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Strangling, Strangulation and Spirituality
Easter Arrives, but what is this which one sees ?
EASTER MESSAGE EXPANDED
from Psalm 69
Continually there are costs and consequences. Often this is seen as a grave result in terms of foolishness, and Obama's errors on Islam count amongst these. Accordingly it is to be hoped that he and the nation will repent and repudiate such counter-Christian oddities.
Is the USA, it seems the time has come for certain leaders to congratulate, more and more openly and even dramatically, the RELIGION which denies the redemption, the incarnation, the free gift of eternal life by the crucifixion and righteousness of the resurrected Jesus Christ.
Is this not the exact and precise manner in which to invoke two things ? firstly, the withdrawal increasingly of divine protection because of the truth, and secondly the arrival increasingly of the horrors which are precipitated in hell, because God's very name is despised, if not in intent, then in content!
Is the error of the Bush error, of making often more modest proclamations awry from Christ, than these recently of Obama, now to become a new pageant of parade of spiritual decadence! Is democracy to become another name for heathenism, for disbelief, for relativity in religion so intense that insult is in effect offered to Christ, as his enemies are congratulated; and is this to be part of the wise and serpentine diplomacy of power ?
Is it not enough to allow immoral follies to infect the nation, embracing ALL (not people, but pathologies), without Christian principle undergirding those who STATING THEY ARE CHRISTIANS very publicly, then implement what is the contrary and vote for it! ? Must there now be an exaltation of the enemy of Christ by the mouth of one elected President as a Christian ? Is presidential power now to be used as a palliative. proposition or even to provide a boost for the religion of those who deny Christ openly, and often do so with social, cultural and not seldom, with military power and national efforts at intimidation ?
All of Islam proceeds via the Koran to derogate Christ from deity, deny His work of redemption fulfilled in crucifixion and resurrection, the hinge on which the entire coming history of the universe depends, leaving the door (John 10:9,27-28), as far as that religion is concerned, floating off into space while the race continues its squabbles, brawls and internecine expansions of will! Is a President naming the name of Jesus Christ for his Lord and Saviour, to forward such an atrocity, give praise to such a RELIGION AS SUCH, to such a way of life and belief, by praise and commendation for its part in history!
Culture is not the criterion: faith is. Works are not the issue (and for that matter Europe has had amazing power despite its many defilements, and with its many praises of Christ); it is whom you are working for, it is God. That is the criterion of any religion which names Him as supreme and to be obeyed. If a man is brilliant even, in mathematics, and contributes somewhat to the development of some new bomb to protect the nation, but for all that, is seeking to use it to overcome the nation, is it to the point to note his mathematics ? Is not the issue the work in the RELEVANT CATEGORY of the defence of the realm ? Is not his motive basic!
So here. You cannot ignore the main thrust toward God of a religion, toward Christ, and as a Christian praise it for its derogation of deity, its removal of Christ's redemption, for which He gave His life, and its efforts to surpass Him on the basis of nothing testable, but power, which failed to take Europe and now fails to eliminate Israel, despite the rancour and hostility and efforts of such bodies as the Pan-Islamic group, which announced its desires, as did the President of Iran recently. What you praise as a monotheistic religion enjoining complete obedience to the god whom it describes, INVOLVES the aims and methods of that god, crucially. This provides the admittedly absolute goal and desire of those committed to it.
In the end, it is Christ or not; it is not a counter-christ, a neo-christ, a relativised, spiritually emasculated christ, an object for manipulation by words and denial by deeds! Ashamed of Me ? Christ considered the proposition as seen in Luke 9:589, then I will be ashamed of you. Ashamed of Me now ? then I will be ashamed of you in the day of judgment! That is the pith of the message in Luke 9 at this point.
There is for every one of us the point at which the demands of profession, office or work will force a decision: to stand as a Christian or to deny in word or deed by contrary action, the things which we have affirmed in mouth. The situation does not change with office; for it is the same for every office; for it is a matter of God and man, the one the Maker and the other the made, the Creator and the creation.
