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To be read with the former presentation at
Christ the Citadel ... Chapter 9
(which in turn relates to Chapter 8).
News 413 (*1A)
The Australian, March 30, 31, 2009
While this may seem peripheral to the main thrust of this article,
it is an application from its central theme.
GRACE AND TRUTH: PROFOUNDLY BEAUTIFUL DUO
Our present interest in grace is as crucial as truth, to this world, in this: that if your 'truth' is without grace, of which Jesus the Christ was FULL (John 1:14), or is categorically impaired, then your relationship to His kingdom of grace is of the most dubious kind!
You see the same kind of differentiation in football. It is SUPPOSED, at least in some places, to be non-violent, a game of skill, which however may have some collisions or unintentional clashes, yet never by intent. Some may now define it differently; but it was not in this country, in my past at least, envisaged as a game of pugilism in disguise, though this may be altering now, in terms of bodily modes of intimidation and other brawling additives.
Thus when there was a charge of intentional violence, aggression in its own right (or wrong), then this could lead to serious penalties. The thought of swift, co-operative skill and winning ways of flight and foot was appealing; it was not a commotion that was sought.
Similarly, it is with biblical grace in the realm of living. There is not to be, in Christ's own name, any talk of aggression to GAIN something for yourself, including satisfaction for some snub: you are to 'turn the other cheek'. If you must fight, it must be with 'spiritual weapons' (Ephesians 6) and with spiritual power and poise, without temper or carnal truculence. You can, when fighting IN SPIRIT the battles of the Lord, be as courageous and forthright as was Stephen (Acts 7) and as was Jesus Himself (Matthew 23 for example, cf. Luke 11:51-52); but provocation for satisfaction and devious devices to secure personal glory, revenge, impact is out.
This grace does not stop at the MANNER in which you are to conduct yourself, as a Christian, if so be, you are one. It extends to the MATTER, the very nature of what it is to be a Christian and who is your Lord and what is His design and desire.
You read in Romans 11:6 as preserved by the vast majority of Greek texts, these words:
"And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is off works, it is no longer grace: otherwise work is no longer work."
Indeed, "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." Thus FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS, you do not approach the law, righteous as it is, because without denying it, abrogating or ending it (Matthew 5:17ff.), Christ has certainly ended it AS A MEANS OF ACQUIRING that righteousness which justifies, for this is from Christ only, all having sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. However good the law, and your keeping of this and that part of it, this does NOT AT ALL grant you the righteousness of God which is not only gift, but gift BY grace (Romans 6:23, 5:15).
Thus we find this echoing Romans 3:23ff., where justification is OUTSIDE THE REALM of works altogether, as also in Ephesians 2 and Titus 3, where salvation is by faith through grace, without works. It is both FREE and WORK FREE. It is given freely and without works. Indeed, there is not even a charge for giving the gift (like postage in some secular cases!). Thus in Romans 5:15, we find that eternal life is a gift BY grace. It is not only in essence of grace, but it is in method of transfer, just the same. You drink of the water of life freely (Revelation 22:17). There is no charge, tax: for it is tax exempt, being granted through the grace of the face of Jesus Christ, in which is to be seen the glory of God (II Corinthians 4:6).
Does this mean (Romans 6:1ff.), that you sin freely too, that grace may be the more in your pardon! Horror comes from Paul as he notes this slander, and from him too the answer: IF you are a Christian then your old nature is crucified with Christ, dead in Him, planted in Him, in whom it arises as from the tomb, with the donation of grace on account of Him who without spot gave Himself to His Father as sacrifice for our sins, that justice be met (II Peter 3:18, Galatians 3:1-12).
The grace is thus not only in the Donor, but in the gift, for it is the gift of eternal life in which the Spirit of holiness imbuing the Christian, moulds within the very form of His nature constantly towards the life of Christ (II Corinthians 3:18), and this ? by grace.
This is the way of God: salvation by grace through faith, and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God. Man, in his imagination, is other. He either is stringent and horrendous, or lax and foolish, most readily. But truth and law, and love and grace, the former from the glorious divine action of the latter, in mercy and devotion to the Lord, who is Lord INDEED, this it does not understand.
GRACE THAT IS NOT GRACE AND WORKS NOT LONGER WORKS:
CLANDESTINE RE-DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
Many are those who want to provide some kind of religious or quasi-religious ware, for a cost. Thus Communism*1 wants people to believe in a chance universe in which laws in flat contradiction, rule it, so that certain things have to happen (although they don't cf. SMR pp. 925ff.); and they want - or did want, as in the 1917 offers - to give grants, maybe of land to the dispossessed multitudes returning from the war in disorder. What gifts of grace were to be; although in fact of course, it seems that perhaps millions were sent to Siberia, and certainly millions were slain, so that it was a double dis-grace: they did not get land, but LOST it, and in addition, lost their own lives in servitude in Arctic cold, while gaining for Communists crimes against humanity, the maximum output in terms of economic product.
Others shared land in a co-operative movement, and then, there was the great famine in which many on farms were left to die, as the State ground down the bounty with its hatred and delusion of paranoid horrors, acting as God without grace, and without face. Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Prize winner speaks well of this in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich as in First Circle, and of course, of its applications in the Gulag Archipelago.
Others lost their lives in the procedure, and grace was the last thing that one could associate with this inhuman and atheistic regime. To each according to need, a catch-cry, became to each according to his ESTIMATE of need, when he was an unelected official, commissar or other member of ruling bodies, this was ... different in its computation. This estimate can include expensive cars and houses, dachas, at seaside resort, like the Black Sea, and access to cheap foreign goods and so on, not noticeably the same as need; while others might languish in prisons or in directed labour, with no noticeable grace whatsoever. The State CLAIMS to be all that matters; yet individuals are denied as to significance BY individuals, each one with voice and heart in authoritarian governmental structures, ruling their victims, the people, as virtual non-persons, fodder for the State.
Did some prosper ? on what sale of the soul to such godless and amoral forces! Did such a godless State grow bankrupt ? of course. So does greed equally bankrupt those who abusing freedom, use it as a moral wand, as if being free made lawlessness good. In any competition or co-operation, there must be rules. It is not a defect in a system if its rules are not present. It is no modification of freedom to have rules, but rather its fulfilment.
With rules, not heavy-handed legislation as seems to be the case, in the present industrial laws likely to be enforced in this country, not lordly directions defiling liberty with asinine seeming enforcements against enterprise, to prevent mere justice by compulsions extraordinary*1A, but with exclusion zones for abuse of liberty, as in the Road Laws: there can be much liberty. Without them, there is a trend to folly which the sins of man are likely to exploit. Liberty comes with morals on the one hand, and God who made us, on the other; and whenever the one comes without the other, there is instability, just as in the case of the totalitarian, there is posing by politicians, who imagine great things for themselves sooner or later, very often, and playing God, become sods as sovereign, shameless stars without glory, self-deluded, preying on man with their presumption.
Thus a religion, in whatever materialistic form or quasi-moral perspective it may begin, one which starts with system and order and laws, moves with State autocracy and ends with distress*1 is one of the dis-grace elements of modern society. Yet as we shall shortly see, we do not need to go to quasi-religions to find illustrations of the dis-grace quality becoming so common and purveyed to mankind so industriously among mankind.
Meanwhile, we see such bleak but burning sites as that furnace for flesh, Communism, and its depersonalisation; but at the other extreme, we may also note mere autonomy as focus being presented. The presence of two such different extremes as a focus in the present century, it may attract attention. This is worthwhile. The reason may be sought.
Thus just as the stripping of human personality in communism is carried out with a ruthlessness based on slipshod logic and impossible pre-conditions, in which all you want is ASSUMED and made self-contradictory at that, and being without law, is directed by it in one of the strangest philosophic strip-tease acts of trying to avoid God, of all time: so the focus on human personality, the other extreme, proceeds with a similar zeal. In part the latter is a reaction to the one wild extreme; but in part it is a natural and partly instinctive thrust to return to what is obvious, realising that spiritual things are what make history at the human side. It is not that matter makes ideals, but that ideals move matter, as that of freedom moved European scientists to migrate to the USA in order to prevent a TOTALITARIAN PHILOSOPHY on the part of Hitler. Matter followed, up to Nagasaki.
What strange oscillations bedevil the human race in its frequent wantonries. If it is not the delusion that our means of expression, in part material (as in motion pictures on FILM or other recording device), are lords without licence or basis, then it is the delusion that WE are lords, without licence or basis; so that just as the one makes criminally mis-defined or detained victims of brutality a feature, so the other tends to make ludicrously puffed up people, who plan to control destiny and change what are deemed to be the dynamics of life. The one is politically sadistic, not in mere libido, but in heart; the other is overweening in self-definition, soaring as if god while being yet individual.
