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"Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and your law is truth" - Psalm 119:142.
"Concerning your testimonies, I have known of old that You have founded them for ever" - Psalm 119:152.At the consummation, predictions (1 Corinthians 13:8-12) will fade into fulfilment ("whether there be prophecies, they will cease, whether there be tongues, they will desist... for now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face")... like dawn shapes fading into reality when the sun rises. Yet are they preserved in the common day of history, which bows to them, as before the word of God, which lives and endures for ever. Here do they take effect, and every word of God will be fulfilled (Matthew 5:17-19).
The Bible's teaching on the nature of revelation - an authoritative thing PROCEDURALLY once it has been shown that the Bible is what God has in fact said - is given with clarity. In this Appendix, we shall plan first to explore a little what the Bible does teach on itself as revelation (Part I).
Then, the perspective clear, we shall seek to do two things simultaneously under the sub-heading: THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD. We shall look on the one hand at the constancy of the character of God ('God in Revelation...'), seeing that He does not change, and noting this both in the Old and the New Testaments.
On the other hand, we shall look rather minutely at one further fascinating statement from Christ, recorded in scripture ABOUT the total authority of what God says in His written revelation ('Revelation in God'). In this statement of Christ, there is to be observed a certain definiteness, decisiveness, incisiveness. It accords, in PROPOSITIONAL CLAIM ABOUT PROPOSITIONS, exactly with what we found in Chapters 8 and 9 in HISTORICAL FULFILMENTS RELATING TO BIBLICAL PREDICTIONS: THERE IS PRECISION IN ARTICULATION AND ACCURACY DEMONSTRATED INDEED IN FULFILMENT.
Each feature is verificatory; both
jointly are also; and the unchanging source shown is trebly verificatory.
But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes the deep things of God...says Paul in this statement... the SAME statement! As a matter of fact, it is with these just cited words, that Paul CONTINUES HIS SENTENCE!
Let us observe then:
1) Paul is dealing with the aspirations of men for real knowledge of God; he is speaking in the deepest terms. Factually, he is also speaking of great destined realities - what God has prepared for those who love Him.
2) THE SPIRIT has already revealed these things.
3) the revealed things, in the sentence, refer to 'the deep things of God', which "the Spirit searches" ...
4) these things are revealed as to substance. They are however also 'taught' the writer, Paul, by the Holy Spirit. A FURTHER part of this 'teaching' is in this feature: the 'words' with which to designate and describe what Paul sees, what is revealed, what is disclosed concerning God and His intentions... THESE too are taught. It is not...'Oh I could never formulate that!' Rather God teaches how: dictation it need not ALWAYS be (as in Isaiah 40:5; 41:1-5; 43), by any necessity. The point is that the WORK continues till the words are found.
Jesus then spoke as commanded. This stresses the authority and the ultimacy of the SOURCE, just as Paul stresses the dynamism and the adequacy of the METHOD of inspiration, leading to revelation from God Himself. Jesus Christ also stresses that not merely has He not CONCOCTED this doctrine, but that it is positively not His at all in any differentiable sense as a man, relative to His Father: John 7:17-18; 17:16. Similarly, He claims identity with the Lord ('Jehovah') of the Old Testament - John 8:58 (cf. Exodus 3:14); and that His words will sit in irrepressible judgment in their intrinsic and precise force and diction (John 12:48-50).
Whatsoever He speaks is a replica of
the Father's command to HIM. Christ, of course, unlike Paul, is GOD in
human form; so that there is this rigorously intrinsic stress on authority,
on immense personal relationship. What of the production, however, the
given ? It is infallible, wholly authoritative, God-given revelation, admitting of no adjustment or error. In this, the result is the same.