In this world, you are faithful to Him, or not; and never is it any excuse to say you are representing your Firm or Nation or All the Nations! If you are His, you must forsake ALL that you have or else ! Or else what ? This you must do or else not only are you NOT His disciple, but He states that then you CANNOT be a disciple of His! It is not only a fact that you then cannot be His but it is an IMPOSSIBILITY that you could be. That, it is His word about you and about Himself; about all.
How is this to be found ? It is found by looking up Luke 14:27ff.; that is how it may be done.
You cannot have it both ways. UNITE my heart to fear Your name! says the Psalmist (86:11). A double-minded man, says James (1:8), can expect nothing (from the Lord!). The fear of the Lord, that is clean (Psalm 19:9), enduring forever.
As the Christian must do ALL in the name of Jesus Christ, so he must do NOTHING in any other name; for when ALL is there, NOTHING ELSE IS LEFT! (Colossians 3:17). Is He to be Lord of all except one's profession in life ? Is a President, or are all law-givers for that matter, to disengage their private professions, once outside Church ? or worse, even disengage from their public professions shouted out before election, when at work in their new posts ?
Is a person, in order to represent a nation as a leader, to misrepresent the Lord, the Christ who is God (John 20:27-28) ? Is it not clear that you can first TELL the people what is your position on God and Christ and the Gospel and then when in office, APPLY its morals and perspectives, not so that those who elected you (some not being Christians) can receive less than justice or equity, but so that NO ONE by YOUR power is given what is contrary to the standards of Christ in terms of groundwork and moral basis. What are your stated morals for ? to contradict. How moral is moral self-contradiction!
Certainly, a lawgiver in a free nation freely allows leave to argue against, live a life against and even to attack Christ verbally, on the part of for those who are not His; but he does not facilitate unbelief by praising evil or exalting what harms and in the end ruins. He has his own principles, and he sticks to them. Such was Robert Menzies in this country. None is perfect, but that is no excuse for having malleable principles and touting what is evil as if it were good. Indeed, the Bible has a special woe for that very thing (Isaiah 5:20 - "Woe to those who call evil good!"). Faith without works is dead! So says James 2. Without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God, indeed (Hebrews 11).
Is one to praise and uplift what is contrary to wisdom, act on its basis! Are contrary standards and morals praised, or implemented, as part of a mission of one whose absolute guide and director is the contrary, the God of the Bible ? Or is one to make a new god, a new christ, and revise the Bible till this new book becomes the basis of a new lord, who does what he is told! Is one's stand before election not to indicate and imply that after it ?
Is God to become an ally for power and not a Lord for life, any part of it, every part of it, in power or out of it, whether a man is representing the nation or not: for in representing the nation, to misrepresent Christ, this stands close to mere hypocrisy.
There is NEVER any mandate to make the absolute, found in your God, to become a chameleon for office. To praise His enemies is to insult His face, and to activate by personal vote what is contrary to His morals is to slap it, or deceive His people if you came as a Christian. To be sure, there was some chameleon aspect before election in this case, since the biblically defined area of sexual perversion was included in approbation, already in profound and abysmal conflict with the Bible; but the confused bought it, and the misled were attracted. It becomes thus, as if to sanction vice (biblically defined in both the New and the Old Testament) were in some way a liberation and the use of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ WITH THIS were in some way enlightenment.
To be sure, many of the people loved to have it so (cf. Jeremiah 5:31); but this is a progression. We move from anti-biblical morals, touted, included, the sort of thing to FORWARD, to a new part of degradation of things spiritual. Now the course moves on: it goes on after election, to anti-Christ religion, as the sort of thing to PRAISE, so that what in spirit denies Christ and His works, becomes an excellent thing, a contributor to the history of the world in its religious provisions! Christ becomes a member of the entourage, and the Lord of glory is given gall again!
