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CHAPTER 1

GIVE CHRIST HIS PLACE BY FAITH,

AND HE WILL GIVE YOU YOURS

Short-Circuits and Linking Love, Christ the Prize

 

Consider the Redeemer, the Lord, the only Saviour (Isaiah 43:10-11, Acts 4:11-12), the only name given among men by which they MUST be saved.

 Sometimes in national life, volunteering for a conflict is replaced by conscription. With God, there is both: you volunteer, but there is also conscription, NOT by force, but by need should you desire life. You may be a drop-out, after seeking and wondering, but if so you are confined to wandering, without place or grace, perhaps even inordinately pleased with yourself for your farsightedness, self-discipline and savvy. Yet such a person is a fake, autonomous in name, confined by birth, personal limits, custom and character, oblivious of the source of life, its sentence and its salvation.

Let us look then at the Lord, for there is no such sight as this.

His desire, longing is His own (Colossians 1:19ff., John 3:15-19,36). It is towards the children of man.

His power, performance capacity, this too is His own (Psalm 62:11, Isaiah 45:18-21).

His method of salvation, the Gospel of grace pure and uncompromised by addition, subtraction or assault, is His own (Ephesians 2, Galatians 3, Romans 3).

His way of reaching, this is His own (John 6:64-65), for He knows how to find what is His and to avoid deception, duplicity and squirming pretence.

His manner of practically finding His people is His own (Luke 15). He is not instructed in it: counsel is His alone, eternal, all-knowing, missing nothing (Psalm 29:2, Isaiah 40, Revelation 5, Luke 15, John 16:5-8, Revelation 3:20).

His love is His own (Romans 8:31-39, Ephesians 3:14-20), refusing power (John 6:15-21). It cannot be seized, assigned by man or controlled by his machinations.

Its quality is His own. Denying power surges as an option instead of willingness to BE loved in His own way, He has no interest in deep mystic mysteries about it, but instead affirms continually its depth, reach, endurance. 

It is its grandeur, intensity, immensity and scope is so great that it passes all knowledge.

Indeed,

nothing can

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inhibit its outreach,

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inhabit its purity,

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quell its testimony,

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or confuse its counsel.

His announcements have diffused obfuscation, obstruction, misinterpretation, if they be but heeded.

Hence John 3:19, hence Colossians 1:19ff., thus Matthew 23:37ff., Luke 19:42ff., hence Jeremiah 48, Ezekiel 33:11. All are written so that a limited God of prejudice without the grandeur of His merciful desire, foreknown in eternity, predestinated into conformity with truth (Ephesians 1:4, Romans 8:29ff.) is NOT to be confused with the ONLY GOD THAT THERE IS. His love in kind is unlimited, in application does not compel, in lost result when repudiated, leaves to darkness its inhabitants, but only after infinite cost is met, that it might be otherwise, enough for all, applied to any who receive Him. The funds are there, the cheques are made out to recipients. Such things are not tossed around in the wind.

What mystery remains ? Why to see is better than any photograph (I Corinthians 13:12), and to watch than any report; but reports can orientate, educate and make bare the principles; and so does the Bible, with the Spirit of God opening the eyes of the opened heart, making clear what is obscure (Proverbs 8:8), where one is willing to follow what is written, unsmitten by preoccupations, preconceived ideas and wallowing fraud. Like dirt, this is to be exceedingly common as the day of Christ's return draws near (II Peter 2, I and II Timothy 4, II Timothy 3, Jeremiah 23:16-20).

What else ? A mystery in height and depth is there. This too, it is His!

HOW COULD HE SO love SUCH aborted persons as the members of the human race constitute! (Ephesians 2, 4:17-19)! How is He so willing to pay so heavy a cost to redeem such ? how could He be so faithful, reliable ? It is almost like seeing a waterfall ten miles high, with pure, snow-melted water pouring out magnificence at a billion gallons a minute! The sheer massif of water, of love, of mercy, of desire is overwhelming and justly so! But it is anything but a problem! He does not drown us. Man can walk away (John 3:19).

Here is mysterious wonder, comforting to the mind, harmonious to the heart, healing to the soul. The people would turn from such abundance (Jeremiah 2:11-14), but here it is; it does not go away. It will end, this offer, opportunity and abundance of supply to the benighted (Revelation 22:17 gives a last call ... if any man thirst, let him drink, or woman as in John 4!); but it is still here, after two millenia from the culmination in Christ crucified, yes rather risen! As Peter made so very clear, the setting is on the large side!

That it will go, this opportunity, is not nearly so amazing as this, that it is still here.

The Lord does indeed despise any pretended autonomy (Isaiah 45:6), or endeavour to duplicate deity (Jeremiah 10:11); for there is no other suitor fit, eternal, pure and equipped with enduring love and mercy, or even able to bestow it, for it is He who made us all, who may be confronted, ignored or slid from, and it is He who alone has such infinitely based power to select pardon as a gift, and to find the receivers, as the opportunity for importunity (cf. Luke 18:2-8) discovers itself to His gaze.  Foreknowing, like all knowing, involves awareness of what really is the case.