It was not a matter of man, with his will, as we learn indeed in 1 Peter 1:10-12. lt was NOT EVEN to themselves that they 'ministered', as it is written. It was not a matter of man interpreting at all. THAT IS NOT WHAT HAPPENED (the tense is PAST). The coming sufferings of Christ and His subsequent glory, says 1 Peter 1, were not (as the prophets then knew) being depicted in their revelation for their own use. They were provided for the use of others yet to come. No, the matter was unique and challenging, which reached the scripture writers from the Spirit of Christ, says Peter; and it was by no means a matter of THEIR thoughts, but of divine activity donating these scriptures for times yet to come. Thus, II Peter 1:20-21 declares (Weymouth):
Above all, you must understand that no scripture came about by virtue of its own release. For prophecy never came from the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit...The word sometimes metaphorically used to mean 'interpretation', as Thayer points out in his Greek dictionary, is in fact to 'loose'. Scripture is meant and sent, not deposited from the work of one's own will. It is not 'idios', one's own (our word for 'idiot' comes from this); and there is a STATED REASON for this fact. It is not one's own unloosing, uncovering, one's own ideas at all. This is BECAUSE the men who were HOLY and indeed OF GOD spoke in a different climate altogether. Being of God and being DRIVEN (Greek word used of storms on ships), they were under the power of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing about other people's interpretation of scripture; there is nothing at all about what one does with it. It is a cause and a consequence of the clearest character. They did NOT loose their own thoughts BECAUSE in this type of case, they were DRIVEN by someone else; and HE ? He had a special relation to them as men of GOD: HE in fact was, as the Bible here states, the HOLY SPIRIT.
Driven by the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1), these men spoke in times past. This we are told. THAT is why it is not a matter of what ANYONE MADE OF IT, or might make of it; that is WHOLLY beside the point. THIS, these words directly attest. GOD gave this to them, so that one's own ideas and constructions (literally, in the text), one's own developments and thoughts, simply are out of the question. It was NOT a faint suggestion: they were DRIVEN, MOVED by the Spirit. THIS, and nothing else or contrary, is precisely what is written.
God in His transcendence invested dependent man with news and views, and those views, being God's, were truth. God the Maker gave man in His image both declaration and information by the Holy Spirit. It was the SAME HOLY SPIRIT who brooded, as we read in Genesis 1:2, who 'hovered', who moved over the waters in that vast display of divine creative energy, at the birth of our material system. It was this same Spirit who brought from the heart and mind of God another spectacular creation.
THIS TIME some men were witnesses! What was THIS ? It was the word of God to man (cf. Amos 4:13, 12:1). God made the STAGE and He made the SCRIPT. The script is scripture. (There is ALSO - see Chapter 2 supra - an extraordinarily biological script written in programmed format into our very HUMAN PROTOPLASM.) We could go further. Peter does so. As man despoiled the CREATED WORLD, so men seek to despoil the WRITTEN WORD of God (cf. II Peter 2:1), which itself is like a world - of its own ? of GOD'S own! His speech world, His direct speech world (for even cells, we recall, are an INDIRECT speech world, crammed with thought, expressed in one language, in consistent code).
Wilfully, many seduce themselves, permit themselves to be seduced from the certainties of God's word, and from God's creation by His word, ignoring the desecration of the world in past judgment (cf. II Peter 3:3-6). In fact, they went so far as to slay the 'lamb' of God, that signally strong Saviour who worked with His Father (Proverbs 8, John 1) in making the world: they desecrated that explicit personal expression of God, whom even to know is a matter of "joy inexpressible and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8). This they did in an act foreordained by the divine thought and word (I Peter 1:19-21, 2:7-8, Acts 2:23-32).
It is ALSO, however, ordained, and was so from the first, that this desecrated divinity, this God-as-Man, the living word who CAME TO the world, will judge men, not vice versa (John 5:27, Matthew 7:21-22, Acts 13:36-41, 17:31). THIS He will do in due concord WITH THE WORDS THAT HE, THIS SAME CHRIST SPOKE (John 12:48-50). It is THIS Christ, who bothered to come and be sacrificed, and NOT another. NOW
God... commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all, by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:30-31).
Similarly, there is, as to beginning and end, an open and shut character to God's verbalised revelation. Not only are the words distinct: they are contradistinct: and this too is verificatory, in that the minds of the finite are not to be expected to 'develop' the communication of the Infinite God, whether by lore, or law, antithesis or musings, by tradition or erudition. Biologically you receive breath, spiritually you receive a format for life, so too you are granted access to image bearers' presentations in terms of word and truth. "Thy word is truth", says Jesus. It could be nothing else... or more, by man's art. Deuteronomy 4:12 and 12:32 bring rebuke to any aspiring philosophers who might want... to develop things a little, to any politicians, to any theologians. DO NOT ADD, DO NO DIMINISH, it thunders.