This, it is not so nice for Easter. Imagine if this were presented from the pulpit (and why not, if it is sound Christian doctrine for a professing Christian ?) on Good Friday, namely, that it is praiseworthy to have a religion which denies the dignity of the Divine Doer, the Creator (Colossians 1:15, John 1:1-14), and the effectiveness of what He did, moreover His deity and His redemption! that free gift by grace of grace, gracious in spirit, in provision and in kind, right from the outset in love to the onset in the gift of eternal life! The testimony of JESUS it is which is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:9-10), and the testimony of Christ is one of grace, foreknown, foreseen, held from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8), and made manifest in Him who achieved the result to that it MIGHT be free, as it is (Romans 3:23ff., Titus 2-3).
This is singular, statuesque, monolithic, in the name of Him who is wonderful, the beginning and the end, alpha and omega, the Lord of glory. It is un-negotiable for faiths, irremediable if rejected, essential for spirit and the only way to be adopted by God (John 14:6, Ephesians 1), and it will not change (Ephesians 1:10), for truth is like that. It has what it is, and what is, it declares; and with God, it is what He is and does as He enunciates it where test and validity alike attest*1; for TEST all things is the word to man (I Thessalonians 5:21).
In Jesus Christ is the place of grace for this race, of pardon by sacrifice, self-sacrifice on the part of God, gift by grace, God's becoming man that man might be brought back to God, predicted, fulfilled, incapable of denial by reason, confirmed on every side, as the course of history follows like a pet dog, the prophecies in both the New and the Old Testament!*2
Is this world then to become a mandate for duplicity; or is the name of the Lord to become a symbol for unspirituality, or the title of a task-force to deny truth and affirm it, this from two sides of the mouth simultaneously.
Pity for the USA is only one of one's concerns in this; for no nation can move towards becoming so depraved and yet be blessed as it might have been (Proverbs 14:34). This is serious assault on Christ, in the name of Christ; for you do not shed Christianity in order to become President, shoe-cleaner, husband, householder or anything else. Pity for the Church is another concern; for in this, the worst features of the creations of many who have new christs, hand-made in the seminaries of many bodies still retaining the name 'Christian' are being brought into the public eye. Such two-tongued seminary vogues can only be aided by such politically-voiced strangulation of scriptural fidelity, record and requirement.
Alas, but yet, take heart, Christian, for the Lord has foretold all to this to a point far past the present, in which not only will one nation so abase Christ, but many peoples will do so; and the universal lowest common spiritual denominator will soon become such that it can be - and will be (Revelation 13, II Thessalonians 2) ruled by an adversary of Christ, who yet uses His name in passing. That is, there will be a SECOND BEAST (13:11ff. - not the civil-political-social-military one), a RELIGIOUS BEAST. Why shut the eyes ? because it is modish to do so ? as when Britain did not prepare, despite Churchill's warnings, for the RESULTS of Hitler's rise!
In Revelation 13:11ff., we find that this religious beast, this tent for terrible religion, this evangelism for anti-christian dealings, while USING something of Jesus Christ as it goes, is going to be a servant, a servitor for the main political-military beast, and will seek for people to worship it. It ?
This is the interesting thing in particular: the second beast seeks for people to worship the FIRST beast! (Revelation 13:12). Thus religion becomes an aide-de-camp to the raw military and political establishment! Think of it: Chaplain to the beast: the second beast performs just such an office for the first one! They are in harmony, having but one heart, one aim ... but two names. Treachery and trickery are in the heart. The first and second beast, these are the names. Let us for this point, see further in the book of Revelation.
And what else, then, is this field is coming ? Is it not to have Christ placed somewhere to attract, but not in control lest it detract from popularity, and to do so on some such excuse as that of giving everything possible to everybody, as if one ceased to be a person when in power, or to have fidelity when taking office; or as if this beast made God into a bit of the thing, a mere adjunct, when ruling ? Is it not for this second beast, just as the Book says, as the Bible clearly indicates, namely: to have the appearance of a lamb but the speech of a dragon!
