The solution, however, it does not evaporate because of that. The answers are THERE, used or not. If unused, they declare from their place the delinquency of disuse. With the will and ways of man toward God: I won't has no power to delete; I don't has no way to make another reality. It abides where light is to be found. Yet for it, darkness abounds. If pride adds to it, then night intensifies.
The way is plain, and it is pure. Its original source is in grace and love and in mercy; its truth is keen like that of the edge of a sword. It has practical results in attitude and expectation, just as the divine cost structure was practical (Hosea 13:14, Psalm 22, Isaiah 49-55, Galatians 3). This way needs watchfulness and not indolence, as if the very cheek of reminding any Christian of these things were an invasion of privacy, and it keeps an awareness of the operation wrought, for what it was wrought and with what results, before us.
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,
we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing
of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed
and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.”
A little later Paul proceeds:
we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived,
serving various lusts and pleasures,
living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.
when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
not by works of righteousness which we have done,
but according to His mercy He saved us,
through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
that having been justified by His grace
we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly,
that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works.
These things are good and profitable to men.”
There you see that glorious combination of utter grace in salvation and utter sincerity in practice! Here is action divine and realisation human, here is grace divine and attitudes human, here is the saving work divine, and the saved and redeemed citizen of the kingdom in his or her conduct. It is neither facile nor burdensome; it concerns only sincerity and is utterly impossible for what does not belong to God, as if one should try to run a racing car on low octane petrol.
This is the will and do brigade. Liberated will has joy in justice and due concern for truth.
What however of the contrasts still left for the time being in this world ? Let us ponder a moment.
THE DETERMINATE DESTINY
THE MISSED OPPORTUNITY OF OPPORTUNISM
The don'ts and won'ts, the disagreeable relationships with God, the enduring of the results, these all go together. There is a determinate destiny for man, and for every man. This is daunting to some, but that is because as so often, they are ignoring the whole truth, and considering only one facet. The love of God is not some episodic act within Him, for GOD IS LOVE (I John 4:7-8). Thus IN the determinations which are predestination, and they are secure and known before the world was (Ephesians 1:4, II Timothy 1:9-10, Ephesians 1:11, Isaiah 46:8), there is merely the resultant of the love of God. In love, He predestines! How else, for He IS love! This the Bible affirms categorically. Devising a change to a passport photo can be criminal; devising change to God's own self-depiction is a poignant horror, if involuntary, a vast gulf of evil waters, if purposive!
Let no man write for God, His autobiography! It is apparent that for many, the temptation is rife, though the means are not there. His divine nature and eternal power are indeed manifest (as in Romans 1:17ff.); but for His will and His plans, these are His own, and His love, this too! His greatness is unsearchable, while His honour is brighter than the sun (cf. Sparkling Life Ch. 4, SMR Chs. 1, 5, 10, Repent or Perish Chs. 2, 7). .
II Timothy brings a swift perspective:
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord,
nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings
for the gospel according to the power of God,
who has saved us and called us with a holy calling,
not according to our works,
but according to His own purpose and grace
which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ,
who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
“For this reason I also suffer these things;
nevertheless I am not ashamed,
for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded
that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
“Hold fast the pattern
of sound words which you have heard from me,
in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”
God knows His own (II Timothy 2:19). If it means in some instances that there is an inveterate evil which will never relent or repent, so be it, such a soul is 'hated' for there is no truth in him (Romans 9). It is a consequential hatred of what becomes identified irrevocably with lies and fraud. You cannot deceive God, He loves, He discerns, He knows, He elects, He secures, and He does not waver.
If it means in some instances that there is an inveterate evil which will never relent or repent, so be it, such a soul is 'hated' for there is no truth in him (Romans 9). You cannot deceive God, He loves, He discerns, He knows, He elects, He secures, and He does not waver.
Does this however mean that the human soul is to become supine ? Far from it. IF you want God, take Him, He is available freely in Christ. If you do not, then sad as it is, you at last get the absentee result you want. What is then the problem ? That you want to have all the good things and yet to rule ? It is one horn of the dilemma, and is like wanting to eat ice-creams by the sea side during a Winter typhoon. If you want good you have to have it where it is, and hence in God; and if you do, then you are free, and your destiny, determinate as it always has been, is realised in love. If however you think the price of capitulation to God is too high, you are merely inferentially capitulating so someone or something less, and so have no excuse.
Liberty is found only in love, where truth dwells; and it is the wonder that corresponds to our being created by God that since He IS love, where He is not, there love languishes, whether explicitly or implicitly, temporarily or in the end, finally. You may see torch-lights in the hands of others, but where you choose a night season, flickerings without light in your hand, are of small value, though perhaps attractive indeed. So do many see the workings of God, but worry about their sanctity as individuals, in their desire to be as gods. In this way, they lose their actual available destiny as children of God, where the Prince of Peace rules in truth with mercy, by grace.
Yet one says, How CAN there be a determinate destiny that one be free ? It is readily understandable. If you are insisting on putting at the wheel of life, what is not a suitable control because of ignorance, being partial in both senses of the terms, then determinacy comes from obstinacy. If you in your heart desire God, then how readily is He to be found, who seeks you. You are unable, in this as in all, to play the sovereign ?
To be sure, this is so; but then that does not involve a clash of concepts, merely of will. If you WILL not trust God, then how could He be yours ? You are merely denigrating Him, and since He is a Spirit, ensuring that you CANNOT find Him.
If however you simply by faith cast yourself on His mercy, on the merits of Christ, and giving all, retain nothing of princeliness, so becoming a child of God through the pardon He purchased by paying at Calvary for the consequences of sin, then there is no problem, except to ... pride.
WHEN you are found by God, it is at His own initiative; but it is not one which squashes, but releases. It is HE who knows, and it is He who is able to operate. If you desire Him, then, take Him; He is freely available, ON HIS OWN TERMS. These are repentance and faith in Him, the only Saviour and the God of creation and redemption.
Why not ? It is because you want to rule ? yet incompetent before God, this is mere ravishing of liberty, which like an atomic explosion out of control, destroys all. That, it is not liberty but lust. Lust kills. Love enlivens.
See War at the Top, a work on the war, almost a documentary from James Leason (p. 130).
*2 See for example:
Repent or Perish Ch. 2, pp. 41ff.,
Christ Jesus: the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 8
Red Heart, Dead Heart and Pure Heart Ch. 9
and Index on Jesus.
Cf. Lead Us Not into Educational Temptation Ch. 4,
TMR Ch. 8,
Beauty for Ashes, Ch. 3
SMR 354-5, 377, 377, 385, 401.
SMR Ch. 4, Ch. 5, Ch. 7, pp. 611ff.,
Question and Answer Ch. 7, Ch. 1 above, S
cientific Method, Satanic Method and the Model of Salvation.