Proverbs 30:6 likewise advises against adding to God's words, on pain of rebuke and being found a liar. After all, setting the mind to mimic the Almighty is not the most enlightened of procedures, apart from any thought of reverence, human limits, misrepresentation, confusion of Creator with creature, divine majesty, purity, omniscience, and the hallowing of His name.
Revelation 22:19 (cf. 1:18-19) in the New Testament attests similarly the definitive, declarative, irrefragable character of the word of God, the scripture as given.
"If anyone adds to THESE THINGS...", we read in Revelation 22:18. "If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy..." (22:19). Add not to the THINGS (cf. Galatians 1:6-9), and do not take from the WORDS. This is a sealed unit ending written revelation for the New Covenant, which itself takes us to the visible return of Christ. I Corinthians 11:26 and Acts 3:19-21 signalise this fact. The text is itself inviolable and it is terminative relative to the things themselves.
* From p. 1166. Accordingly it is in a decisive dealing with the devil that Christ here declares this: man is to live by every articulation - each REMA - that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
Small wonder then that Paul in II Timothy 3:16 announces that EVERY SCRIPTURE IS GOD-BREATHED. These scriptures are able, he declares, to make a man wise to salvation. They are designate, they are tools of Christian training, capable of assemblage and of differentiation: their identification is not subjective; that would destroy their mandate as divinely designated data. Their identification is one of EQUIPMENT FOR A STATED PURPOSE, NOT OF POSSIBILITIES AMONGST WHICH TO CHOOSE; it is one of authority, not of a resource centre; of obligation, not of a lucky dip. In living by EVERY WORD WHICH PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD (Matthew 4:4), man is set to a designate task, and it is distributive in content on the one hand, while having requirements of precision, on the other. Accordingly, Paul did not hold back from declaring the "whole counsel of God" (Acts 2:20,27). What are we now to say about the way Christ employed the expression, "It is written!"
With Him, this is wholly CLEAR and AUTHORITATIVE and the devil himself cannot contest it (Matthew 4:1-10). Man does not live (except through rebellion and its residues) by the unknown, the problematical or the illusory, the autonomously selectable or the vaguely uncertain, the filmy iridescences of existential elan... Or is it a matter of God's provided 'aircraft', up for creative re-modelling grabs ? Scarcely. As with Christ Himself, living by all His Father's words, so man is to live by every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God. To do so, he knows what they are. Knowing what they are, he finds the Biblical doctrine of the Bible. And this is it.
The servant is not greater than his master, and aspiring autonomy for the servant is scarcely in line with such a Master, such an example, so explicitly obedient an exemplar, for whom ALL scripture had to be fulfilled, even to the death (Matthew 26:56, Mark 14:49) ... even for and by Him!
Now one might wish to be yet more precise. One could argue that since the next words are - "for my mouth it has commanded, and His Spirit it has gathered them" - therefore the items to be conjoined and fulfilled, upheld and sustained are not the deeds. They are the very words themselves. After all, it might be pressed, would God 'speak' birds and such matters, such items as had just appeared in the prophetic text preceding ? It seems rather an extravagant proposition, it might be put, without any surrounding imagery to warrant it. Let it be taken as so. In that case, the words of the book of this Lord are of such an invariant, an incorruptible, a continuing, a woven and integrated character, are to be so divinely upheld throughout time that they evince His authority, power and mind. They are to be implemented; they are to be fulfilled; they are to be verified. Whatever men may do with them, they will do with men JUST WHAT GOD SAID. For such sovereign survey of coming events, their verification will act as a divine distinctive (cf. Isaiah 48:1-8). The words demand the deeds and the deeds reflect the words, so that there is a certain reciprocity. The basis: the MOUTH of God; the Spirit of God.
These words are commanded. The very Spirit of God GATHERED these WORDS and WILL GATHER these SCENES to succeed them; to conform to them, events and episodes like the words, controlled 'comrades', called into existence. The speech is not, as Peter indicated, propelled by human philosophy, psychology or culture. The SPIRIT as Paul showed, gathered indeed the words. That is WHY they will endure - why the word of the Lord endures forever, even though heaven and earth pass away, as Jesus and Isaiah proclaim (Matthew 24:35, Isaiah 40:8), in line with Peter (I Peter 1:23-25).