What does this mean ? The appearance of a lamb, as if it were of this kind, implies that there is something of great significance about it which allows the unwary to MISTAKE it for a lamb. It must therefore have some of the things which relate to THE LAMB, so much focussed in this book of Revelation. Indeed, the term 'Lamb' is used 27 times in its 22 Chapters, so that this use of it, in Chapter 13, has no uncertain significance; and this is the more so, since there is in Revelation much emphasis on the conflict between State power and that of the spirit, of Christ. The Beast and the Lamb, these are the contraries in view.
To be sure, the beast has the devil back of it (Revelation 12:9); but this, the beast, is the expression of the same, and as to the final expression of the spirit of antichrist, this is the devil's messiah (cf. II Thessalonians 2, Daniel 7:20-21).
Thus this Beast looks like a Lamb. It is a deception. The office of the Trojan horse is in view. The sleeper idea in spy-work, this is the sort of thing that is in mind. The 'sleeper' ? the concept is of what seems to be a sleepy thing, as if it does not really matter; but in heart and in intention, it is ready for a very different part. Its aim is to betray trust and to use position for the opposite end of what appears on the surface.
Thus the second beast LOOKS LIKE a LAMB. It is, however, this beast, one that speaks like a dragon, and that term, it is not at all unclear. It is used 12 times in this same book of Revelation, clearly defined in 12:9, equated with the devil in his configurations and functions against God, and here means just that. A devilish evil dares to seek to deceive by using the appearance of CHRIST. The term antichrist means one doing just that, taking the place of or seeking to substitute for Christ. John tells of it in I John 4:2-6, in terms of what was then in the world, and was what was moreover coming; as did Christ as seen in John 14:30, in terms of the prince of this world, to come. That prince, said Christ, that leader, it has NOTHING in Him!
So this second, this religious beast is, as we see, in some subtle way allied in appearance with Christ; but it does not give Him His place, instead taking that for itself! That is the essence of it: for himself he takes it, or for his party, line, power, place, as he seeks to occupy the place of God, or at least acts to do so. This is that body which is found representing in the end, not one nation but all nations; for by that time, these all have fallen into the pit from his slick ways and devious misrepresentations, so nice in appearance, so deadly in fact. That is the biblically described way it is going to be, and many such people will arise in churches (II Peter 2) on the way to that climax; so it is enough to be warned!
However, back some 2000 years, there was ONE event with a single-tongue and single-heart for a singular result that cost more than the earth, which writhes in endless betrayals invoking endless seeming disciplines and obstacles, as if one should veer off a highway and seek to speed on, amid the scrub. That single event cannot be reduced for politics, seduced by spiritual diplomacy or satisfied by dismissal. To dismiss that is like dismissing the lungs with which you breathe or the head by which you store thoughts.
This single event, the death and resurrection unity of Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word of God who became flesh for the greatest expedition of history, is filled with pity and power.
The blessing to surpass all, it comes by His work, and through His word, which will dismiss this entire earth when the play is over for its potentates and principles of pollution of mind, heart and body, earth and space itself (Matthew 24:35, II Peter 3, Isaiah 51:6), just as His word before incarnation, created it (Colossians 1:15). To bypass this is like bypassing health for the sake of cancer; and to mistreat His people is like a request for a millstone to tie about one's neck (Matthew 18, Micah 7, Revelation 6:9ff.); for the time of judgment comes, and it is according to truth.
Even Israel, that non-oil State in the Middle East, which Islam molests and terrorists and their ilk seek to remove from the map, whether President of Iran or other, though it has yet to return to the Lord (as in Zechariah 12:10ff., Ezekiel 37, Luke 21:24), is under a protectorate. This is despite its many divine disciplines, and meanwhile it becomes a sword-edge for the mighty, on which to blunt their varied appetites, as has been seen and will shortly be seen (Zechariah 12-14).