The one would delete the individual, the other give goddish qualities to him, often, while forsaking the Creator, so creating such follies as 1929 and 2009. We pay, the nations, for these shocking disasters of thought and presumptions of spirit, both the one and the other.
Neither extreme is true to all the facts. Life with its material escorts is not definable by one of its exhibits, so that it can become a mere tool of what we are; nor is it a tool of one of its material components, so that some imaginary basis can be made out of this dumb stuff, to account for thought, freedom, speech and understanding, mutually interpretable concepts and values (cf. History, Review and Overview Ch. 5, Bon Voyage Ch. 2, Dig Deeper ... Chs. 1, 2, Massifs of Pure Splendour Ch.1).
As to the last, people may accept values of any kind, for good or no reason; but one thing is sure, they ALWAYS have them. If the idea is that nothing is of value, then the one propounding this is of value, for he is telling us all about it. Moreover he has just, in so saying, devalued everything in terms of value EXCEPT his evaluation of them; so that he as value determinant, has the thing in hand by his evaluative powers, exercised with discretion and knowledge in the region. If however there is no such knowledge, there being no actual value, how can he without having access to the whole affair of value, know this. No region, no access: nothing to access; but behold it is EVALUATED without ANY knowledge of what values are, since they do not in this model even EXIST. This then is analysis by self-contradiction.
You know nothing about values and hence know all about them, that is, that they are nothing.
It is also reductionism by definition. You ignore what you do not want, and try to make what you do want to account for all things, from one thing, which has no contact with or relationship to the rest. It is logically mere irrationalism, exclusion-zone fever, self-aggrandisement of ignorance and contempt for data.
Values are always used, and men act on them. If you say, I do not know anything and I will not use anything to determine anything; then you have evaluated your knowledge, which obviously exists in profusion, for you to be able to enunciate such verbal exports and to evaluate for your own part, your knowledge as zero.
That, it is a profound task of deleting knowledge from every component in your mind, BY WHICH nonetheless you have a valid (!) tool for making your statement. You could not KNOW that you know nothing without at once KNOWING SOMETHING, that is, that you know nothing. THAT IS very much something; for it involves a ruthless analysis of all kinds of data as not being in the domain of knowledge. TO KNOW this, you have to have enormous knowledge; otherwise your validity in so asserting is nil. It is nil anyway, since the enormous knowledge necessary to make this statement is NOT nothing!
You simply cannot escape the data by sweeping generalisation; nor engage in some kind of solipsism without self-contradiction. Truth is like that: face it or be a failure. You need grace with it, to be even willing to understand.
When we come to quasi-biblical examples of truth, or grace, or both, we have already seen the profound deficiencies which are available in distortion exhibits. These are by no means limited to secular or quasi-secular cases. Thus when someone undertakes to 'interpret' the Bible, in which Jesus is statedly FULL of GRACE and of TRUTH (John 1:14), and short-circuits the grace, once more, poor children of man, those thus deceived, are readily exposed to the rule of force by man's invention, and that even in the domain of faith. This, it is not by the grace of God, but by its contradiction.
Such was the folly of the Romanist Inquisition*1B, where despite Christ's prohibition (John 18:36, Matthew 26), force was used in the field of faith with almost unending blood-shed, torture and trumpery, as children were left orphans, their parents' wealth stolen by pseudo-ecclesiastical plunderers. It does not matter what the purpose was: this was the result; and as to the purpose, it contradicted Christ as well as reason and humanity.
Let this be clear, here as in the case of Seventh Day Adventism, examined in some detail in Christ the Citadel ... Ch. 5 and 6 : if there is much to watch here just as in the secular cases, there is another avenue of its denudation, the quasi-religious and even the pseudo-biblical! Though the devil is a fool spiritually, he is clever: fool for fiddling with faith and not believing God (he does believe He is there... but does not act on it with faith, preferring the lie), but clever in his deceptions in which he can even use RELIGIOUS ZEAL to kill Christians, and that not only with Islamic zealots.
It can also be with those calling themselves a church, and indeed, even in this one case, delusively maintaining itself to be the only church with validity! (cf. SMR pp. 911ff., 1032-1088H, Ancient Words … Ch. 14). That, it is a demonstration diabolical, of the one who seeps or creeps or at times storms into religious bodies to distract, defile, defeat, to misuse Christ and confuse His subjects by a zeal, sincere or not of its kind, that confuses truth with error, and abuses commands by rebellion!
Christ Himself is far other, not crucifying but being crucified. The difference is profound; not living in rich surrounds, but without a place to lay His head.
Being full of grace,
and of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3,9), and
having all authority delivered into His hands, and
BEING alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, moreover,
equal with God, as in Philippians 2
(as distinct from the condescension needed in order to perform the work of the Messiah),
knowing even the end FROM THE BEGINNING (Isaiah 44-46),
in exalted state as resurrected and breacher for man of death itself (Hebrews 7-10, Colossians 1, Philippians 2:9ff.), the Creator in the second Person:
HE has no need of a little thing called TIME, in order to be wise!
HE KNOWS who are His, for example, from before time as we have it, the kind you have to wait for, even existed. In this, the Christian is far apart from those who have to wait either on supreme unction (in the Roman case) and final clearance (in the Adventist), who have another theology than that which the Bible offers, in the field of grace: and knowing it, He applies it AT ONCE (Romans 9:16). Thus the CHILDREN OF GOD HAVE this witness in themselves, and though for a season some are tested, this is the biblical norm (I John 3:9, 5:11-12).
As noted previously, to try to limit His immediate knowledge as God is like trying to tie an author to his book, as if he had to WAIT, even himself, for this or that episode to come to be. In HIS mind it is already there; and it is whom He foreknew that He predestinated to be called and glorified (Romans 8:29ff.). As to His sheep, they know Him (John 10), follow Him and are statedly the possessors of eternal life which is GIVEN by grace, the substance and the mode both of this kind (Romans 5:15, 6:23, Ephesians 2). There is an exclusion of your own participation in THIS resultant as already emphasised above, in the Bible; and whatever seeks to remove it descends into declining premisses, with a lower shute not to be found in the Bible for those who by faith, are His, and so justified by faith, and so to be glorified, citizens of the kingdom (Philippians 3:20-21), whose bodies WILL be resurrected.
Concepts of some ... delay in His acquiring certain types of knowledge, or some ecclesiastical delay in application and knowledge, on the other hand, what is to be said of these ? These readily provide no less than a redefinition of deity, contrary to the self-portrait supplied in the Bible; and as such, supply a work of deception. Any kind of suggestion that there is not IMMEDIATE access to assurance of eternal life in such a style that it IS in FACT a normative certainty for the Christian is contrary to Romans 8:16 with Ephesians 1:11 and II Timothy 1:9ff..
Such is not Christianity. Some religionists are less severely afflicted, not doubting the totality of grace but contradicting themselves in its application, as if it could be all of grace when ONE IS ONESELF a co-provider for salvation, which makes an enormous work to be a participant: yet in this, they seriously err. NOT OF WORKS, however, this continual biblical refrain, analysis and characterisation, WITHOUT WORKS, it is crucial. It removes the RELEVANCE of contributions, which love instead elicits, and so of what one may do. God gives a grant of righteousness (Romans 5:17), as grace abounds (5:20) and everlasting security is attached by Him who cannot be detached (John 10:9,27-28, 5:1-12, I John 5:11ff., John 5:24, 4:14).
Those who receive this gift will reign in life through One, the Lord Jesus Christ (5:17), being glorified (Romans 8:29ff.), who will not suffer them to perish (John 10:27-28), these having been predestinated to this end, that as believers, so they proceed to eternity (II Timothy 1:9ff., Philippians 3).
Let there be no misunderstanding. People may be afflicted by test or sin for a season, and quiver; but as in Psalm 51, even in Old Testament days, this is not by its very nature a way to DEMOLISH assurance. People may be tested; but the result is the same when you TRUST GOD and BELIEVE the Bible to be His word as stated in I Corinthians 2:9ff., II Timothy 3:16, I Peter 1:10ff., and II Peter 1:19ff., with Matthew 4:4 and Isaiah 34:16-17 and again, Matthew 5:17ff.. Tested, you believe; being tested, as a believer, you remain, as did Job.