God GUARANTEES them because He authors them; and there is a cohesion and a totality to this, because God is not variable (James I) and God has everything open before Him (Hebrews 4:13). The REASON for such a guarantee speaks as clearly as the dynamic of inspiration in Paul; it attests sovereign speech selection, in sympathy with the authority of revelation in Jesus Christ's own words. God has put His name to every part of His word, and He has put His words in an accessible place, indeed in a book, we learn (cf. Isaiah 34:16, 65:6, Jeremiah 25:13, Psalm 40:7, 102:18, Isaiah 59:21, Luke 4:17, Joshua 8:31, Nehemiah 10:36, II Chronicles 24:27, 34:21,31, Revelation 22:18- 19, Luke 24:44, Ezra 6:18, Isaiah 30:8...).
There IS a book which is the book of the Lord. Its words will give place to none; and correspondingly, the history it depicts will as surely occur, as will judgment in its day (cf. John 12:47 ff., 5:44 ff.). It is in this book that we seek. How does it define its revelation ? It is as it declares it to be, and as we have shown it to do. The purity of God is NOT defiled, and it IS verified in claim and performance.
It is "the law of Thy mouth," (v.72) - the express articulation of the Almighty God. It is enduring: "For ever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven" (v.89).
So determinate are the words of God that the Psalmist describes as evil doers, those impeding his performance of this designate (and HENCE performable) word: "Depart from me ye evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of God." He can characterise "all thy commandments" (vv. 86,151,160); and of course they are "truth". In fact - and how like Isaiah:
CONCERNING THY TESTIMONIES, I HAVE KNOWN OF OLD THAT THOU HAST FOUNDED THEM FOR EVER (Psalm 119:152).What "may be shaken" will be, Hebrews indicates (12:27) - but not this! It is His.
THE ENTIRETY OF THY WORD IS TRUTH, AND EVERY ONE OF THY RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENTS ENDURES FOR EVER (Psalm 119:160). (Thy word is true, literally, from its head or source, or beginning.)Fidelity, objectivity, continuity! The fountain of objectivity is omniscience and the fellow of omniscience is creation. From source, from spring, from start from the first, the word of God is true; to the end, it is true.
Again, he reminds one - this Psalmist in his speech for the Lord - of Isaiah 51:6:
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look on the earth beneath, for the heavens will vanish away like smoke, the earth will grow old like a garment, and those who dwell in it will die in like manner: but My salvation will be for ever and My righteousness will not be abolished.The fact of such righteousness and salvation, and the word both endure. Christ stated (Matthew 5:17-18):
Do not think I am come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil. For assuredly, I tell you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will certainly not pass from the Law till all is fulfilled.Further, this passage in Isaiah echoes Christ's word about His WORDS: they are irrepressible, uncompressible, undecaying while the very heavens pass away and the earth with them (Matthew 24:35). Astronomy itself bows before the word of God: it is as it were His tapestry (Psalm 19:1, Psalm 8:3). The more skilfully YOU, reader, can work, the more skilfully GOD has worked to make you so... despite many centuries of sin, since the creation. God overarches His creation, and sustains His word while what does not gain from that guarantee, wears out: the earth like a homestead in a sheep-station of stars.
It is crucial to recognise in any research into the Bible, the essential majesty of the word of God. Again therefore reflect on the word of the Psalmist in 119:160. Consider this: "Thy word is true from the beginning and every one of Thy righteous judgments endures for ever" - and relate it to this:
All your commandments are faithful (v.86), and this:
Thy testimonies I have taken as a heritage for ever (v.111).
The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting, (v.144), ... all thy commandments are righteousness (v.172), declares the Psalmist.
Reverting to v. 160, then: That statement, concerning the word of God inscripturated, means that distributively the word is objective and eternal. lt is unshakable, unbreakable (cf. Jeremiah 23:19). From everlasting to everlasting is the speaker, who is God; His word is fulfilled into life, but never forsaken, aborted. It is His.It is also "very pure" we read (Psalm 119:140, with Psalm 12:6-7) and "His testimonies are wonderful," (Psalm 119:129). Correlative are: Psalm 119:142-5, 57,151-2,167. Wonderful ?
