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BULLETIN FIFTY EIGHT
See also Bulletins Fifty Three and Fifty Seven
BEING SATISFIED WITH HIS LIKENESS
IN THE INFINITUDE OF HIS ETERNITY
For man, as in both Testaments, and where the Hebrew is the language in the Old, it needs to be remembered that there is always the situation in which he is placed. He is not an orphan in a wilderness. There is a history to face, whether it be his creation, and the conditions given with it, or his condition through error or worse, and the position this endows.
Man had possible access to eternal life (Genesis 3:22), that is one of the two options: to go on living without end, or to face the challenge of an end, of a mortality. Because of sin, he faced an end - first for the body prepared, as from the occupation of the initial realm, and then before judgment, such as the flood in due course made clear at the human race level. Only salvation could clear him, whether in a duality of symbol and actuality, not drowning through the ark (cf. I Peter 3), or eventually, where the point careered into its final context, in a justification or sin-coverage judicially, through the sacrifice Messiah, His work and witness received (Isaiah 53:1). How poignantly in this Old Testament prophet here is the option exhibited in verse 1, before the marvel of mercy to follow, useless for any one who refuses it, like a cheque burnt! Through disbelief, 'money' available for ransom does not go, but the appointed means for its transference does, when this is the end of the matter. You can tear up the cheque, but not the funds that in their amplitude, could have been released.
The restoration and mercy divinely desired (Ezekiel 33:11, Micah 7:18ff.), and applied (Isaiah 50-55), offered freely without additive required and receivable with acceptance of the ransom (Hosea 13:14, Romans 3:23ff.) which God, beyond all impediment, is keen to impart, to prevent death, are near (Isaiah 55:6). "Why will you die!" and "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked", the Lord exhorts; but rather He delights in mercy, as these verses show, and this desire of His is quite categorical in its kind. As expressed in Isaiah 26:19 (leaving out the words added, and not in the text), we find this.
"Your dead shall live. My dead body shall they arise.
Awake and sing you who dwell in the dust, for your dew is like the dew of herbs,
and the earth shall cast out the dead."
The Lord then exhorts them to "enter into your chambers and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation is past."
Thus for believers in the LORD, there is the scope; the way to hide in His mercy through faith, and avoid all judgment is grounded as in Isaiah 53. THAT is the ground of discontinuity and death, and in this, His merit, for our salvation, is the cause of its overthrow. Through faith as with David in Psalm 21, and 17, here then lies the way to a life which is NOT in reality to end, nor going to be ashamed: its cause of disruption of mercy gone, its provision for its continuance categorically intact. Indeed the Lord Himself was bodily resurrected in the most straightforward manner, not only to show the power to do this, but the relevance. "When I awake." says David (Psalm 17), "I shall be satisfied with Your likeness." There is the whole realm of eternity and deity Himself, freely available. Adoption is like that.
Then in the presence of God, brought into the family of God, adopted to glory (as also in Ephesians 1:5), he will indeed be satisfied, but not with anything less than the sharing of eternity with God, eternal participant with Him in His godliness, brought in from the dead and the discarded, to the living and those remade and moulded, in a likeness restored, and now everlasting. The desire of God is here replete, complete, and consummated.
"You will guide me with your counsel and afterward receive me to glory," says the Psalmist in 73. Only glory remains when the cause of death being removed, and the desire of the heart of God being as He affirms it, the scope of eternity is incorrodibly, infinity. Such is the resultant forever for human life in believers, as found in the Old Testament, and it is identical with that found from the same God, in the New Testament. Immortality, says Paul (I Corinthians 15:54), is inherited for the believer; it becomes a new explicit feature, part of salvation, and so also of course as he says, is incorruption. For the Christian believer, freedom from that source is granted integrally, so that life and its sustaining continue with death dismissed like an enemy, but one with a cause, from which only the atonement can provide escape, for as Peter declares in Acts 4:1-12, under heaven there is no other name by which we MUST be saved. No other Jesus (II Corinthians 11:1ff.), no other spirit and no other Gospel can in deceit or deviation suffice.