Thus there is no SYSTEMATIC ground for the removal of absolute assurance as a birthright for the Christian who accepts the written word of God, the Bible (John10:9,27-28, II Timothy 1:9ff., Romans 8:29ff., Luke 12:31). It is, the WHOLE THING, being saved, WROUGHT BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH, says Paul in Ephesians 2: such is it in terms of the grammatical nature of the Greek in that site (2:8). EVEN THIS, the whole ensemble of being saved by grace through faith is STATEDLY not of yourselves, but is the GIFT OF GOD. There is NO ROOM FOR YOU, as a determinant in this life, RELATIVE to SALVATION. Since YOU are not IN THIS relevant, you cannot influence the outcome. Flaw of faith makes it fail; but faith biblically defined as in Hebrews 1, achieves what is offered, for it is offered freely and taken factually according to the premise of promise, God’s own.
A site for abuse ? of course, but Paul, facing such a misconstruction, declares that it is a misnomer, for the born again is crucified, his old self denied (cf. Romans 6:1-14, Galatians 2:20, 5:24), and to think thus is to have another model and Master entirely! Paul indeed makes it clear in Romans 6 that the REASON sin will not have dominion over you is that you are not under law but under grace: you are not in the any danger of being impersonally exposed, as formalists and ceremonialists might be, for NOW in Christ there is both the vitality of His own presence and action, directly personal and covenantally engaged in the clearest possible manner, and the security of His fundamental mutation in man.
It is a strange mutation, this ? Not at all; for the opposite is the case. Man is RESTORED to the image of Him who begot him (Colossians 3:10); but this time, it is with a new nature which is secured by its regeneration (I John 3:9, Philippians 3:20ff., John 6:50ff.).
Indeed, in Ephesians 2, you are called, in the Greek, having-been-saved-by-grace- through-faith people: it is a past and fully accomplished thing, when it comes to the one who is in fact a Christian. What is present is the engagement of God dynamically active constantly to secure this (John 10:27-28). THIS shepherd, like pastoral David of old, is QUITE capable of killing lions, and as to His heart, He has laid down His life for His sheep already!
Where then such completeness of care, disposition of promise, heart of commitment is not recognised, and indeed grace is not maximised, what then ? Thus in those archetypes of human will which we have been considering, each in its place and degree, the GRACE of God is short-circuited, the knowledge and power likewise, the profundity of His love and the irrelevance of time as a determinant to salvation.
As to Adventism in particular, those who have already read, Christ the Citadel ... Chs. 5 and esp. 6, may find the following short summary, essentialised for ready reference, of some help in this matter. And it is not only to Seventh Day Adventism that such principles may be applied; for it is a very issue of the grace of God which many sects skimp or avoid, in its biblical fulness and expression.
A SIMPLE, SAMPLE SCHEDULE
1. God worked and rested.
2. The work was the creation of the universe and of man in it.
3. God made man in His own image.
4. God took 6 days to make things the way He wanted them.
5. Since man was in His image, He ordered him to rest, as He did from His creation,
after 6 days of work. It was a rest day – Hebrew Sabbath.
6. Isaiah 58:13-14 shows simply and clearly that this ‘rest’ day was one where one’s work and thoughts were to be set firmly to one side, so that one could be close to God in thought, word and spirit, honouring Him in that day, which means worship. It is a day for rest and worship.
7. That, was in the Old Covenant (Hebrews 1-10). It is ready to pass away (Hebrews 8:13).
8. Pass away as it might, it is not a mere abrogation (Matthew 5:17-20).
9. In fact, each part UNLESS fulfilled (per 8 above) MUST continue.
10. However the sacrifices became ONE, the animals being replaced by a man, and the man was God incarnate (John 8:58). Hence the paraphernalia of symbols, in so far as they referred to Christ and His work, then to come, being fulfilled are no more. Perfection has made symbols unnecessary; fulfilment has set those parts to rest. Authority ? Jesus Christ in Matthew 5 as above.
11. Christ, as God, on earth had a seventh work to do. It was by far the greatest (Luke 12:50). He had work to do and He did it always, as His Father required (John 8:29), until it was finished (John 19:30), at the height and the depth. This was the work of God as God, working through man, being incarnate. Here is payment for the freedom in the creation of a new heart (Hebrews 8).
12. The work was redemption from the guilt and penalty of sin by His blood (Romans 3:23-25).
13. Without this, all the symbols would not have been sufficient. Man for man paid, and God became man to do it and cover all who would believe in Him by it (Hebrews 2).
14. By this, all the sin of all who become His, is covered (Romans 8:30ff.), leading to heaven, from which it arose (II Timothy 1:9ff.). It is the final work of God in the salvation of the soul of man, giving to man eternal life without condition (Ephesians 1:11), the new birth bringing with it a new nature (I John 3:9).
15. Jesus declared Himself, naturally enough since He had this greatest work of God (Galatians 6:14) still to do, “Lord of the Sabbath.” You can take that or leave it; but this is the authority HE claimed (cf. Luke 6:46): this is the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, in Himself, equal with God (Philippians 2), fulfilling the works of God just as He DID the work of creation in the first place (Colossians 1:15-17). Indeed, by Him, ALL THINGS CONSIST. ONE of these is the salvation, the work memorialized at last, as the creation at the first: ALL HIS!
16. Hence, having taken as GOD, the Sabbath to treat it as He would, and yet being God, and having made man so that he MUST rest one day in seven, He used His authority as LORD of the day of rest (also a day of special worship, throbbing throughout history to remind man of who made Him and that there must be rest, as HE rested after the work of creation). Christ was ready.
17. He died and so finished this cycle of consummation with the resurrection, to verify and vindicate His claims (Romans 1:4). Here concluded the greatest work of God (Galatians 6:14, Philippians 2), without which the creation would have been pointless, useless and unfulfilled.
18. Hence when He rose, there was rest of spirit, there was worship directly and as a categorical thing, in terms chosen concerning Thomas (John 20): it was a natural, at the end of the work of the SUPERNATURAL. He, God, having worked yet once more, at this late stage, required it to be honoured: one day in seven still, the creation mode, but it moved, salvation mode. The one culminated in the other, the former prepared for the latter. To cling to the first regardless of the last is a mere lashing for Christ the Saviour, God Himself (Isaiah 43:10-11),beyond what He already suffered, in word and deed of the mind, instead of the hand.
To be sure, it required the death of the man in whom God Himself was incarnate to move the day of rest and special worship; but move it He did, since He completed that vast work of creation of God AS GOD HIMSELF, finishing the earlier work in and with HIS VERY OWN SELF, owning this last work directly and personally; so that to ignore this completion and its memorialisation is to limit God to one’s predilection, and to dishonour Christ in His final masterpiece.
19. THIS day in seven, so far from being not really on a par with the previous 6 days, thus completed them, and made them meaningful, effective, and a base for man. It was the Creator Himself (Colossians 1:15) who so acted, decisively, in Person, in consummate culmination, a labour for the deliverance of man, by new creation (II Corinthians 5:17ff.), as many as came, once and for all (Hebrews 7-10).
Creation was surpassed in salvation; but not suppressed! Now it was well, as before to rest as God did from His works; but now, unless one wished to ignore Him, demote Him, make remote this vast personal work of God for man, one had more to acknowledge of the Creator’s work. Salvation was that epitome, not mere epitaph, and the love to honour Him for what He did has here its opportunity, its example from the Church, its illustration from the apostles and its glory.
God advanced the case one step, the greatest, and enhanced the rest and reason for worship in this great fashion, and that comes in a simple sequence, the day of acclamation and worship being coincident with the day on which it was first made manifest, as one tends to do with any memorial: Sunday, the glory day. At this day, the work was done with the dawn, wrought and accredited (Romans 1:4), here its base blazed forth like the light of the day, an eternal day, here death's sting, drawn, was broken for those who received, here was acclamation time, worship day, rest.
With the work required for salvation done, Christ was able to enter into His rest. God PROVIDED THAT THIS WORK was recognised, received by faith and made the finale of the orchestral program, the height of the creation episode, namely the recreation episode, and the day of its conclusion became the time of applause and gratitude, memorial of the divine D-day, and this celebrated not once only, but perpetually till He comes, who did these great things. Thus Thomas' confirmation occurred likewise on it, and the Church's empowerment at Pentecost in that once only birthday which brought it as Christ foretold (Luke 24), to the point of empowerment and enablement through the outpouring of His Spirit. Peter (Acts 2) saw its fulfilment as leading on to the events of the Age. THIS IS the New Age. Any 'more', is less, being less lovely, undivine and mere human addition.