Yes, like the Lord Himself: Judges
13:18, Isaiah 9:6. It is HIS word.
Very Modern Minister: What DO you mean by the WORD of God ?
Jack C. : What God says, articulates, pronounces.
V. M. M. : I see. But what does that MEAN ?
Jack C. : It means what He conceives, conceptualises, comprehends, propositionalises, verbalises and expresses.
V. M. M. : But HOW would He manage that ?
Jack C. : You see, having made us with our powers to do such things, and given us not merely oral but aural cavities, He does not find the technical challenge especially difficult! Incidentally, have you ever read that part of His word which asks the question: "Shall He that made the ear not hear ?" He who made the mouth has, you may rest assured, the technology to SPEAK Himself, when He so desires.
V.M.M.: But WHEN would He choose to speak to us ?
Jack C. : You know, MY problem is to see what is your trouble - speaking of the ostensible matter before us. I should think there is no systematic difficulty in God speaking when He chooses. Does that seem to you too abstruse ?
V.M.M.: Yes, but what IS God ?
Jack C. : Do you mean you have been paid all these years to tell others and you do not know ?
V. M. M. : Let us not, my good man, become personal.
Jack C. : As you will; although you have been becoming personal in the pulpit about ONE world and ONE family and all men being BROTHERS because they have one Father, so that there is really no division amongst us, for long enough, telling us how LITTLE and BIGOTED we are, when we do not agree. They seem to have had a P.M. in Australia recently, with much the same un-Biblical line, confusing what man is by creation, and what fallen man must become, before he has God as His spiritual Father, and hence, others also born again, as his brothers.
V.M.M.: Let us not loose sight of the point.
Jack C. : Yes, but perhaps this IS the point. This is a concept shown at the highest level of government in Australia, and perhaps you and the government are nearer than you and the word of God. Consider now, Jesus Christ - I should expect - you would ALLOW as in some way RELEVANT to the religion that bears His name: after all, neither you nor the government ever had or now have what it takes to found it. It was HE who said that some men were of their father the Devil (John 8:37-46), and that they did not KNOW God or act agreeably to Him.
How then are they all brothers (in spirit) when they have fathers so infinitely different in what they design, how they deal, in purity and in power ? How could such flat contradiction of Jesus Christ be attributed to Christianity! There is one Father in creation, but too many have left Him for dead, and are adopted by another, rejecting the way home. THEY cannot speak or act for their Father's house, for Him who created them; and they will speak according to what they follow. In fact, they could not stand the living Christ when He was on earth, because He told them the truth. You know I really think THAT is around about the unforgivable sin of this world, to tell it the truth (John 8:39,44-45).
V.M.M.: Well, I can't hear Him talking !
Jack C. : That reminds me of what this same Jesus had to say: HE said - He who is of God hears my words (John 8:47), and added, You therefore do not hear them because you are not of the truth.
If Jesus Christ means anything to you, I would counsel you to seek new ears and a new heart, that you might open your eyes and be converted and that He should heal you. You know, He told the Jews that they had closed their eyes IN CASE that should happen. Why don't you call on His name for His life ? (Acts 2:21, Romans 10:9).
V.M.M. : Oh, I think we all need to keep our options open. If I once were born again, as you put it, there might arise a time when I should wish to be 'unborn', and if I understand aright, changing parties AFTER becoming regenerated is rather like trying to change your heart after a transplant; only worse.
Jack C. : Certainly, if a man is born of God, God's 'seed' stays in him and that is that (1 John 3:9).
V. M. M. : But tell me, WHY would God WANT to speak. I am perfectly satisfied with my salary and my place in society, doing my little bit and all that.
Jack C. : I am utterly amazed that YOU should ask that. YOU seem to speak whenever you have a mind to, and that is very often. Should not the Creator of the universe have MUCH to say to a wicked world (*1) before its destruction: even words of salvation!
*1 The Poor Environment ?
Yes, of course, but what in the world is the environment ?
It is that part of the creation that is not you, or whatever it is that you think of, for a given time. Is it then so surprising if what is not you, may hurt when you do wrong ? or if others may hurt yet others again, when they go wrong? or indeed may perhaps hurt you ?
