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EXCEPT YOU REPENT YOU WILL PERISH
These words, found in Luke 13:1-3, are taken from the declaration of Jesus Christ.
It was one given where, asked what was the special sin which people on whom a tower had fallen, must have committed, or what their parents ... Christ replied this:
"Do you suppose
that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they
suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all
- Luke 13:2.
There are nowadays disasters and devastations, mass murder and mayhem, folly and fiasco of dauntless visionaries, whose vision is death, though they call it life.
How would a man be better than God, or see through the vile violences of his Maker, who with excruciating horrors in that model, invented a world by means of vice, viciousness and folly, where those who pride themselves on their being better, are better than God! How could you even know God when you were yourself a part of His violences and idiocies, while PRETENDING to be better, a cog in His mechano set, a unit in His atomic structurings, a pulse in His contrivances? Did He tell you? Alas, He has told something very different!
Will God create a world of madness by sobriety? Or will you be sober and He mad? Or will you be good and He bad? Can you have knowledge which He lacks? Or has God evolved? And by what system and who made it? Could you penetrate to the heart of the Most High, and tell Him? or are you part of this world and its ways, and have you come to even exist by the whole parody of surviving first, and doing the worst as the case may require? And if so how are you better? and if you are better, where did you obtain it? and if you are better than God, how did it grow? And how could anything be good if God were bad? Or are you enlightened while He is in the dark? Has His handiwork outwitted Him, left Him wallowing in stupidity and aridity and vacuity and outlandish follies which simply do not work, and threaten this benighted globe, while the world has such as you who both see and know better?
Better than God? It is no small assumption. It is to make of yourself your God, and to fail to have the advantage of being divine! It is to be your own maker, and to assess favourably what you have made, or your family or your school, your nation, your race or your culture, of which you are so fine a member! Do you remember the story of the publican (quisling tax-gatherer on behalf of the Romans, grabbing from your defeated co-nationals for gain, as administrator) and the Pharisee? This also is found in Luke. In 7:29ff. we see that many publicans repented and "justified God", being baptised.
What does this mean? It shows that they acknowledged their sins, in that being baptised is symbolic of washing, a sprinkling such as the Bible prescribed to "cover", formerly in blood but now in water, since the only blood that counts was that of Christ, now once for all shed (see Questions and Answers 11, 9).
But how did they JUSTIFY God? It was this: THEY had sinned, not God! They were RESPONSIBLE for their sins, not God. GOD had acted for their deliverance, not they! God in Christ had PROVIDED for their relief from the mischiefs of flesh, carnal imaginings, gainless profit and selfish advantage. Their insane putting of themselves in the cockpit of life, to drive the aeroplane of their selves as if they made it, making themselves the centre of operations and imagining and imaging what they would, clearly irrational and contrary to reality, was not the end. God had not created them mad and then turned His back on them. HE HAD ACTED.
CHRIST was the culmination of the action, and His salvation was the heart of the culmination, His self-declaration being the exposition of God, the manifestation of truth (John 14:6). As to that, they received Him for who He was and for what He had done.
Hence in acknowledging their OWN sin, they justified God. They did not blame HIM for their own faults, or the world's follies, but admitting their own errors, they acknowledged God, that He had provided not only the power to sin, a part of the power to love, something which arose by their own misuse of freedom, not as a gift, but as a molestation of His gifts: but He had provided equally the power of salvation.
They were not Darwinists,
and this not only because he had not as yet managed to arrive on the scene.
They justified God, not by blaming Him for the calamities, personal or
national, processive or philosophic, judgments and warnings: but blaming
themselves for their own sin, acknowledged the purity of Him who forgave sin,
and His provisions.
In A Spiritual
Potpourri Chs.1-9, and That
Magnificent Rock Ch.1 as in The
Shadow of a Mighty Rock, Chs.1-3,
we show the IMPOSSIBILITY of the Darwinian concept, and any like it, of the
whole organic evolutionary concept for the making of life and its basic forms
and formats; as equally the necessity of the righteous God, by logic. Here
however, our concern is to see some of the moral follies of the
application of the truth to the personal life of man, to the arrogance and
spiritual idiocy (Hosea 9:7, Psalm 53) when God is not justified, but people
instead would justify themselves. Indeed, let us revisit the last named book,
p. 100, and consider the matter a little further. We shall somewhat adapt it,
add to it, and for all that, let it appear indented below.
