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OVER ALL LIMITS, THE LORD
BEYOND THE LIMITS OF TIME
IS THE LORDSHIP OF DIVINE NATURE AND INTENTION:
BUT IT IS IMPERATIVE TO KNOW HIM,
TO PARTICIPATE IN HIS KINGDOM,
NOT LIVING AN UNCELESTIAL ALIEN,
MASKED BY THIS WORLD
THE PLACE OF LIMITS
You’ll be late! Hurry! So great is the influence of time, especially when the fast beating heart is rushing to perform many things, like that of Jehu in the day of the two kings whom he slew, although he himself, having purged Israel of Baal worshippers, moved into his own idolatry later. As to time, it seems that many live not only with it, but almost by it or even for it!
It is good to be able to rest. He who believes in Him will not make haste (says Isaiah 28:16, in its prediction of the coming of the Messiah, the great foundation stone for mankind, as in 42:6). Hastiness is never wise. Occasional speed is one thing; breathless mentality is quite another.
IN time, ON time, GIVEN time are frequently found idioms. We do have limits as to time on this earth, the epic little epoch from birth to death; but while they in this way apply, they need not be made a dictation for the living. Within those times, you live: but these, they merely apportion your day of opportunity and perhaps if you are a Christian – importunity on this earth; for what is the use of being alive if you do not seek the Lord and make a difference in a world almost witless, without wisdom, dying in speedy methods of splendid rush! The great difference is the Gospel, the great result, regeneration, the great privilege, access to God as His own, the illimitable God.
Ah for what is without limit! Yet not altogether so, for man is a creation not of King Chance, a muckish sovereign whose only power is to let things go according to the system which makes such a description apposite, and invents nothing, least of all information: not of this, but of God. The limit which GOD CONSTITUTES for any of His creatures, this is altogether to be desired.
Imagine a world in which there was no limit to stress, to strain, to error, to folly, to imposition ? To be sure, John the Baptist lost his head, but not because of haste, except in the case of his murderer, King Herod. Think of the divine Nuremberg, in a figure, to come – and that in veritable fact. Nothing is lost, all is known, no document flutters away, knowledge is total, since all things are bare before Him, with whom we have to deal, the Almighty! It is good to be passed by pardon for which of us has not, now here, now there, erred this way or that, overcome, blindly foolish, witless, lacking grace, understanding, insight or the beauty of holiness! Even King David, a man after God’s own heart, had his awful moments, and very nearly fell further, being saved from this by a very wise woman (II Samuel 25:19-33).
Imagine where there would be NO peace (trouble without limit), NO love (hatred in its imbroglios, given eternal options), NO redress (the evilly cunning strut forever)! It is good there ARE limits, set by the Almighty; and just as God has set these, both in being the One who IS, and is supervising our creation and providence, so it is well.
Yet, on the way to the Divine Nuremberg, there are many who seek to practise sin without limit: they seek to trample government in Mexico, Columbia-type drug lords and mini-invasions of the USA by illegals; they seek to exterminate Israel, and get other nations to help them, like a team of 100 cats bent on cutting bits off the shoulders and especially the throat of a mouse! Nice dealing: very United Nations like! As they go, they blow: now they want same-sex marriage, and increasingly the line seems to be this: Don’t CALL it marriage it, but sanctify it nonetheless.
Yet some have the terrestrial, the human effrontery, the bombastic spiritual insensitivity to insist that any reference to God must begin with some blame, some protestation, some basis for negotiation at least, or else they condemn Him, as if they were participants in some socially effete and mellow organisation where barter could bring hope, or bluster could bring a divine capitulation. They refuse to be on the outside, to be condemned, to be outré, sinners in short. They need make no concession, perfection breathes from their very pores, the divine is a mere sheer wall in front of them, which they may have removed, if it does not move of its own accord, as they shout at it.
If they were Adam, this would only be bluster, an unearthly insistence on celestial status without having done anything to gain it, a mismatch of what was made by gracious divine grant, of a potential, to become a child of God, with an actuality, BEING IT! It is to approach a lottery with hand outstretched, not with the entry form, but for the cheque. But this is not the world of Adam, savage as would be the presumption, EVEN IF that were our condition. It is far removed from there, as the seeds of rebellion sown, have sprouted, vigorous shoots have sprung up, a crop sways in the winds and harvest is soon (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5).
Mankind is now on the outside. WHY should we suffer for Adam's sin ? asks one. Yet if your father spent the family fortune, would you be immune ? If you fell over and hurt your knee, would it not bleed ? What is the use of using abstract conceptions instead of facing facts!