It is however not the diminution of wisdom, and the antagonism of nations to the Lord and His ways which is our current topic, except BY CONTRAST. It is the acme of wisdom and the wonder of the Lord which arrests our attention this Easter.
We look through Psalm 69 to see in brief form, something of what was to happen, did happen and has changed the world. If it chooses to ignore it, this leaves the explanation for its plight; and where any make application to this Sovereign by faith, to find His salvation, it is they who change out of all sight and recognition, as is becoming to adopted children of the Lord (cf. Ephesians 1).
and the CONSEQUENCE of DELIVERANCE
I Sunk in Sin 69:1-6
Here David shows something of his travails of spirit, amid persecution, but also his own sin amid circumstances enough to harass the strong. On many sides, vileness and violence seek to oppress him, and he is not even perfect to meet them; but the Lord is perfect and in this Psalm we find what HE DOES, that such as David might be delivered. We tune in to his theme, as the Psalm commences.
The mire of what is spoiled, the depth of what is beyond human recall, the floods of what is overwhelming since only God can stop the submergence in the pressure of events from being fatal to understanding and standing in His light: these things are abetted by the roaring of hatred, like a tsunami ready to invade (69:4). Yet this is no excuse for his own sins - God knows "my foolishness" and "my sins are not hidden from You."
David is moved to record his depth of concern that his own predicaments and errors will not bring disesteem to God, on account of his own failures, vicissitudes (69:6). His solicitude is for those who seek the Lord, and the last thing he wants is for his life to dissuade, to influence them negatively from both knowing and following the Lord.
II Covered with Reproach 69:7-12
Now we find that it is "for Your sake, I have borne reproach." Shame has come from standing firm for truth in the midst of ceaseless evils, just as the professing Christian must stand now, or be subverted as one without true faith, a mere wall emblem. In the Psalm, we find of the focussed person, that even his brothers treat him as an alien. We move now to the frequently found depiction of the Messiah, through the mother-to-be of David's own descendants according to promise (II Samuel 7).
His words are these: "Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up." It is this which we find now inscribed on what is increasingly obviously the very image of the Messiah; and of course John's Gospel shows that this was just what was fulfilled in Jesus Himself; for He swept out the commercial undertakings in the temple, activities which had polluted the whole atmosphere of sanctity and relief in the presence of free redemption (John 2:17).
At once we draw nearer to the substitutionary atonement itself: "The reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me" - Psalm 69:9. HE became sin for us, declared the apostle Paul, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (II Corinthians 5:21). There was to be a certain transference of guilt and shame from us, of condemnation from our accounts of spiritual indebtedness to the God of truth and righteousness; He would swallow up death in victory.
With this, there would and did come, reciprocally, a transfer of His righteousness to us who believe Him and in Him. This latter transfer occupies two categories. Firstly, there is the presence of His own credit given reception by us; and secondly, there comes truth in life. This means that the very life of God would as it does, re-create our capacity to live in practical alliance with Him. No longer would we or do we who believe, live as spiritually dead, severed from His presence and stricken with the fruits of absence! (Titus 3:5-8, Romans 8:11-14). Life in abundance encounters and embraces us, as a waterfall, the rock on which it moves.
Meanwhile, back in the realm of the Messiah and the cost of our deliverance, believers in Him, we see in this Psalm account of the putridity of the shame which surrounded Him. For Him, almost any religious activity became a cause of mockery, as He becomes a "byword" to the socially well-known, and is "the song of drunkards". Such is the place of grace in sight of disgrace, the defiled and abandoned ways of this world! Thus, while the Cross was the site of actual penalty-bearing on the part of Christ, there was much leading to it, of which it was the epitome; and this, equally, had to be borne. If then such things Christ bore this in life, before the drama of death, is it too much to ask of His disciples and friends, that they bear with valour and courage, what has to be borne now, by us, with Him in His life ? I think not (cf. I Peter 3:*ff., 3:15, 4:1ff., and esp. 4:12ff.).