Perhaps it may not hurt if we toss this aspect this way and that, a little more, the better to appreciate what may be obvious to many, since it is for many, critical to life itself to realise what is happening.
It is assault on Him, whether on the part of those who so lie to
one another and to Him - or indeed ABOUT HIM. Ignorant of nothing, alert to the
alive, sustaining all things, it is to Him the invasion of His property, His
principles and His power mounts its thrust. A contrary spirit as well as a
contrary quest proceeds. Not merely is it contrary; it is antagonistic,
militant and machinates. Of this, He knows the end, before it begins, and He?
He has no place for the learning by misfortune who invented events.
has no potential to develop, since there is none to endow Him with it, nor growth membrane to confer, nor is there deception to assist who needs no assistance, nor abuse to misuse, who has all, and for whom what is arises from He who is, so that it is in itself, His desire. Moreover, if He were deficient, and needed the sight of suffering for His comfort, deficiency is the lack of what is needed for a purpose, and such a lack at once entails an endowment of what does not match in one thing, what is present in another.
That however is the nature of creation which comes to be, and is not its own self-sufficiency.
Again, had He ignorance of developments, so that He needed to find out, and hence suffered things to 'go awry', this is merely one of the endless seeming contradictory propositions which might be made, all irrelevant, for they all start by assuming what the necessities of the case have been shown to require: HE HAS NO NEED. HE IS FREE ENTIRELY. Knowledge moreover takes derivation from Him, and strictly, without Him, is not possible, merely instead leaving the vacancy to reaction-response involvement. Exhaustively, utterly and always, He knows all that is, having invented all that is, with no other place from which anything at all could be drawn.
Ø a) nothing can embarrass,
Ø b) nothing resist in the end, in the fulfilment of His plans for His purposes, and
c) none may disregard,
o to the abortion of His ways,
o to the submersion of His principles,
o the harassment of His nature,
o the compromise of His operations,
o the invasion of His purity, or
o to the abuse of His desires, designs and deliverances.
To create liberty is wonderful, though its results can be strong. It implies the possible expression of things contrary to Him, blatantly or wantonly; and it enables the securing of persons in His image, who can love and respond to Him, to each other and to trial, test and reality. (Cf. Job 1.) Liberty is readily understandable, and for my part, intensely desirable, a massif of life, profound like the heavens, deep like the lakes, a magnificence in His image, astonishing to the mind, stirring to the heart, enlivening to the spirit.
To let such liberty play 'God', however: that is something else; and since He lives, it is He who is God, that infinite all-surveying Spirit, so that the confused whirring of contrary procedures and principles as the status quo, in the established pattern of what lives and relates to Him, would compromise Him, contradict His speech, annul His provisions, would meld with His plans, meddle with His life-projects and master the performances of Him who knows all things - unless He acts to invest it with His being, to qualify it with His power. And He lives forever.
Indeed, He who has created
liberty has known its exercise and provided for its abuse, His principles
upheld, His procedures ample, His remedy for this foreknown development, in
place (see The Everlasting Gospel, Item
17, Barbs, Arrows and Balms), so that His people are within
its hold, His enemies within its control and His plans perfect. At the
direction of His word, which brings authority into the melee, all is accounted
for without remainder, and the love of liberty with the liberty of love, His
own sacrifice the make-weight, His own Being the source and the focus, is
consummated in a redemption which leaves the original liberty a mere
preliminary here perfected (cf. Hebrews 12:23-29).
Further: Death indeed is not apt for the Almighty whose life made it all, whose knowledge sees the end and creates the beginning, and who is always as He would be, nothing delaying or compromising: the "I am" behind all that grows and goes. Ever what He would be, He is without end, as without beginning; and as to death - it would be... a change!