This is the most illustrious episode of the work of God. Surpassing the former in glory (II Corinthians 3:10 – this work being the glory which excels!), its due and fitting, seemly and spiritual recognition comes accordingly. It is this which gains the status of the new day of rest filled with worship, concerning the works of God for man, which like the work itself, takes precedence over the past, not annulling it, structurally, such is the wisdom of God, but instead advancing it in recognition on a new site, encompassing with it, the original accomplishment of creation, and its segmentalisation of the week.
20. To fail to honour Christ in this is to derogate salvation below creation, the opposite of Galatians 6:14 (GOD FORBID this! it indicates). It is to make it unworthy as a work of God for mankind by which he could come for deliverance, so that the work for man’s life could at last completed. It is to blaspheme the beauty of His holiness, the incandescence of His love, the quality of His mercy, the agony of His sin-bearing and the power of His resurrection to bring rest to man, reassuring him of His final great work of salvation. It is also, of course, to ignore the scriptural record.
21. This shows that on the first SUNDAY, after the day of lying in the tomb, doing the work of God through death, awaiting resurrection, Christ arose and as in John 20, on just this very day was worshipped. If that was not a worship service, what would be! Here was the demonstration of the bodily resurrection to a doubter one who wanted, who demanded experimental evidence: here was the invitation to research, here was the formula put, the worship given by Thomas, the principle of worship expressed and rendered fitting for the future. BLESSED are they who NOT having seen, yet believe, so encompassing all those coming to Christ in the entire Age to come, till His coming (cf. I Corinthians 11:25-26).
Thus, not only was the first Sunday by the very nature of the case, the new day of rest, and of worship, Christ showing what was the RESULT of the work on which they COULD now rest, as in Sunday 1 and 2. It was was even a Sunday at the day of Pentecost, this occurring once more in sequence, on that self-same very day after the former day of rest (Leviticus 23:15-16). Indeed, in that reference to the Pentecost feast, the emphasis on the day AFTER the Sabbath is both repeated and strong, as seen by reading that text.
Were the former things swallowed up in the present ? Not at all; for they were so far from being obliterated, that they were gloriously completed, death supervened by life, sacrifice by resurrection. Thus the collection was not put into the first day of the week by Paul AS A RULE for the Church, because it would be inconvenient, a sort of exercise in patience: it was doubtless done (I Corinthians 16:2), because the people would be gathering then, and would be in contribution mode in worship on the rest day of acclamation of the victory of the Saviour, HIS victory day, a victory infinitely surpassing that of D-day in World War II.
22. Honour to Christ - Himself the declared authority OVER the Sabbath (Mark 2:28, Luke 6:46, as in Deuteronomy 18:15, this for the pre-eminent prophet and director of all), this was not merely an option. It was a fact. Woe to those, the Bible indicates, who act to circumvent it. Here then is a Lordship which He took, as provided in all things from Moses (cf. Hebrews 3-4), and with this is the NECESSITY of His death to complete the work of God in salvation, which He had performed. What work is this ? Why it is that before His incarnation, when He acted in the creation. Now with the resurrection on this NEXT day, after that commemorating God's rest from the former work, the creation, this required and obtained the necessary additive to the 6.
The NEXT work was acclaimed on the NEXT day from the former day of rest. It was on the Sunday that followed that the direct, paid-for gift of eternal life was made apparent in power (cf. Romans 1:4); just as it proclaimed the finish of what He had to do as now accredited, validated and verified, the day of days for worship, witness and attesting that rest continually, till He comes. In HIM IS rest (Matthew 11:28ff.), and this is His day, vindication day.
Crucifixion is the heraldic day, the cancellation of sin day; Sunday is the power performance day, arising in its rest right at the break of dawn (Matthew 28:1): verification day, raising day, culmination day, attestation day. The power that made with mentality and might, glory and wonder, the entire universe now made peace available with apparent and accredited grounds for man, so that never need he probe philosophy for rest, though reason always acclaims Him to those who seek it in truth. Now, here was simple act and fact, wrought on a day that made history tremble and glory apparent. Miracles and deliverances of the past were summarised in the pith, here, and the purpose of God was acclaimed in the Son of man whom He had called to the womb, from the tomb, to triumph (Philippians 2).
Here is rest day for the spiritual soldiers of Christ who gathered to Him, and were gathered by Him. Creation had its due rest and day; salvation now by its own work fulfilled, has its due culmination and attestation day, and rest. ALL God's works are thus composed together and declared in the day of power and peace, worship and restoration, even for such as Thomas, continuing its attestation.
23. Here then is the VERY day of the completion of this work. All these things, these events, these considerations, these words of God gathered together. The eminence of the case REQUIRED what is recorded, and what is recorded shows it. Thus, the fact and the need being one, leave no rational room for DOUBT. Moreover, just as the early Church as seen from the Bible, attested the claims of God, and their fulfilment day, so it also, as attested previously, from history, shows the work and the way, indeed the day chosen for worship by God, who in all these ways provides evidence with complete confidence, as to what ruled and was normal, as to what HE had ruled and made normative, so giving the work of God in its surpassing glory its due. Here was fulfilled, and THEN, the word of God in Hosea 13:14:
"I will ransom them from the grace;
I will redeem them from death.
O Death, I will be your plagues,
O Grave, I will be your destruction.
Pity is hid from My eyes."
Self-pity is far from Him; turning from His purpose because of what must befall His only begotten Son, this was not the work of love, nor would His Son so desire, though it tested Him sorely (Psalm 40), for it was His delight, despite the burden, to bear it in love, without which man was to be forever outside the grace of God, uncovered, unredeemed. Now for the redeemed was the payment, and here in the actual sundering of death was the victory. Let Christians not dream of congratulating Him for D-day at the anniversary of Boer War victory. Here insult has its supremacy!
24. Wrestle out of this day of rest, if you will: but you cannot do it without dishonouring Christ, and ignoring the crucial fact that if GOD decides to add to HIS OWN works and Christ as God declares Himself LORD over the day of rest, and then does a new labour and shows the rest for the restless IN His rising ON that day, and the Church follows this, then it is an unwise person who willfully dishonours Him.
25. Colossians 2:16 FORBIDS people to make a fuss about this or that day, or food and such symbolic things; and where Sabbaths referred to the future, the rest at last, then they are in this place in Paul's Epistle excluded from being bound or becoming a matter for judgment. THE Sabbath however is NOT about the future, but statedly about the past as in the ten commandments in Exodus 20. It relates in the first instance to man as a designer mode product of God; just as THE WORK with which God culminated His works for man, at the very heart, was verified on the Sunday with the work of the resurrection just as dawn broke, so giving rest.
The great Sabbath of Exodus 20, founded on creation in the past, is here excluded from the prohibition of Paul, limited to what portended the future. Such days were in his sights; the past was unalterable, BOTH in creation and its notation, and redemption in its far greater inscription. THOSE PAST THINGS are forever commemorate in one day, as to the greater, and in one period of 7, as to the beginning of it and the design ascription.
Here was that SAME designer mode for man, that of salvation, the competent conclusion for the evil disruption of the work of God, by which man made necessary the summation of glory in the Cross, and hence the resurrection which confirmed its meaning and gave scope for the news of its triumph. Here is TRIUMPH DAY for the way and work and will of God! Dally if you will; but here drink if you worship Him whose work it is and commemorates, the omniscient God, Christ risen, and be satisfied in your thirst to honour Him to the uttermost whose salvation, if you are a Christian, you have gained; for it arose in His demise, and was demarcated in His arising, on that day.
26. Hence any who want to make a fuss about this or that rest day, are wrong: it is a private matter. But those who want to make strong contention for THE rest day from creation are not in this category. GOD HAS COMMANDED what CANNOT be fulfilled, since it is a symbol of the PAST fact of creation; and He has ALSO COMMANDED that Christ be acknowledged as LORD of the Sabbath, so that He can put it where and how and with what He will.
As you see in Acts 15, the law was not to be bound on new Christians, except of course for any principle not fulfilled, like the Sabbath, which instead was MOVED, just as the angel moved the stone at the tomb. Nor were its symbolic requirements still to stand, for all needed for rest was accomplished. It was finished. The day began again in rest complete, work complete, the greatest of all now performed, wrought, attested.
Christ MOVED it as its ‘Lord’ by being moved by the power of God from the tomb on that day. The rest followed His footsteps, the steps of God.
27. ONLY in this way are the design specification of one in seven and the divine specification, the FINAL work which must be acknowledge, jointly fulfilled.