III Seeking Deliverance 69:13-18
So musing and so moving past his own time to that of the Messiah, in this Psalm as it progresses, David is yet still seeking for his own deliverance. We return from the sudden flash into the realm of the Messiah (closely resembling the crucifixion account in Psalm 22 and allied to that of the then coming resurrection as in Psalm 16). From the mire and the hatred of those hired by sin, he seeks deliverance, for here are deep waters indeed. The pit would love to shut its mouth on him; but he seeks that it will be frustrated by the very power of the God for whom he relentlessly seeks. So does David move from inspiration concerning the Christ to come, and His undeserved woes, and His effectual prayers, to his own case in his endeavours to find deliverance.
Where then is deliverance to be found ? In a moment, he moves to a full-face view of the Messiah actually being murdered; but in the meantime, as the picture moves from himself to that Lord of glory, he seeks help from "the multitude of Your tender mercies". Just as now in the world of weaponry, they are making more and more smaller drones which ultimately could be like insects of electronics, or bionics, devouring and killing, burning and attacking (rather like Revelation 9:1ff.), and these will swarm in evil dealings and reelings, so he seeks a helpful swarm of loving tender mercies. These however are to do good and overcome the evil, like so many attendant nurses, not curses!
The redemption of the whole body of those who would believe in the Messiah now comes into focus (cf. Ps. 16, Romans 8:23), and His own sacrificial death is to cover this. Thus we see developed, as from a photographic negative before us, His very picture who died that we might live.
IV Climax in the Messiah 69:19-28
cf. Psalm 83:16 Here is the climax for Easter. He foresaw. We recall
"Reproach has broken My heart," He cries. " I am full of heaviness," as well He might be with the woes and griefs of all the believers in the world that were and are, come thrust upon Him. Infinite in Godhead, He is yet as man surrounded by sorrow and "acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3). In this lovingly planned disgrace, borne vicariously, we hear His words: "I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none," as might well be. Why is this ?
It is because there is no pity when justice is met for sin; and it was this meeting of mercy in judgment that closed the doors of grace for a moment to the dying Christ, blasting Him as lightning might blast as aircraft from the skies. Then He traces, as One foretelling His own biography, since God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:8), this amazing detail: they "gave Me gall for My food, and for My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink." That of course happened when moving from His eternity in heaven, the Lord came to earth and suffered as man, as seen in John 1:1, 8:58, and 19:29.
Just as the Ethiopian eunuch, as shown in Acts 8:26ff., needed someone to explain Isaiah 53 to him, asking: Did the prophet speak this of himself or another ? so here, it explains itself for us. There is here, there being no parallel in the life of King David, a simple, sample expression by prediction of what in DETAIL would happen, so enabling us to see the fulfilment quite clearly and to appreciate the context. Davidís illustrious and indeed divine descendant through the maternal line is in view. Indeed as in Psalm 16, it is a case as again in Isaiah 52, of death. David did not die that way.
It is as in Acts 2:29ff., where Peter cited from Psalm 16 the resurrection which instead of a rotting body, was the triumph of Christ Jesus:
"Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch
that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
"Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him
that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh,
He would raise up Christ to sit on his throne,
he, foreseeing this spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ,
that His soul was not left in hell, nor did His flesh rot.
"This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses."
David died indeed; but Christ did not so die. His was resurrection as planed from the first and foretold for a millenium. Yet reproach had broken Christ's heart, since the reproaches due to us LANDED on Him, like shells on a stricken battle-ship; and it HAD to result in His 'sinking' for justice to be done, for He was dying the "just for the unjust" to bring us to God (I Peter 3:18).
The coming resurrection did not allay the pangs and horrors of the crucifixion, which had to be borne not only in body, but in mind and spirit. Thus He was left aghast in anguish, stricken with sin He did not commit, excavating those to believe in Him, from the doom that otherwise had to be theirs.