But not for Him: who being always what He would be, and knowing all things, subject to no plans for Him (for there is none to make them), all depending on Him - has no change. When, as planned in love, therefore, it took the body of Christ, His Spirit at once returned home, and on earth He simply broke death (Hebrews 2), in a deep and vastly ramifying sovereign deed. This fundamental miracle of the Creator of life, He took care to do with mathematical precision (in 3 days, Matthew 16:23, I Cor. 15:1-3, Acts 10:40, Luke 24:21 cf. SMR Ch. 6) and geographical consummation (Matthew 26:32, John 21, cf. SMR Ch. 6, pp. 473ff.), indeed further prophetic felicity in that this last was done in Galilee, the predicted site of sovereign splendour of light from the Lord, for some 7 centuries, when the Messiah would come (Isaiah 8:21-9:7 cf. Divine Agenda Ch. 5).
HIS Agenda never fails.
Plans are from Him, not for Him. Things of process change, limited, conditioned; but the Inventor of process, for whom all process which moves on the way somewhere is creation, He does not change and arranges all things after the counsel of His own will.
Neither does He change for
the better, being always what in all knowledge, is best; nor does it
occur for the worse, lest being the best, He acknowledge it was not so, who yet
knows all. Both change and death are simply self-contradictory for God, but
those who contradict Him, it is they who will change.
A problem out of the power of God! a problem in the very world which He created, out of His depth, beyond His scope, when He had freely created all things, the whole set of abilities and of circumstances for all created life! It would be like telling a film star that she had no face, or a financier that he had no funds, or a real estate agent that he would not know a house if he saw one! Since God Almighty has been shown a logical necessity, this is not merely insulting, blasphemous, but impossible.
feel the horror of so much pain for others...
but He, who made our hearts and our feelings and our moral thoughts
in the beginning
(however we misuse this PART OF OUR equipment, yet it is there, in our hearts - however spoiled, leaving its residue at the worst),
He does not feel ?
God who made the heart, does He not feel?
God who made the mouth, does not speak ?
God who made the mind, does not think? He is incompetent who contrived creatures with the power! To ask is to answer.
2. LEAVE HIM ALONE: ILLUSION OF THE
But some may want to leave God 'alone', or simply disregard Him, idly discount or even emptily deny Him. Will they then instruct us in their 'truth'? Let us quote again, this time from SMR p. 101:
It is unwise and indeed the utmost in arrogant presumption if derivative man, with unmoored mind, man who does not accept the specific, identified and rationally necessary revelation of God, comes to pontificate on `truth', on the reality of things.
Will a conditioned or limited man, reacting and being able to do only what has been given him to do, erect himself as a founder of truth, a source of criticism of the God who made his little mind ? Will a cog discuss the design with the designer ? Will a man without the revelation of God, tell Him what it would be ? Will man show God His own mind!
Will a limited and sinful man without knowledge of absolute truth, even as a perspective, say that something is absolutely true, or work on bases and ideas as if they were valid and worth arguing from, when he does not yet have the knowledge of absolute truth, on which to start and on which to proceed: either not knowing God, or if knowing something of that, not believing it; or in any case, not having access to this absolute truth in the mind of God, who speaks when He will, as He will...
The case is hardly improved if man does not believe there is such a thing as absolute truth, while making various statements in which such a property is assumed to inhere, or presumed to be possible! Surely the Primary School student is scarcely guilty in his first beginnings of such enormities, through sheer immaturity, as beset the mind of mature man, through rebellion. (Cf. SMR Chs. 3-4; pp. 1, in so doing you invoke logic which in turn requires the God who has made both it and you.
· 3. ABSTRACT ONESELF LIKE AN ATOM ?
But someone may say, ‘I neither deny God nor affirm ANYTHING.’ But this is self-contradictory. In so stating what you are and are not doing, you are indeed making ‘meaningful’ affirmation, and as shown SMR Ch. 1, in so doing you invoke logic which in tgurn requires the God who has made both it and you.
IGNORING, DENYING or EVADING GOD is alike useless and irrational. REPENTING is both necessary and provided for, BY GOD. The publicans justified God, do you! or are you His critic by ignoring what He is and has done, not responding to the most complete and staggering attestations which he has provided in Nature, in the Bible and in Christ!