The Seventh Day corps have invented an anti-scriptural work for Christ, though He has purchased eternal redemption already, and knows all things already; and it is thus in accord with their heresy (see earlier paper) that they cannot rest on the day in which GOD AS CHRIST in the flesh, did His last work and made this to be acknowledged as the rest of the New and final Testament and testimony (Ephesians 1:10). The omniscience of the living Christ they actively deny (cf. Colossians 2:3,9), and in this, because of their temple imagination and their ‘records’ investigation, create some new being, not the Lord Jesus Christ at all.
Worship such a being any day, for it makes little difference, being far from the faith; and if Saturday, then this fits with the false perspective which downgrades the deity and lordship of Christ, leaving out due commemoration, just as their teaching fails to recognise the reality of deity.
If God is not to be permitted to have acknowledged the PRIORITY and the PRE-EMINENCE which as Christ He must have in all things (Colossians 1:18), as shown in His OWN work in salvation (John 5:19ff.), then the peak which it represents is demoted. In this, Christ is demoted, salvation’s work is demoted, the Church’s testimony is derailed and some kind of lesser path is prescribed for someone who did a job, but not the supreme work of God AS GOD, from whose rest from THAT DIVINE LABOUR, we gain our Sunday rest and worship.
In this, we join Thomas in a new category of worship, as those who have not seen, but nevertheless have believed (John 20:29).
It is the grace of God which has given us Jesus Christ, the Old Covenant and the New, for in each sacrifice is presented as a way to be shown grace and mercy; and in the New Covenant, grace overflows.
Here His great work of eternal redemption is ONCE DONE (Hebrews 9:12,27, Romans 1:4), always effective, of everlasting efficacy for those who by faith receive it, and the Christ who did it; for it is He and He alone who did it, and on Him devolves the glory of His work, the Messiah sent from the splendour of the Trinity, inseparable in nature and magnificence, in whom He is the eternal Word. Nor is it some irresponsible imagination, that is to be accredited, proclaimed, glorified and focussed, but the Lord's Christ (Luke 2:26, Hebrews 9-10, Titus 2-3, Romans 3, 5:5-9). What HE finished here demonstrated, is not for the hand and heart of man to recruit for illicit purposes, whether to complete it with personal works or other devices which detract from the totality of the comprehensive work of His salvation (II Timothy 1:9ff.).
It is earned for us now, though we be sinners, by Him who died and rose. That is the design commission together with the redemption call. In this, the rest is now enhanced; it not abolished. The past remains, redemption from sin into a NEW creation, remains FOR the creation made at the first. We have moved from the Old Testament to New, embracing it, not defacing, applying it in the Prophet to replace Moses, who did all things well.
This grace is close to the very face of God (Ephesians 2:1-12, Romans 10, II Timothy 1:9, Titus 2). Indeed, in our designer-gift of one day in seven, we now have an increment of grace. Now it is a day of rest that also commemorates: not only the way we were created but the way we were rescued. It is in a way, like moving from Magna Carta to the Beaches of Normandy on D-day. The former is not lost because the latter is gained.
Commemorated and honoured for Him who was its focus, featurer and worker, is the last vast work of God decisive for man and His place by grace, and here is the day for the provision of our race's redemption, cried out with fact, not to be decried by any who believe and receive this, the Lord Himself who did this new and next work, to add to His former and forming labours of creation itself. Now it is not only a question (and answer) concerning the way we were created, but that in which we were rescued. To ignore, subvert, bypass this criterion of rest given by Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath, and make some other day, is not merely an insult. It is insubordination and becoming lord of the Lord who made the rest by His resurrection, and gained worship on that day in response.
It is the grace of God which has given us Jesus Christ, the Old Covenant and the New; for in each, sacrifice is presented as a steadfast and sure way to be shown grace and mercy. In the New Covenant, grace overflows, for it is ONCE DONE, always effective, of everlasting efficacy for those who by faith receive it: and this, it is from the Christ who actually did it. It is not some irresponsible imagination, called a ‘christ’, but the Lord's Christ (Luke 2:26): for this is His complete work of eternal redemption ONCE DONE (Hebrews 9:12,27ff., 10:10,14), always effective, of everlasting efficacy for those who by faith receive it.
For the Christ who did it, Him and Him alone, is the glory, and to man who receives it by faith through grace, and that not of himself, without works: there is no glory whatsoever. All that he then receives is the gift of grace and by grace (Romans 3; 5, II Tim. 1:9, Ephesians 2:1-12).
With this Christ have come His words. With those words have come gracious instructions, exhortations, injunctions for our welfare. One of these is that as servants of Christ we have right to, provision for, grant of a day of rest from our own words, works and desires, a day for the Lord. The grace that gives this is as far above the restless works of the daily turmoil, as the sun above the moon. It is free. It is GIVEN, it is a gift of grace.
Here we worship because we will it which He commands, and because He is worthy of it (as in Revelation 5:9-10). Creation was a vast work, and He rested and commemorated this in our rest day as those made in His image; salvation was a greater work, in which He Himself travailed in flesh, and He has rested from His labour of life and commemorated it, this greater work by moving the day of commemoration of our advent, to that of His resurrection.
In our parallel of Magna Carta and Normandy, it is now therefore the latter which is in focus for memorial. In fact, it is in spiritual reality specifically Him who died in His one person, to rise on that day. In the resurrection of Christ, criterion and ground for all to be resurrected in that time (cf. Isaiah 26:19, I Thessalonians 4, I Cor. 15), there is now the added glory of the defeat of death itself - not just some nation - in the gift of grace and by grace (Romans 5:15, Titus 2-3). This is in the love of God, of Jesus Christ the Saviour, and ours who know Him, to whom all praise is due, proper, fitting, to be desired, to be sought, wrought.
It is in this pre-eminent gift of grace in the love of God of Jesus Christ the Saviour, that we glory surpassingly. Without Him, much of this race daily exposes the need for salvation, as it slaves for sin, including self-righteousness. With what does it act, but its own self, the theft of the creation of God for selfish purposes and for the aggregation of power in the hands of political sinners, many of whom, and increasingly, play God. Rest from that on one day for Jesus Christ is a privilege indeed! Rest therefore both in His way and day, in joyful and indeed exuberant fellowship with Him who alone and forever took the need and met it, once and for all (Hebrews 9-10).
How wonderful (Answers to Questions Ch. 5), that He whom we justly commemorate, who through death and resurrection took the divine focus from creation (not to demean it) to salvation (to glorify Him who did it), is soon to return. It is He who in all things has the pre-eminence (Colossians 1:18), yes in both the day and the way we who are His, worship, and when on His day, we find Him raising us with the hand that was raised.
Far from this is the Seventh Day Adventist idea that people in the very last times who worship on Sunday are of the Beast, or for that matter, that some priest must delay our rejoicing in eternal life in all its certainty and given relish, who came in anti-scriptural and hidden fashion some time in the 19th. century! DO NOT BELIEVE, says Christ, those who tell you He is here or there, BECAUSE when He does come, it will be like lightning from point of the compass to the other! (Matthew 24:26-28). It does not happen in Mass, nor did it in the 19th. Century! Here Christ instructs you to disbelieve such things. They mislead you.
Let the Christian therefore carefully READ this passage if the words of Christ are to be followed, and not those who mislead far from the word of God as given in grace, in order that it might attest our place and His grace.
Therefore none who would follow the word of God, the Bible, is to believe such an imposition as this retrogressive heresy.
This remains an anti-Christian outcry against biblical truth, Christian life and the beauty of obedience. By its fruit, in such cases, Christ tells us, you know the tree, and this reeks of rebellion in spirit, substance and mode (Matthew 7:15ff.), just as it was founded on a false prophecy, transmuted in contradiction of Christ's declaration concerning His return (Matthew 24) into a further false teaching.
The mark of the beast in Sunday worship, now or at any time ?
Rather, quite to the contrary, in heretical disregard are those who defile the pre-eminence of Christ, defy His Lordship of the Sabbath by which He made it Sunday, and disregard clear-cut scriptures and history on the transition to the day when rest which is specifically His. On this, those who saw Him HAD TO COME and worship with it; for He came to them. Rest came with HIS resurrection: for HE WAS then and there worshipped, and then and there gave His rest, having chosen His own before time was founded as we know it, and given them assurance by His presence, promises and precepts (cf. John 5:24), of that determined beyond the vast act of creation itself (Ephesians 1:4). You may take it or leave it, but this is what is biblically there, to take!
What then ? The first day gave rest for creation's completion, including that of man; the second day gave rest for mankind's redemption, for as many as believed, and this on the day when it was at last verified: HE HAD DONE IT. Rejoice therefore!