To what do you point the finger when you do wrong ? To yourself ? Perhaps. To another ? quite possibly. To all things or to the scheme of things (invented by God and so His scheme of things), do you point ? or is it to God Himself more directly ? to life, then (which He invented, and so to God as its author)?
Whichever way it goes, wrong is attributed to the creation of God, and perhaps to God directly. Is it then strange if God points back ? and indeed, as we have shown extensively in Chapter 1, with good reason!
How shall He assess ? Perhaps the more reasonable will agree that it will be just as man has himself assessed: entirely as seems good to him. After all, if man, in danger now of individual idolatry, as before for some time, of collective idolatry with its idolised 'community': if man is to be assumed capable of assessing and propagating evil as he will, what then ? Is it too much to expect a liberty, at least as great and parallel, for man's divine sponsor - for God, in terms of the consequences which to Him seem good, as He will! Reason is not advanced by being unreasonable.
God then will appoint these consequences to man and to his system and scheme, as He sees fit, as seems good to Him; just as man assessed what he would and did what as he might, in his case, for his sin. God may (and in fact did) cause the physical and the biological realms to be "subjected to vanity" and so illustrate to man, teach him by the causes and effects in those areas (Romans 8:20, Isaiah 65:25), the principles of the folly man works on himself, and the defilement of man who, given dominion over Nature, lacks dominion even over himself (Proverbs 25:28).
God may indeed choose to appoint judgments for the things man has hurt, such as race, family, such as environment physically. Remember that environment is itself one part of the whole, for analytical purposes, identified as separate. Should there be no web ? no tissue ? interchange or interaction ? no overarching hold such that one thing may disturb all things, or things more broadly ? and why not ? Is not the body of man such ? does not even the little finger cause havoc to the system when it is infected and ... no remedy arises ? or may it not ? Will not one thought disturb the peace or tranquility of all ? If then many parts of the totality that is the human race, are disturbed because one maniac defies God, or defiles man, or brutalises the truth, highlighted by the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ: who may reasonably object! Certainly, we have individuals; but not in a vacuum. Where however remedy is disdained, the case is merely aggravated.
The rest follows. The point is that we do not need to follow the corruption or to inherit the judgment. If individuality is desired, there it is . The interactions and the judgments follow in God's scheme, it is true; but another part of that same divine authorship is the mechanism, the procedure, the escape route so that man need not, though he may choose his doom, proceed to suffer in vain. Instead, he may contract out! and this by the grace of God.
That is the remedial area of that same Cross of that same Jesus who suffered in the same way that has been told for the same 2000 years, and was foretold for some 1000 years before that, and in less obvious ways, before that. This is the event of the Cross of vicarious confinement of the Innocent One; an act not for His refinement, for He had no sin, but rather as work of substitutionaryatonement for all who receive Him as such... This is the Cross where Jesus Christ provided a place for sin, a dump for damnation, for contractors-out. He can take it; and He provided it on a strictly individual basis.
It is then not that all sin has... drifted there; it is one of the grand follies of many that they imagine this. Christ most emphatically has NOT borne the sin of mankind. The offer is as broad as that, but as with the Old Testament sacrifices (Deuteronomy 29:10-20), the meaning and applicability is as narrow as faith, and works in no other sphere. Confronted sin is never removed, except there shall be faith. "If you do not believe that I am He," Christ said, "You shall die in your sins" - John 8:24; and that, it is not because He has them, in such a case. The magnet of sin is man, not God. The attraction of God is for sin by faith tobe confessed, conferred on Jesus Christ. That is the transmissive medium. It is that which Christ, who knows all things, has grappled to Himself in liberating love.
Christ is a ransom for "many", not all (Matthew 20:28, 26:28, cf. Appendix B for detail). On Him, was laid the iniquity of those who are "healed", we find in Isaiah 53:5-6. Those whose sins He has in fact borne, those for whom He has been "delivered up" (Romans 8:32, cf. 4:24-25, the latter being those to whom His righteousness is "imputed"), what then of these ? These are then God's children, who inherit all things (8:32): and thus not those on whom His wrath rests (John 3:36)! Retain your sins if you will; but if you abandon them to Him by faith in Him, then are you His. What then is to be your environment? It is Christ (Colossians 3:11, 1:27), presiding resident and residing president, restoring and transforming (11 Corinthians 4:16-18, 3:17-18).