(See The Aviary of Idolatry, Highway to Hell, The Everlasting Gospel, Generation of the Dispossessed - Barbs,
Arrows and Balms; Magnificence
of the Messiah - Biblical Blessings; A&F Schools - A Spiritual Potpourri.)
the prophecies, from Jerusalem's fall, as also foretold by Daniel in Ch.9, to the restoration of the Jews (Luke 21:44), to the profusion of His slithering and serpentine substitutes who were to - and do abundantly now, misuse His name or His fame, and hence to our own times, in their specialised and specific forecast as a contour of events and characteristics (SMR Ch.8),
the panoply of power whether over sickness, demons or the weather,
the historical provision which led from long before, to His exposure to the world in hundreds of fulfilled prophecies ranging in topic from His date to His death, His healing to His joy, from His words to His Gospel, to its spread and to its extent throughout the world,
the program which He followed as laid down both in the OldTestament and in His own words,
the penalty-bearing and
the precision of His answers in all matters with which He was confronted, and
His performance, never aborted, never failing and never out of His depth whether with words, disease or events of any kind;
His predication of His power to the presence and His place with His Father (John ) ....
We could go on, for where can one stop with perfection. The Bible, the Creation and the Lord Jesus Christ all speak with one voice. Sin speaks with quite another, whether in the judgments Nature has received (Romans 8) or those which man successfully pleads for, from the Almighty, although He is all but incredibly patient (II Peter 3:9). As to the judgments on this world, they roll up like a crowd to a circus at the booming of the drum, and the drum? It is the sins of this world which neither diminish nor depart, its failure to repent of its wooden worship of nature, like the fallen Israelite parties of old (Jeremiah 2), of the world and of themselves as altogether the greatest there can be, or at least satisfactory and acceptable to anyone anywhere: and IF NOT, where then is their repentance! And if so, where then is their Lord? NOT in their hearts, or else they would be His and say so (Romans 10:9).
Will you then justify GOD
or justify YOURSELF? And if yourself, then you are your own cause, your own
centre and your own power, all manifestly absurd if reality is in view, fantasy
and pride in abominable distortion! Publicans did better than that.
Let us then
think again of
Or of Mecca, where the invisible is imagined, where God is imagined, and His Son subordinated to His 'creator', Mohammed, made Him anew in writing, who had made history with blood, who was not baulked in his reconstruction of Christ by a few hundred years, and had none of His powers (cf. SMR pp. 50ff., 989ff., 1080ff., and Barbs, Arrows and Balms, Highway to Hell ).
But there, it is there that there is provision for repentance. It goes on in Isaiah at once:
The sprinkling is the cover with blood, once portrayed through that of animals, now in Christ whose death is signified by the blood, whose cover by the sprinkling, whose pardon by His substitution of His own life for that of the sinners who repenting, not only 'justify God', but are themselves justified (Romans 5:1), for He the Lord, died the
By contrast, look at the superior strutting of being BETTER than others as shown in Luke 18, where the PHARISEE and the PUBLICAN both went to pray, and the former rejoicing at his superior estate, the latter downcast without even lifting his eyes, since his awareness of his shortcomings before God and man was like a mountain on his head. One asked God to have mercy on him, a sinner; the other thanked God that he was not as other men. The PUBLICAN, public folly though he had committed, went away JUSTIFIED RATHER THAN THE OTHER, declared Jesus Christ.
Jeremiah tells us this ():
"Yet you say, 'Because I am innocent,
Surely His anger shall turn from me.'
Behold, I will plead My case against you,
Because you say, 'I have not sinned.' "
so much, the Christian institutions, the 'preferred religion' in Victoria at first, in the very Constitution, being declared as Christian; we have had the fruits of His goodness
so long in
so many things that the current wildness both
in many Bible-suppressing churches and elsewhere, that this question must be asked.
Is THIS result after SO MUCH FOR SO LONG, not as extraordinarily insulting and provocative to God, blind and feckless for this people, as it was for the Jewish people in Jeremiah's time!