This is a fallen race, and its grotesque horrors have been seen sufficiently in the earlier chapters, so that a short reference will suffice here.
It surges with racial, military or political arrogance,
it despises its neighbour, it loots its surrounds,
it invades what it wants, it enslaves what it seeks to use,
it abuses its
it seeks political sanction
for wantonly immoral, contra-design mockery of our created, highly effective status,
by which those
amazing creations, babes, are born;
it thumbs the
nose to necessity and becomes in vast debt,
it makes atomic
radiation, it threatens to extinguish nations,
it surges into
space, forbidden (Psalm 115)
it throws out
morals, cultivates the sacred self,
frenzy against them as in various Islamic nations,
it knocks over
the acids of seething erosion,
it teaches the
young to assert themselves against God, morals or whatever seems good,
We do not all do this ? It is so; but we are giving some of the symptoms of the syndrome known as modern civilisation with its nations in a froth of anti-faith, seeking to govern anarchy, while voters largely anoint the immoral, exalt the amoral and extinguish restraint.
Meanwhile as Islamic militants seek to exterminate Israel, and if need be, the USA to aid this purpose, or to harass it towards such an end as far as need be (cf. Lord of Life Ch. 8, *1), Pakistan totters on endless liabilities to diverse foes, while within it sharia-sheiks seek to dictate terms and grab part of the nation, even such as want to lessen womanhood to the point that the presumption rises to the heavens, in whosever name they may try to justify it, destroying schools a specialty, preventing female education seemingly a religious tic.
At the same time, Sudan has long been a territory of terror, an emblem of shame, Islamic forces despoiling many homes and waging incessant war to be first, to have submission about them; the USA is seeking trillions from China while lessening expressed concern about human rights (translate minimally – reasonable treatment of workers and power to express oneself), through reported presentation from its new Secretary of State. Russia is flexing muscles on bronzed arms, while helping Iran in its nuclear ambitions, despite innocent signatures about nice intentions …Where are the limits ? They do not appear, and that is just ONE reason why this world civilisation would disappear if Christ did not return (as in Matthew 24:22-28).
What was an epidemic of lowered morals, unspiritual release, obesity of conscience, deletion of ideals in the interests of creating new social gods that enable whatever is desired, has become a pandemic of mutual infection, while the world seems bent on imitating the conditions in the days of Noah (Genesis 6), while ignoring the testimony of the flood, as God foretold they would do (II Peter 3, cf. News 1); and fearing for fruits of its sowing, it eats all the more of its own fatuities (cf. Proverbs 1:20-31).
It is not that the Lord in pettish mode seeks a perfection none can provide. Rather is it that He has not only cared, showed concern, warned, exhorted, first sent a nation, Israel, as a witness and dealt with it exactly as He said*1, but He has then come in Person in the fleshly format of Jesus Christ, personally to endure what the persons of men dare to provoke: JUDGMENT. And having done all, He is now met by this insidious insolence, this moral insolvency, this glorying in unrighteousness, this anti-God smirk, the senility of flesh, this speechifying of separation, this dynamic of division, this exultation of human autonomy till the nations rage like charging bulls, incensed against each other as in confrontation with their Creator.
That too, is as He foretold (cf. Psalm 2, Micah 7, Joel 3, Revelation 16-19).
THEN they cry, How believe in One so cruel! adding slander to their presumption, and twisting of truth to their shameless sundering from spiritual reality.
It goes only so far. There comes a time when, apart from all else, the suffering of sundered souls, mistaught children, misspent youth, mischievous distortions exported via education, TV and newspapers to the race, brings such wanton griefs that it is but kindness to end it, in a way that is merciful in this, that to continue is like stripping the tyres by fruitless revving when caught in mud. This is the prerogative of God, when the season for termination of mere extension, as when a crop is mature, in due course arrives. There comes a time, when after unheeded warnings for generations, the toiling of millenia, judgment arrives, truth is applied in its premises and the final revolt is met (cf. Matthew 25).
There IS a limit to how much suffering the people of God are required to endure (as in I Corinthians 10:13). God does not close His eyes to the pangs of those who provide the Gospel freely to those whom they help. Those in poignant suffering for Him, those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, should bring this promise in faith to Him, with their burdens (Psalm 55:22, I Peter 5:6, Philippians 4:6) - the slanders to assault them, the distortions to twist what they do, the unjust accusations, the stripping of their assets, their homes. It is necessary to seek Him deeply when things are rosy with a red not beautiful, or piercing in pain that does not fail to linger! To persist in His love and message when those oppressed with sin seek to spread their pains to those stretching out the Gospel sent from divine mercy, this is not easy; but it is both mercifully possible and morally necessary (cf. Matthew 24:4-12).