V Mercy through Him 69:29ff. cf. Isaiah 53:4-6
The Assurance from Him who Lifts (Romans 8:16)
In 69:19-21 you see the profound payment; in 69:29-34 you find the profound result
Small wonder then that "the humble shall see this and be glad" and that even further, "you who seek God, your hearts shall live" (Psalm 69:32).
Here is the answer for the poor in spirit, for Christ has borne their sorrows and taken their griefs (Isaiah 53:4). THIS is why their hearts shall live, for He has borne death away and replaced it with life: this with the complete wedding of justice (its bonds on Him) and mercy (its fruits through Him). Indeed, the Lord "hears the poor, and does not despise His prisoners" (Psalm 69:33). We read more of this in Isaiah 61, a test cited by Christ of Himself (Luke 4), where we find:
Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound."
THIS is the liberty in view, that of eternal life; and THAT is the captivity, that sin and guilt which severs from God, itself broken by His vicarious death, as is an electrical circuit, when the wire is cut.
VI Doom without Him 69:22-28
In view of what He did, what it cost and the enormous consequences in blessed favour and friendship with God for those who simply and freely by faith receive this, the Lord's Christ (Luke 2:26, Romans 3:23ff.), small wonder that there is that inevitable and horrendous ire and action from God toward those who rejecting Him, or even assisting evil concerning Him, shame mercy and detest deliverance (Psalm 69:22ff., cf. John 3:19,36).
This acrid and grievously just condemnations, they are not merely for sin, ordinary sin in falling short of the spiritual life which should be led. They concern something far worse. What is this horror phase to which the anger of God is so directed as we here see ? It is nothing less than the steadfast insistence on being self-slain by REFUSAL to receive REDEMPTION, which so costly, attests love but not stupidity. It is the Messiah, divinely sent vessel, of the status of Deity, the Eternal Word of the living God, who is sent in amazing sacrificial love to endure the horrors, pains and pangs of a doom which could not hold Him, in view of His divinity, righteousness and innocence of guile and guilt. It is the mercy of God WHERE IT MAY BE FOUND, by divine appointment, therefore which, in disbelief, is rejected; and there is NONE ELSE.
Staying in the hearts of those who despise and reject Christ's salvation, there therefore remains the deadly sin in which they therefore must die (John 8:24)! Some even seek to Ďprotectí others from the truth, scorning and scoffing; and what a load they are to bear when judgment does come, and that ACCORDING TO TRUTH (Romans 2:1ff.).
The leadership of this movement of deadly defiance (foretold in Psalm 109 and in some detail in Zechariah 11), which in the Zechariah we find was a matter of selling Him to His enemies for 30 pieces of silver, as history records, is now seen. It is that prepared for the futility they preferred to keep, the emptiness and asininity, instead of taking with relish and relief all means for guilt's removal. And available, freely, urgently, with vast cost, were these means of deliverance! By scorners scorned, such become the final mark of guilt, and their ignoring becomes the first line of judgment. If you refuse to be protected at such cost, how great is your loss and your shame, called in Daniel 12, "everlasting contempt."
As they were a cause of ruin for many, so their ruin rushes upon them; for they have preferred to infect others, scorning avoidance of guilt and scorching their own souls through their ineffectual and vacuous despising of the Messiah.
May the good Lord deliver many now from such things, as instead, they embrace the good He has done for the salvation of their souls, and knowing God as friend, delight in the abundance of inner peace and the provision of His paths for their living. As such, it is well to conceive of ourselves by His gift of grace and current vital presence, as 'living letters' and ambassadors for Christ.
Hear Paul from the Lord (I Cor. 2:9ff., 14:37):
" ...ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us,
written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God;
not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart (II Corinthians 3:3).
Again he is moved to write:
"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christís stead, be ye reconciled to God.
For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."
The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy
The gods of naturalism have no go!
Deity and Design ...,
LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST
WHO ANSWERS RIDDLES
AND WHERE HE IS, DARKNESS DEPARTS.
See SMR Chs. 8 - 9, The Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet Ch. 4, Answers to Questions ... Ch. 5 and indexes on this aspect.