Moreover, if there is any
difference, it is not helped by the fact that this, our own Australian people,
like much of America and Europe, has had CHRIST preached to them, while the
Jewish people, though profoundly covered with His graces and testimonies
including the prediction of His coming, have not had so much preaching. It is
nevertheless true that LATER the nation of
But let us revert, and contemplate the case of the publican, that is the quisling tax-collector, and the Pharisee. Where are they fitting in, who having so much for so long, now so treat Him! It is to be observed that it is one thing, like the Pharisee, to thank God for being better than other men: something not impressive to the Lord as we have seen. It is however another when it is taken even further. And is this not done when the pleasure or predilection felt is this: that one seems better than God! or that one is ignoring Him, or disdaining Him or even caricaturing Him as in organic evolution, Communism and Romanism (see Aviary of Idolatry, "Barbs, Arrows and Balms", and SMR Index).
It is then, at least in principle, that the real acme is reached in terms of the syndrome of superiority. The spirit of it, however, in each case, is so strong that doubtless only God could distinguish. Formally, however, the modern much-preached-to Gentile case is provocative! Forgiveness is certainly, and with astonishing grace, available; but to ignore even that, this is to engage the ultimate (Hebrews 2:1ff., 12:18ff., John 3:15-36). Hell yawns as if in anticipation at such folly. But it is not to be desired, being the stuff of evil and the terrible mismatched tartan of depravity confirmed by desire.
God is good and the failure to repent and receive His salvation is no pleasure to Him (Ezekiel 33;11), and in the face of the cost of Calvary and of sending Christ into the world (I John4:7-10), it is a blindness*3 and an assertiveness that then leaves the national dictators with their private parallels, of which there are therefore many. It is not pretty; and that is WHY its results are not becoming in the end; for judgment is according to truth, the truth of the God of truth, in whom alone can truth be found, and from whom it is applied in judgment. That His judgment has been pre-applied in and to the Lord Jesus Christ is the one magnificent reality in the midst of this world's perishing course, which continually moves further into the domain of the forecast disestablishments, both in space and in people, which are the just rebuke to its arrogance in the face of the One who created it and ballasted it with blessing.
What then is to be done?
EXCEPT YOU REPENT YOU WILL PERISH - was the thrust of Christ's
remarks on the tragedy of the falling tower, shown in Luke 13. It is not that
you cannot suffer if you are a Christian, but that if you refuse Him, then your
suffering is monumentally meaningless in this sense, that you are like the
chaff that the wind blows away (Psalm 1), whereas the Lord KNOWS the way of the
righteous, the justified, those who, rightly 'justifying God', are themselves
justified by grace, receiving pardon (Titus 3:5-7).
A BIBLE READING TO THE POINT - Isaiah 59:14-20.
*1 Cf. Isaiah 59:14-15, as to the provocation, and the divine sequel in 59:16-19, as to judgment; noting that in Isaiah 51:16 is the preparation of the remedy, 51:6 its endurance and power, in 52:13-53:12 its mode, and in 55:1ff. its offer. Here the scripture also implies by revelation, and concerning revelation, that to which we have reasoned in terms of His manifest, divine nature. God has assuredly SPOKEN!
Isaiah declares in the Lord's name:
And righteousness stand afar off;
For truth is fallen in the street,
And equity cannot enter.
And he who departs from evil makes Himself a prey.
And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.
For He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
And a helmet of salvation on His head,
He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing,
And was clad with zeal as a cloak.
Fury to His adversaries,
Recompense to His enemies,
The coastlands He will fully repay.
The name of the Lord from the west,
And His glory from the rising of the sun.
The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.
And to those who turn form transgression in Jacob,
Says the Lord."
*2 To trace this in more detail, see Appendix 1,
Ch.8, That Magnificent Rock. See further re the Lord's actions in
history, at this level, regarding the human race, in A Spiritual Potpourri,
Ch.9 - Engineering
Nature and Engendering Man, and Ch. 16
- The Flashing Falls of Freedom, with Predestination and Freewill,
Section III, Parts IV, V , pp. 182-191.
Cf. SMR Ch.5, pp.423ff.. All philosophic "problems" that chronically pester the secular flesh are so readily resolved in Biblical terms, those which Christ endorsed and provided, that failure to accept this is like a student who KNOWING or SEEING that 2+2=4, nevertheless pertinaciously REFUSES to use this IDENTITY, because he does not feel attracted to it.