Jesus foreshadowed this
time, and it is a privilege to serve Him in it, if by any means, as He is
exalted and His salvation works shown, some might be won, the lies of the devil
exposed and better things brought near to many. Hear His words:
"And Jesus answered and said to them:
'Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying,
‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.
'See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass,
but the end is not yet.
'For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
All these are the beginning of sorrows.
'Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you,
and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
'Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.' "
ENDURE TO THE END! He exhorts! What more fitting! HE is alpha and omega, and having begun in Him, it is well to end with Him in endless life, for which we are made, the frustration of which by sin makes the potent mixture of divine judgment and human desolations. While sin proliferates like plague, asking for exposure to judgment, this ensemble, this miserable mismatch wreaks havoc in the psyches, strident perils in society, madness in mouthings and verbal tsunamis in threats, which echo amid the desolations being made. Let us be clear, this world is not one large garden, for wars, maiming, torturings, gross gluttony of desire, ravagings of the young, persecutions innumerable are like small-pox on its skin, while its soul becomes hardened in guilt, stricken with guile.
What is the polluted policy ? It is this. Forego faith, injure innocence, pollute by education, love this world, ignore the realities of your own mind, spirit and body in creation, pretend something did it, call it 'nature' though it never does help*2, this you may well do, and then moan against God, ignore His salvation, be mute about its cost, imagine you are abandoned while you act with abandon, and blame the Father of spirits for your dispiritedness!
It becomes the race so to do; it is fitting for what is fallen: but what does it become as it does this, this race of ours, married to mortality, mute to immortality!
There is a limit to how long the Lord endures this, though His forbearance is staggering! His grace surges through many as they bring tidings of healing; but passion prevails for the many. There is a limit to the time. Recall Matthew 24:8: after identifying some of the moral and political plagues to come before His return (which have all come), Christ spoke in passing, declaring that this was the beginning of sorrows. Proceeding through the minting of new false prophets, and their multiplied deceptions, the abounding of lawlessness, while in many their love grows cold, He makes a further prescription, or if you prefer, prognosis of the disease!
"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world
as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come" (24:14).
There is a limit to how long Israel will be threatened before its deliverance, which however, as with many another mortal, relates intimately to HOW LONG before this nation itself turns in large measure to that same Lord Jesus Christ whom it slew (with Rome’s marvellous aid! do not forget!). Turns in what way ? This: turns for mercy (as in Zech. 12:10-13:1, and Micah 7, Romans 11:25ff.), which like all of us, it needs. It is however one thing to need it, another to gain it where it may be found, amid repentance by the Cross of Christ, Himself alive to administer peace, pardon and victory (cf. Isaiah 53-55, Hebrews 7:25 with 6:19).
The wonder this that this will happen, this vast regenerative impact on Israel the nation: it will happen as foretold in Romans 11:25ff. and Ezekiel 34-37, and much more. It is ordered, organised and prescribed, just as the initial removal of Israel from its land as penalty, its long sojourn away, its amazing return through grace (Ezekiel 36:22), its victorious wars against overwhelming seeming odds (Zechariah 12), the constant menace and the terrible burden accorded to all this powers intent on seeking to interfere are foretold*3 (those such as the UN, the Madrid Quartet and their ilk). In this very context, its coming to Him whom it pierced in repentance is foretold as all the rest (cf. Amos 3:7). It was God's plan not only to do, but to foretell that all the nations might know, and Israel might know with whom they deal. Much is done if by any means many might seek Him, whom to know is life eternal (cf. II Peter 3:9, Ezekiel 33:11, Lamentaiotns 3:33).
There is NO LIMIT in God however, in His infinitude to His wisdom, His grandeur of grace, His profundity of mercy, His enormity of power, His faithfulness and patience (not to be confused with lassitude and limitless nonsense masquerading as if from Him), His truth and His everlasting kindness, with which He considers what is in His image, created in measure as His kin, though violating this by iniquity, and vitiating it by will. He has done all; He is winning those who arise and return to their Father, not as mere creations, but through grace by faith, His adopted children (cf. I John 3:1ff., Ephesians 1:5ff.).
Today let us look at certain scriptures concerning this latter fact, and rejoice.