If then you are not dissevered, separated, disjoined from your environment, if this is to be: then yours is its fate. Then you are wilfully disregarding the disjunction procedure, from an afflicted environment which shares in the guilty flaws of afflicted and afflicting sinners, man or other. Spiritual pollution becomes your preference, and on spiritual smog you have set your sights.
It is you and not someone else who has done this, for your personal equation (cf. pp. 631A-B supra).
If however you are sincere with God, you should at once cast away your sin and decline to be implicated, involved any more, for ever with that evil thing.
This you should do, instead of complaining that God has done as He pleases (exactly in that respect, like you, but with more wisdom). You should be rid of the cause of all this suffering of man and environment through the evil for which, for the believing and penitent, Christ has suffered; so that His suffering, instead of being in vain, as far as you are concerned, should become through His resurrection a victory conferred upon you (Romans 4:25, 5:9, 8:8-10).
Why not ? Too proud ? too pure ? What! too pure to disjoin yourself from the domain and dominion of sin ? to become an ambassador for righteousness, of release and of the realisation of what God has planned for His people ? You detest then the Mafia and so join it; or being offered deliverance, you spurn it? for the mafia of autonomous sin! Are you in favour of the suffering which you thereby willingly increase, then ? in that you remain in the thrall of sin, like an oily-exhaust automobile, free from the mechanic but not from its consequences ? You would like to emit for ever ? That is scarcely the hallmark of sincerity. Those who prefer pollution, who find darkness better than light, they have their reasons; but goodness is not dominant where goodness is demeaned. Christ stands over you, offering cogently what you reject.
What then ? All of this race except Jesus Christ have sinned (Romans 3:23). God has responded as He will (Romans 6:23), both in fearsome judgment and in wonderful love. To ignore it is no sign of peace or peacefulness, but rather suggests implacability, in which this century abounds, and which God predicted (II Peter 2 and 3) for the end of the Age.
Speaking of those rejecting the words of Christ and His godliness, Paul indicates people "of depraved mind and deprived of the truth" (1 Timothy 6:5, NASB); and dealing with the End of the Age, our present precincts, in 11 Timothy 3 he extends the evil list ... ''Traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying its power. And from such people turn away'' (II Timothy 3:4-5).
Indeed, many will do as they list ... ''obsessed with disputes and arguments about words ... useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of truth'' (NKJV from I Timothy 6:4-5). Small wonder Paul also says: ''From such turn away''. But God's love remains.
The Bible teaches that God has secured a way; that you culpably neglect it, if you do not wish sin to cease, or suffering to have a remedy, preferring to join (or stay joined to) forces which produce suffering through sin: ignoring the remedy on offer from God, purchased by the passion of His Christ.
The amazing thing is the intensity of the surging mercies of God, which play on man like the breakers on the rocky coastlines of the sea (Romans 5:12-21, Titus 2:11, 3:4, I Timothy 2:3-5). The intensity of human folly in the face of freely restorable life makes starkly startling the restraint of God in judgment (II Peter 3:9) after the infinite cost (John 3:16) even in divine sacrifice (I Peter 2:24, Isaiah 53:6, Colossians 1:15-22), proclaimed for around 2000 years, amid derision, intemperate distortion and deformation of the Gospel (cf. pp. 1163A-1164, 631A-B; also 836-884 and Ch. 10 supra).
Startling ? It is as startling as Spring after Winter (cf. pp. 316A-C, 592, 1164 supra); but much more delightful.
Meanwhile, in the environment of human relations, the disease intensifies. If then you go that way, this is your option; but if you exercise it, the provision of Jesus Christ then makes it doubly foolish to blame God: it is you who now individually and separately aggravate your blame, augmenting recklessly your already negative balance, with ramifying results.
That is your own individual equation, making you acutely to blame (cf. John 15:22-24) not only for your own suffering (in the environment of your soul), but for your continued contribution... through the sovereignty of sin over you, remorselessly chosen, to the suffering of others, yes, even to that of that poor earthly environment of yours... even to the world.
The ultimate in poor environment is
hell - a strange choice (John 3:17-19, I Timothy 2:3-5 cf. p.
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