Different things are the case amid the children of men. One is the desire for autonomy, either to be or to appoint to the heart, what is preferred. Such autonomy cannot abide in the hearts of His own, who have one Lord, one faith, one grace, individualised in application, generic in kind (Galatians 1, 3). He repudiates any superficial or pseudo-substitute which tries to worm its way in, wander free or make its polluting mark (II Corinthians 10-11). He exposes the faithless, trusting in their own wits, way, world, witness and at will: to created godlets they give obeisance, setting to with what is merely set up. Let them save them! let their self-made gods, ultimates, counsels, images, of whatever kind, intellectual, emotional, engineered, let these arise and act if they can! He so challenges (Jeremiah 10:11).

He has His own door to destiny (John 10:9), and those who enter, trusting Him, Jesus Christ, as God expressed, sent, the Saviour, know the One with whom they are dealing; and there is no other (Isaiah 43:10-11, Acts 4:11). So these enter into that domain freely (Romans 6:23).

He IS the destiny where grace is received, and faith by grace (Ephesians 2:8-12), and His it is to bestow. How great are His lamentations (as in Matthew 23, Luke 19, Jeremiah 9, 13:15ff., 48:35-36, 51:9), whether direct and in Person as Christ Jesus the Lord, or through the empathetic discoveries of and in the prophet, imbued with the divine presence, his heart charged with His heart!

How great is His zealous knowledge, who hears the supplications of His saints from the heart that is impelled by the One impaled (Psalm 145:13-21, Ephesians 3:20-21).

His security, this also, it is His own when grace grants faith its place, and faith grants Christ His occupancy which is never by force, confusion or compulsion (John 1:10-11, 12, Ephesians 1:11, I Peter 1:5-8, Romans 8).

His knowledge is His own, clear, like light, unconfused, discerning His own people with that all enveloping love which seeks, dispelling those who prefer darkness, undeceived by these, and where darkness is, there is abhorrence (Daniel 12). Events make sense and sense has no substitute, when it is divine.

He has not hidden His intentions, for His purposes are His own, these He has declared (Isaiah 45:10-19), and He confronts those who would opine otherwise. Indeed, He even uses the Church (not an architectural or nationalised structure, or body reliant on other powers, things, people or preferences, but operationally His own), even to instruct beings in heavenly places (Ephesians 3:8-11).

While it is true that He lives in light unapproachable (I Timothy 6), Christ has declared Him (John 1:18), so that even the deep things of God have been made known (I Corinthians 2:9-13) and His reliable wisdom is the quintessence of faithfulness, as He has so fulsomely shown in the national case of Israel and His fulfilments of every last word concerning it,  now set gloriously to find its final culmination after such an unloading of so much in this our own generation (cf. SMR Chs. 8-9, Department of Bible ... Vol. 6, Ch. 15,  including references of  *1A).

He is the light of the world, and in His light we see light (John 9:1-4, Psalm 36:9).

His light is His own and it is the illumination for all, whether the back be turned to it, or the eye (John 1:9).

Indeed, if He had lacked either sure control of all things and the most intensively practical and enduring love, not episodic as in fits, or His love were merely lustful as in starts, but like a sun that never sets (except for those who cling to a distancing surface, that turns away), then things would have been different. But He did not lack such love (Hebrews 2:17-18, 5:7, 7:26, II Peter 3:9, John 3:16-18), but rather was more even that its exemplar, being the very outshining from its source, integral with it.

In what way would He have acted differently if He had not had such love ? It is in this, that HE WOULD HAVE TOLD US. I go, He said, to prepare a place for you, and if it were not so, I would have told you.

I would have told you ... this is one of the most delightful words in the Bible. HE is reliable, conscientious, alert, aware, concerned, empathetic, filled with realisation, and in realising for man the destiny He procured, as many as received Him, He knows His own creation, mankind, his heart, will, ways, needs, indeed they are the reciprocal of what He made in the first place! He meets them.

His way of meeting them is His own! There is none like it; nor could there be.

If it were not so, He would have TOLD us! There is no room for fear where love reigns, so that perfect love casts out fear (I John 4:18). It does not however cast out reverence also! (Psalm 2:11).

Quite simply, God is love (I John 4:7ff.), and what repudiates Him, justly and naturally lacks it; for this is its only source, though even His misspent creations can cling to embers and emblems of it! He hates what ruins its outcomes, its splendour, in shallow substitutes searing the very soul, which He has desired, that He might grant it His abundant life (John 10:10). His statement concerning this is very clear. It is His own.

His life is indeed His own (John1:4). He loves to impart it, even at unbounded cost (Philippians 2). It is eternal (I John 1:14).

God's stated desire was to love the world, His self-imposed thrust was NOT to condemn it, so taking the uttermost step for liberation because of such love (which many have sinfully sought to subdue, mimic or defile, since). Thus He has provided a platform and an exposure (cf. Galatians 3), that ANYONE might believe as He desires, and so complete the circuit where love does imbue control of the situation, kept in order and in truth, so that liberty is realised, amid what foreknowledge knows and predestination simply confirms. What is foreknown is the truth, and since Christ in truth would have all, having such love, then if you seek the Lord, it is not He who demolishes your desires; nor does He obliterate your facility to reject. Love is like that. If it is desired, this is where it is, in Christ, sent in its practical application and personal manifestation, to save sinners. It does not save the self-saved. f you were blind you would have so sin, but because you say, 'We see,' therefore your sin remains." It is as in John 15:21ff..

Ignorance is most emphatically not bliss; self-imposed ignorance here  is fatal. The light of the world, Jesus Christ, received, shines eternally in the heart of His people (John 5:24).