THE LORD BEYOND MAN’S LIMITS
Consider these divine intimations in the Bible, and let us reflect on them.
v Psalm 40:5 (thoughts to us innumerable – does not know their number);
v Psalm 103 (forgives ALL your iniquities, mercy from everlasting to everlasting, his mercy as high as the heavens above the earth, and as far as the East from the West, so far has He removed our transgressions);
Psalm 71:15, Isaiah 51:6 (righteousness and
salvation never to be annulled);
Psalm 139:17-18 (thoughts toward him, more than
Psalm 147:5 (His understanding infinite);
Hebrews 13:8 (Jesus Christ, the same without
limit of time);
John 5:24 (the one who believes in Him, thus
qualified, has this to come:
he or she does NOT come into condemnation, has passed FROM death to LIFE
and this life – it is everlasting);
Revelation 22:4-5 (HIS name on their
foreheads, and they will reign for ever and ever, without no limit of time,
alteration of allegiance, variation in disposition);
21:22 (HE is the temple, no lesser thing, no
22:17 (invitation, exhortation to drink
freely – sense, ‘gratuitously’ – as a gift);
and see that in
John 7:37 it arises so much that it
positively flows out from one, and in 4:14, it is so ebullient, that it rises
like a spring, and so lasting that thirst again is excluded;
Romans 8:39 (no limit on the negation of
what would separate from the love of God, be it time or power of any kind in any
being of any category, space or future development);
Hebrews 8:12 (sins NOT to be remembered;
with no limit on duration of exclusion zone);
Hebrews 9:12-13, 10:10, 14, (one offering
by Jesus Christ has completed the cover FOR EVER, no time limit, for it is
sanctifying by obliterative deliverance, and what is thus sanctified is held forever,
kept by His power and operative to completion in the life of His saints – as in I Peter 1:5);
Ephesians 3:18-19 (love of God surpasses
knowledge, try as you might to begin to assess it);
Ephesians 3:20 (His ability exceedingly
abundantly above our very beings,
surpassing not only all ask
but even what we think!).
There is a glorious superabundance, not the delimitations of scarce resources amid competing wants, but an intimation of immortality in its morality and beauty, unsubjectible to damage, deletion or pain, in the midst of power and wonder like the ocean to a child on the shore: whatever you see, yet there is more.
It need not frighten: it is HIS, and we who are believers in Him, who have received Him as given, as crucified, as raised, as alive, as keeping, we are surrounded by what surpasses, and this, not only need, but desire. He is the infinite God, infinite in grace, love, power and understanding. To know Him is a marvel; to be known and to know as a CHILD OF GOD, this is the summit for any creation, and for those who are in this most blessed condition, how could you not REJOICE! Your joy no man takes from you (John 16:22) - your peace like a river and your imputed and operatively present righteousness like the waves of the sea (Isaiah 48:18). Now the department of yea and amen is yours!
Such is the beauty of it, as in II Corinthians 1:20-21 (compare Ephesians 1:11-14):
all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, to the glory of
God by us. Now he who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us,
is God, who hath also sealed us,
and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”
This seal (Ephesians 1:11-14) is for those who “have an inheritance”, and it endures “until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” How great is that glory which makes such unlimited promises, provides such unlimited assurance, and such timely discipline (Hebrews 12)! Therefore TRUST HIM.
GETTING TO KNOW HIM
GROWING WHILE KNOWING
So surrounded with mercy, pity, purity, inspired by His Spirit (Ephesians 3:16, 1:17-18),
Paul describes the wonder of growing in this way. He declares
that he is
“making mention of you in my prayers:
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,
may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
“the eyes of your understanding being enlightened;
that you may know
what is the hope of His calling,
what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and
what is the exceeding greatness
of His power toward us who believe,
according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ
when He raised Him from the dead
and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
far above all principality and power and might and dominion,
and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”
Notice here the criterion for available power is that demonstrated in raising a crucified, crushed and slowly murdered site for smashing, namely the Son of God, Jesus the Christ, with no limit for life to become not merely healed as so often, but bodily resurrected, irrespective of time, ghoulishness or extremity, in this the first-fruits of the harvest of His own (I Corinthians 15:20-21,42,48,51ff.). The eminence of this risen Christ is incomparable with that of anything in the created realm, spiritual, physical, mental or other, for He is eternal (John 8:58); and His glory in triumph is without limit, in and for any Age you may care to name, being in this immutable and beautiful certitude, just the same.
Consult: Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 32, Ezekiel 34-37, Luke 21:24, with Genesis 12, 15, 17, and see Galloping Events Ch. 4, with SMR Appendix A.
The gods of naturalism have no go! and in particular,
Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic Chs. 3 with 4, and 2.
Red Alert Ch. 10 as marked,
Galloping Events Ch. 4, ,
It Bubbles ... Ch. 10,
Outrageous Outages ... Ch. 1,
Israel Ch. 1, SMR Chs. 8 - 9,
The Biblical Workman Ch. 3, *1,
SMR Appendix A.