To be judged on sabbaths regarding things to come, this is out. To be judged by man, this is ridiculous (I Corinthians 4). It is the word of God which judges, and its application cannot be annulled.
However, to be lax on THE REST DAY, defiling it, this is another matter; and to be diffuse in faith so that you do not actually TAKE WHAT HE OFFERS, this varies from the promise. To be slippery on the rest day, the Designer-taught periodicity index, one in seven rest, on things past, first the creation and then very definitely the redemption of our souls - this is a perilous slide down a depreciative slope.
Creation and salvation are works of God, BY GOD, the latter taking precedence over the former, without denying it, rather fulfilling its need: to recognise them jointly, this is simple obedience and the spirit of worship of Him who died, the just for the unjust, to bring us created beings to God. He who rose for our justification (Romans 4:25 cf. 3:25. 8:34, the death and resurrection being seen as one complete unit of the basis for salvation's gift) is God. He who did it is God. The Lord is God: worship Him therefore, who fulfilled creation and salvation in the day, providing the eternity which accompanies the received gift by grace (Romans 5:1-17).
The day and the way, they go together. Give glory to Him in His grace and glory in His works both of creation and salvation, but the latter the more; and accept His eternal pardon, with out your own works. Rely on His grace and glory in it. Accept His eternal pardon (Hebrews 6:19, 9:12, 10:10,14, John 10:27-28), ex-your own works, resting on Him and His works. Rest on Him who arrested creation that it might rely on redemption, arresting the day to commemorate rest from creation with that to both perform this and give the ground for the ONLY REST WHICH REMAINS, that conferred by His triumphant resurrection.
Thus receiving His gift for eternity, that gift by grace, that banishes all contest and comparison in its surpassing effectiveness, and praising Him in worship on His day of accomplishment of mission, rejoice. The day and the way: they go together.
What then of the rest day ? Here is fulfilled not only the Designer-taught periodicity, one in seven rest, concerned with things past, but more. Thus there is first the creation and then very definitely the redemption of our souls, both things of the past in which, with the latter fulfilled, in Him we may rest. In this, the latter takes precedence over the former; yet this it does ingeniously, without denying the former, but rather fulfilling it.
To so memorialise Him: this is simple obedience and the spirit of worship of Him who died, the just for the unjust, to bring us created beings to God; of Him who rose for our justification (I Peter 3:18). So it is to be seen in Romans 4:25 with 3:25, the death and resurrection being conceived as one complete unit of the basis for salvation's gift. So is its eternity as a gift also a source of rest where our High Priest excludes competition from any other (cf. I John 2:27, Matthew 23:8-10)
What grace is this, that faced death and defacement (Isaiah 52:12ff.), to bring rest to His people; and what is this which would not rejoice to commemorate in rest, this rest which redemption secured, on the one in seven basis, which creation required and Christ personally rendered sublime on Sunday! How beautiful is that rest, that came when He wrestled with death, and broke its fear for ever for those who receive from Him eternal life! (Hebrews 2:14-15). It is not another rest which is available to the people of God, nor is there another memorial to that rest, for that has now long grown obsolete (Hebrews 8:13).
How wonderful that this thing given is not lost, for though some fail in their joint endeavours WITH Christ; none fails who rests in faith ON Him, who said of the one once drinking of this water, this - that one will NEVER thirst again.
Faith is not subject to cultural shock and conditions: faith in Him who made and gave redemption to man. Whatever is so subject, this is not faith, biblically defined, but a function of mortals and mortality. But as to faith, how glorious the prospect, evermore with God:
"Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood,
He Himself likewise shared in the same,
that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death,
that is, the devil,
and release those who through fear of death
were all their lifetime
subject to bondage."
We need fear no 'supreme unction' function, on the one hand, as by Romanism, nor tendering of records, as in Seventh Day conceptions, no demotion of Christ, no listless demolition or disregard of His total efficacy in providing salvation by Himself alone. Whether it be the day or the way, the priest or the profile of works to be done by this or that person, in imagination or by conception: the result is one. The grace of God is surpassing, and faith in Him excludes all these things as the sun shining, disperses the mist (cf. Psalm 35:3, 71:16, Isaiah 64:6).
We return now for review, to the unsacred non-rest of the secular, to ponder the superabundance of grace, the grace of God, by contrast once more in that now sedated, now excited domain.
TESTIMONY TO FAILURE BY DIS-GRACE
Great is the grace of God: for by it -
Life is created, beyond the power of man EVEN WITH the working model by him; and of course, it is always beyond his power when it comes to spirit, since by definition spirit is what is unprogrammed, though it may be fully known by God.
In the case of freedom, you cannot programmatically arrange for things to happen in this way or that, EVEN if there are contingencies to meet, with results being processed this way or another; for in that case, it is controlled, by however many conditions and devices, by man; and hence the result is not free. In that case, it is determined IN PRINCIPLE, and hence does not enter into that very different field of ERROR. In this, people may misunderstand by a wrong spirit blinding them, by a mental incapacity, by symbolic torsion, or allied causes.
Thus where error lives, where the fallen spirit of man operates, what is stated is readily re-channelled by psychic forces, before it is open for investigation or analysis. The person whose mind is in view is thus dispersing command, impact, program in individual manners, whether by desire for past, present, future things, whether by ideal, in some diverted search for truth or peace, or indeed for multitudes of reasons.
However, error is impossible in determinism, even meaningless; since what is to be, must be; and what does not do it thus, is merely what is contrary to the mind of the investigator, not to the nature of the system.
Those who insist on some system are in themselves exhibiting the principle of error and non-determinism, since the other system or systems from which differ, MUST be WRONG if they are right! while right they MAY be, if the others be wrong. In this way, error must exist. No system which determines all things can have error, for then it merely determines some things, the rest being outside its purvey. By implication, it is even worse than this in terms of self-contradiction.
Thus if one is capable of error, that is, of being outside the jurisdictive and superintending system of direction and necessity in which one is supposedly deterministically immersed, then there is a PERSON, whose being is not of a system-subject type. The person in view, speaker or spoken to, may go contrary to the system on purpose, because that person despises the system, or discerns it is merely an imposition of the devil masquerading as an omnipotent system for personal gain, or failed to follow the directions by mistake. The concept of person, which is the basis of the concept of determinism and autonomy, these opposites alike, is necessary when, in the case of man, you come to error. Nor is it simply that such a person is in such a case, for indeed he is making the system which denies himself.
In terms of a deterministic model, it finds no place for what has to have parameters and basis, if one is to be rational. It is anomalous, supervening, making such claims spurious. Spirit in man is not securely predictable by man, either in practice or in principle; and when one is blind to its very milieu and relevant forces and features, it becomes simply the more opaque. That of course is one reason why dictators use force, and psychiatrists have such a profound and increasing reliance on drugs for therapy.
Thus force of one kind or another is deployed. In the political and often the religious case, it becomes the agent of forcible lies. Man is not mouldable in spirit by ludicrous theories.
Not only does he have the power to err by misadventure contrary to specifications that might be imagined in deterministic mode, but on purpose, for combinations of irenic and hostile motives, often not thought out but simply wrought out, for disregard of authority, or imposition of it, for conceptions brilliant or futile, illusory or profound. He has also the power to observe the observer and counter the counter, who would subdue him by his 'knowledge' as if power provided wisdom and authority gave omniscience. What determinism has to say is inapplicable to the one who conceives it, wanting law without law-giver, compulsion with a compeller, matter with out a founder, form without an initiator, a system to be proclaimed where truth is not available. It is a mere spectre of the disordered imagination of man (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 7, It Bubbles ... Ch. 9, Christ Incomparable... Ch. 2, Little Things Ch. 5).
Error ? This is just what it CANNOT have if one is deterministic. The arch-ordering system fails, and hence is not arch-ordering, and hence does not rise or fall, to the conceptual basis and level of determinism. Moreover, if there is no truth, in a materialistic model, then there is no way of knowing it, so that any assertion of this kind, as a covering approach for all things, HAS to be wrong if the philosophy is right, for it excludes what it then purports to have, and uses what it purports not to be there. Killing itself by self-contradiction it has neither force nor face to confront anything else, but its own demise.
In such ways, truth and grace always are inseparable. If you want to make mere man the god so many envisage, equipped with power to contest for the control of the universe, which is really what much of humanism is seeking, stating new 'principles' and the like, which the universe it worships has to swallow in some oesophagally ludicrous manner, then his will must have the wit and wisdom to comprehend what is the ACTUAL case. This is needful so that it can be made, instead, the one he prefers. If you want to 'soop up' or extend the sportiness of your car, you really need to know what a car is. It helps greatly.
With man, however, such knowledge is NOT available on a deterministic model, being contrary to its presuppositions of non-God manipulability as likewise to the reality of divine grace and His irrepressible liberty and creativity; nor is it available on any materialist one, where the governing concept is not material, and its validity is necessary for any truth to be stated; and that, it is not a material matter at all.
God having made man in His own image, with liberty of rebellion or love, faith or faithfulness, disease to please or whatever other thing liberty can produce, is not interested in the determinist approach, or any other illusion, except as a result of misuse of equipment and the reward of sin, a pathological possibility that extends not a little (Ezekiel 33:11, Lamentations 33:11, John 8:34-36, 3:19,36), with temporary and final results apt and appropriate. It is of course for this very reason, in the field of pathology, that some determinists imagine the simplistic model of mere and simplistic determinism, a reductionist model for inveterate revolt. There is a trend in some, more in others, cancelled in Christians, though the fight may be strong (Galatians 5), for the abuse of truth by the elevation of liberty or its depression.
This is an act in which the disease of sin is mutated into an intrinsic lack, which always removes the validity of the argument, since where all are controlled by material forces, truth beyond them and over them is ruptured, so that truth is the first to fall. Fall ? not in fact, but in articulability in such a model.
Born and dead without consent, such is the lot of man in his sin. For all this, he aspires as if he were a god; and we find in concept, man is to control the life which is given by grace, for his own purposes, and increasingly this is becoming a political farce, strident with imperialistic impudence, where the soft face is not the heart of grace, but the iron will to control, manage and manipulate the race to whatever new thing comes into the mind of desperately rebellious man, gripped in irrationality when it comes to source, power, authority, not his own, but over him, his beginning and his end!
What then is the case ? Such aspirations come from the spirit of man, itself from a source he increasingly and characteristically declines to investigate in ludicrous reductionism, and that in a model for thought, without any POSSIBILITY of having truth! This is a misnomer unbeatable! a weakness omnipotent, an ignorance omniscient, a power available in nescience. It is like sending off rocket without access to systematic knowledge of engineering; but it is far worse, for in this case, it is life trying to control what it is given, in the midst of many such things, in a universe it CANNOT understand.
Such is not however the position of mankind; it is that of militant illusionists. With God, truth is not only available, but has come to this earth and shown the power correlative with this (John 14:6 cf. SMR Chs. 5, and 6). One of the many reasons why man is not predictable with the knowledge of God Himself is this: that some are in the presence of God and some are not, and the spiritual man having this infinite basis and ground of operation is not a predicable entity to finite minds (as Paul indicates in I Corinthians 2:15).
Other reasons of course include the fact that being of this ilk, by nature, however pathologically man may be wrested from his Source, there is a milieu and an environment that extends beyond the visible, however marred the connection; and there are moods and modes within that, as man rampages or ruminates. He is multiply divorced, and that systematically, from the knowledge, now as at the first, he longs to have without God, a mere thief of His works, while he refuses to rest in the One who made them. Of His redemption, the spirit of the Age wishes systematically, in the marvels of modern propaganda, to be ignorant and to keep others ignorant in presumptions incredible, were it not for two things.
These ? One is the power of the devil, normally misunderstood either because under-estimated or over-estimated, but a great worker in his littleness; and the other is the power of sin, often rationalised but not absent for that reason, which intoxicates the spirit of man into a sort of sublimity of ignorance and self-congratulation (cf. Ephesians 4:17ff., Romans 1:17ff.), which has its own ironies, and more than this, when it meets the iron of reality. One man refuses to realise is not to be amended or executed by mere desire. To meet reality, as friend or foe, it is an experience not to be forgotten; and for some, it comes in stages. In the end, it comes in the very judgment of God (cf. Proverbs 1, Psalm 2, 110, II Thessalonians 1, Revelation 19).
The glorious alternative ? It is far otherwise. It requires a visit to reality (cf. SMR), realism and hence alas for man, regeneration. Not less is the need for understanding when the very power to understand is itself so lassoed while it stampedes, that the arrest and return cannot be easy. Mercifully, it comes as a gift by grace (Romans 5:1ff.). Magnificently, it comes from Him who has foreknown all and each (Romans 8:29ff., Ephesians 1:4), and never misses the input of love where it is not violated in that action! (Colossians 1:19ff.).
TESTIMONY TO TRIUMPH BY THE GIVER OF GRACE
Grace is the necessity, the GIVEN quality of life, from and through the GIVER of life; who did it without our aid, by virtue of eternally causative capacities which are infinitely beyond our own*2.
He did not HAVE to create human life
with its profundities of opportunity
for wonder and love,
and enormities of correlative scope
for rebellious mission to misunderstand and misplace God
in its confines of collusion with evil; but He did.
He did not HAVE to give us the opportunity to love and hate,
both superabundantly evident,
and often in pseudo-virtual imageries, or specious substitutes,
that do not love, but merely utilise something for which one cares for oneself.
He did not need to require of us to worship Him ... or NOT! as an option.
He did not need to be concerned about us when the race fell
into its current dereliction of comprehension
which is increasingly being taught in universities and colleges
which deal with such subjects (cf. SMR, esp. Ch. 8, Beauty for Ashes Ch. 3, TMR Ch. 8), filled with such systematic irrationalities as make one wonder,
as at other great natural features, like Niagara Falls;
though this of course, in this case the phenomenon is negative
(cf. Deity and Design ... Ch. 8, SMR Chs. 3, 5, 10).
God did not need to make these marvels, susceptible indeed to abuse,
but glorious in use.
But He did it anyway, a profound gift to enable love,
to enable us to be adopted as children of God,
in whom the LOGOS's features had been built (John 1:1, Colossians 1:15),
the power to reason, to relate to the personal expression of God,
the need to know God and the open door to a place as one of the family of God.
The love and grace of God also enabled, by the nature of the case, the power to be and to do evil, for without option, love is no more love, but shove. Its ostensible presence in misled hearts readily becomes little more than mere programmatic pulsation, meaningless, a reductionistic abortion before love's birth, ignoring its features, focus and activities. These, as attested in I Corinthians 13, and so often shown in Acts and John, for example, are to be found in Christ and from Him, in hosts of His disciples. Loves that are emissions from one's self, based on one's self or its ideational or idealistic or contrary desires, lack the source of all love, in God who is unlimited, free, without whom creatures are bound to littleness, however elevated it may be in some aspects, by its mere method of origination!
To this love and grace, in God's face, declared in Christ Jesus and His atoning work, we do not have to respond. To be sure, before time was, He KNEW who would be His, and having all things in His control (including self-control - Nahum 1-3, Deuteronomy 32:1ff., 33:5-6, Luke 9:55), He knew who were His own, in terms of His own approach. That ? It was this: having made peace through the blood of His Cross to reconcile all things, yes all, whether in heaven or on earth, to Himself (Colossians 1:19ff.).
Topic at this point in the Epistle: the human race and God, the will of God and His good pleasure. Result: ALL are meaningfully invited without secret counsel against the reality of the call; but ALL are equally foreknown in terms of the realities, for love does NOT force, and indeed excludes it in its own terms (John 18:36), when faith is the issue (cf. To Know God ... Ch. 1). The love of God is not available without trust, and trust is not to be found without a change of heart and repentance (Hebrews 11:1-6, John 3:1-19,36, Hebrews 8:8ff., Matthew 13:10ff., Proverbs 1, Ephesians 2:5, 13ff., Luke 13:1ff., Ezekiel 36:25-29, Romans 3:23-27, Psalm 2:12, Jeremiah 17:6-13); but that God is trustworthy is the testimony of reason (SMR), of the Bible, of Jesus Christ. Rebellion can go where it will. It is then in its own hands (cf. Psalm 1:6, Proverbs 1).
Thus whether it be DIS-GRACE, the movement away from grace in God, in His gift to faith, in terms of the secular, the quasi-religious or the religious, it is in one thing the same: it is that dynamic and desire which foreshortens or acts to forestall the GIFT of God BY Grace THROUGH Jesus Christ, so that man might FAIL to obtain it; and looking like that, it acts accordingly.
For this Satan lusts. He even made eyes at Christ Himself, in the flesh, in case the offer of having all the kingdoms of this world as His, might entice Him to worship that horrendous spirit, the Satan. If he can set his eyes so high, and indeed sought a take-over in heaven (Revelation 12), he has no qualms about seductive machinations on earth.
Whoever the agent, however, whether man or other, or some combination, grace is an enemy of pride and a friend of reality, of truth. Hence its demise is greatly desired by many, in part or in whole.
However, to short-circuit grace is to short-circuit man; and his out-of-commission fluster and fulminations dishonour both himself and the glory of God, something so despised in this, his own knowledgeable ignorance, brilliant folly and industrious impotence. Man is as a race becoming increasingly his own murderer, whether in millions in Russia, China or increasingly in Sudan; and what is now multiplied murder (as foretold in Revelation 6 and John 16:2) becomes in time, added to and aggravating the multiplied dis-grace relative to the truth of God, those dissonant sounds towards the God of infinity and eternity, which so readily mesmerise this earth. Murder regularly comes to fruition from its follies, whether that of deceit, deviousness, blatancy or indirection; and it may be moral, mental, spiritual or physical, and in these categories, swift and sudden or slow with an accelerated attrition, horrid in spirit, detestable in folly, certain for judgment when it comes (Acts 17:31, Matthew 25:31ff., Revelation 20:11ff.).
He who is full of grace, and operates on that basis toward man whom He has made, has given the Gospel for redemption from all such forces, within and without (Hebrews 2); and at the last, in a time increasingly looming and flashing its dynamics, there comes a series of events, prelude to an international assault on Him, already foreshadowed clearly enough in China, as before in USSR*.
That is as in Revelation 19:19, interestingly the very figure for the date of the influenza epidemic which reportedly wiped out more souls from this earth than did the horror of the preceding World War I.
Alas for man, that he will not learn; and that what he ignores so trenchantly (yes, it is possible to do this, fighting against the truth and pretending it is not there, simultaneously as in Romans 1:17ff.), becomes instead of the reservoir inexhaustible of grace to his soul, life and future, rather the source of deserved judgment (as in John 3:18-19, 36).
Yet IN His grace, there may be multiplied millions who DO find Him and DO accede to being saved entirely by grace through faith as in Ephesians 2, and not having any part in THAT particular event as determinants in this earth, it being long before decided on a basis that excludes even foreseen works (Ephesians 1:4). The will of man is relevant ? yes of course; for it is in the very face of the grace of God that some refusing His desire for all, forfeit the opportunity as in John 3:18-19,36. It is however relevant to God, for man has lost the power to understand in and of himself, in this region, defiled by sin (I Corinthians 2:14). Hence God cites it as the ground of condemnation when anyone rejects Him, who knows all and superintends each result.
Determinants ? man the determinant ?
Certainly not, for John 1:12 removes such a thought forever. It is far too deep for the psychic state of battered man to determine; it is known to God in terms of truth. Let it be stressed, however, that man is by no means irrelevant when IN THE GRACE OF GOD, who is FULL of grace, by foreknowledge he was predestinated at the will of Him who would have all to be saved, and come to a knowledge of the truth, to be reconciled to Himself.
One thing is impossible in view of the Gospel of the grace of God: that anyone WOULD have liked to be saved, desired it with all the heart, and was not: BECAUSE God foreknew His own and brought them through, and lacking NOTHING in power, WOULD HAVE all to be saved. It is really quite systematically necessary to step over and to avoid the dead body of Christ in order to be judged with perennial guilt. It is not so easy. It is however almost a norm. How man invents his own perplexities. The way is straight if narrow, good if testing, gracious and it moulds as one goes; for God has the desire to sanctify us wholly (I Thessalonians 5:23ff.), which is also that of those who are His.
Give then glory to God for the grace of God and use it!
On this quasi-religious deception, see *4 in Christ the Citadel ... Ch. 9
Cf. Uncomprehending Darkness and the Self-Revealing Light Ch. 9. Interesting critiques of industrial extremes in legislative throes, and correlative dangers both to equity and function, appeared in The Australian, March 31st., 2009. Three of these appeared on p. 12. A third is to be found for March 30th., from Henry Ergas, Chairman of Concept Economics. It is important to treat human beings as human, rather than objects whether for class struggle, however invidiously mistaken the concept in this land, for ideological exploitation, or adjuncts of power, for the achievement of impact.
In fact, when equity is so mistreated that one group, be it those who are entrepreneurs or those who aid them in their tasks, are bound beyond the needs of function, to some begrudging accounts, then grace so far from abounding, is critically defaced. While abuse on either side is all too possible, laws to enhance its opportunities by excessive lethargy for needful changes, or ponderous means for intervention, readily become mere grounds for resentment, opportunities for misuse, threats to enable gross misconduct, to be variously interpreted, without due penalty or correction.
In the present case, if employers cannot have any say in the ideological, behavioural, functional and inter-active phases of business, or if any, such limited opportunity as to make business a lottery of events and a prey for the overweening and the exploitative, be this intentional or other: then there is evidence of a degradation which will cost not a little. The greatest cost is in the abuse of personal relations by inane laws which depersonalise some who need personal discernment in the employment of staff, in order to gain fully effective results.
It is a delicate business, to make wonderful designs work; and it is not helped by brandishing concepts of liberty which border on indulgence, exceed equity, and make of one group putty in the hands of the other, if not in intention, then in practice. Endless delays in the application of intrusive laws, requiring things contrary to need and beyond justice, so that the main peril in business may become the loss of time by exploitation by law, its expense or its sheer drudgery of legalities innumerable, this may satisfy the Mme. Defarges in their needless knitting, but what it executes is productivity. Nor are we oppressive as some have been, except in such out-of-date extravaganzas of political see-sawing.
That many labourers were extremely wrongly treated in the past is sure: for morals were not applied as they should have been. That many employers are extremely wrongly treated in the present, in the looming legislation, seems equally sure. One group has the danger of becoming the captors of the other, in practice. Equity and humanity, efficiency and functionality, and above all, grace and truth require otherwise. Revenge may be sweet; but it is never effective when man seeks it or indulges in conscious or unconscious exhibitions of it. Vengeance is mine! says the Lord.
To be sure, where Christ is absent, distortion is inevitable; but it is well to seek to minimise it, not to gain power from this group or the other, that illustrates their capacity to inflict duress, irrespective of productive facility. It is as erroneous to display employer muscle as employe union thrust: what is needed, is this, to recognise that while people have proper respect shown to them as people while they work, this does not become a slavering insistence on staying put or exacting a threatening and even inordinate penalty when things are not fully functional, before leaving.
Equally, when employers lose their tempers, or fail to be reasonable, that is, to consider faults that may occur without intention, or most rarely, and instead react with needless force, there is the same danger. Exploitation is now a political dynamic, and provision for it, in practice, is a perfect aid to the dangers of unemployment.
Allied dangers that threaten, in the political milieu, include the ideological perversion of seeking to have forced misalliances, such as having non-Christian teachers forced on Christian schools. Such errors can occur despite the fact that biblically this is forbidden, for it is a yoking indeed in this spiritual case, with unbelievers in a Christian work (II Corinthians 6:14). It is also nonsense to expect those who do not, in principle and in nature, by biblical necessity, understand what is being done, to act adequately in a setting requiring the sight they lack (Ephesians 2, 4, John 3). As Christ declared, those not born of God through His Holy Spirit cannot even SEE the kingdom of heaven (John 3). How work in what you cannot see!
Thus things ostensibly to prevent unfairness readily become instruments of spiritual torture, political domineering and personal insensitivity to the point of inanity. While such actions exist here or there in this nation or that, such things are sure to get far worse as the antichrist makes his home in a power-hungry world, where there are many to satisfy its urges.
Let us by all means have sensitivity, but also sensibility, and good sense. As negative passions extend with the systematic exclusions and syncretisms imposed in much school teaching in this area, and the resultant loss of the original thrust of spiritual values in this land, inequity will become more odious, more glamorously invented verbally where it lacks, and more nauseatingly pretentious while it uses the contrary term 'equity' for its follies and 'justice' for its inflictions. Communism has already been an expert propagandism in having 'democracy' where command commisars are the fact, those not even elected by the people.
Justice then ? Just to what ? To the disorderly departure from God, in what is in this case at least, a nation moving from the original source of its strength, denying its character and charting international oddities from moral forces without logical foundation! That however is the ultimate folly. It cannot be practised too often without demeaning the nation, and demolition becomes a prospect.
Yet it is not without end; for the return of Jesus Christ will end these mischiefs, quickly, and quite soon (Luke 21:24).
See Ancient Words and Modern Events Ch. 14.
Ch. 1 of Christ the Citadel ...,
The gods of naturalism have no go!
Little Things Ch. 5, It Bubbles Ch. 9, Repent or Perish Ch. 7.