W W W W World Wide Web Witness Inc. Home Page Contents Page for Volume What is New
THE CURSE CAUSELESS WILL NOT COME
THE CURSE CAUSELESS DOES NOT COME
"Like a flitting sparrow,
like a flying swallow,
So a curse causeless does not come."
Nothing did not come at the beginning. If it had done so, it would still be the case.
In the beginning, God. There is no other option. This is real.
As not-nothing, He is the cause of all that is not Himself, as to being; and what is given freedom in any degree whatsoever, this is in that respect, the cause of its own results, given the causal framework in which it has been placed. God may intervene, but not to distort; He may emphasise, but not to propagandise; but the responsibility remains where freedom has firmly placed it, in those who before Him and His all-knowing eye, prefer the light or the dark, the light of Christ, or the deadly beyond, which is in fact a nearby pit.
One says of God, 'He'. Let us say
personal power to understand and to make persons; or,
|whose competence and character,|
|whose will and knowledge,|
|whose wisdom and initiative,|
realism and vision were such,
(and since He does not change,
being subject to nothing, but lord of all, Maker of our passing time),
|indeed are such|
|that what He had in mind,|
|without which the matters do not come into conceptual, far less actual being,|
|in fact, comes to be.|
Since He is personal, and He made man in His image and woman derivatively, but for all that with the same personal nature as man, there being a certain complementarity, and deemed here as a helper,
the Bible uses the term 'He'
but is careful to point out that in heaven
there is no male or female (Matthew 22:29),
so that this term conveys a character point, not a gender one.
His love for woman is no less (Galatians 3:28), nor is her honour less (I Peter 3:7), though there is in the Church, some division of labour (I Timothy 2), which does not limit or remove the counselling function of the woman, or even a power outside the pulpit to present the word of God, since Philip had those who prophesied among his daughters (Acts 21:9). Moreover in that she bears children, without which the race itself would not continue, it is necessary to regard with discretion some division of labour. Whatever else happens to a woman's work, its motherhood function, where applicable, can be diminished, minimised or disregarded only at a profound physical and moral peril to the race. There are divisions of labour; and the man has relatively little to do in some realms, he also.
Persons, then, of equal value are part of the divine creation by God.
This Personal Being (who could not be less than they, in order to make them, and needed from the first, all the equipment for the purpose, since what did not exist overall had no place to come from, at the first, and what was inadequate by definition could not procure the products made), is much more aware and alert than man, a product of His own. Indeed, as possessor of all things none of which can trace a beginning except from Him or His liberties and functionalities as provided by Him, He is by no means thereby limited: for it is the creation which is limited by His lordship.
Minimally, infinitely and intimately personal, He when seen as such does not involve sacrifice of the grandeur of His reality but rather allows for greatness beyond all that we are; and indeed, it must be so. Not only in omnipotence and omniscience, since all is for and from Him, but in the very capacity to MAKE persons, which we lack, for all our talk of artificial intelligence, He is distinct, distinctive and unique. As to our creation of artificial intelligence, this is not the making of actual personality,; for it is controlled directly or indirectly, by modes and means in the mind of the creative team of men who make it. It cannot estimate them except in the terms they propose and enable; and these, they are their own.
Person, the power to be a person, this is something which demands capacity to give some kind of image of God in the one concerned, something not of course autonomous, since being born is no choice, and dying is normally no less out of bounds to the will that has life for its desire. Yet for all that, to make something not controlled by character nor by environment nor by mere passion, though it may leap to do so, nor by education, though it may smoodge to obtain this power, nor by inchoate yearnings nor by vague longings, but open to light and able to shut for darkness, even the one from God or the other from any other artificial and inadequate source: this is divine. It alone gives to man the validity of knowledge, as distinct from a reaction, a delimited response, a psychic resultant; and here alone, where truth lies, can lies and slander, reality and preference for it as such, be found.
Liberty is not to be found in the power to emote (though this assuredly helps), but in that to respond to what has objective reality, with the heart and mind, however this be achieved (in fact, with God, in foreknowledge ultimately before the vagaries of our time entered at all), so that as far as person goes, one becomes a living relation to God, or a dead non-correlation, existing in a dark and denuded seduction of splendour, which has no hold either on life or on reality.
Liberty is so often demanded with passion, and not without cause, for it is integral to the reality that is man, defiled by sin, denatured by rebellion, but still there in germ, when the pathology is removed. To see man with that clarity (like a leprosy patient with parts restored, but these, integral operational parts of the psyche), again, this is possible and open only to the One who, being beyond it but essentially with the complete understanding of it, can see for each life: where it is, what it has become and why, and how to disentangle it. It can also see the ultimate barrier, and recognise it (John 3:19), at which it does not proceed, with however much passion and love the opportunity may be thrust upon the unwilling soul.
It is for this reason - the curse causeless does not come - that there is SALVATION (Ephesians 2:1-12, 4:17-19), and not mere participation. And since man in his goatish misuse of liberty, has largely lost it (when your mind is dimmed, as when one has mist on the wind-screen, or distorted, as in those strange mirrors, where your face is curved, or harassed), like a drunkard preferring restful sleep, with no desire to awaken, or like a lamb fleeing a lion, or benumbed, as when it does not even know what it is doing: then the issue was simple.
WOULD GOD bother ? To awaken from a stupor takes effort, the witless is not exactly prepossessing far less attractive (cf. Romans 5:9ff.), and those who have missed so many opportunities are so taxing; and thus the task is a true labour. Would God so tax Himself, at such a level as this, even within our capacity to inter-relate, one parallel to His own!
Man is a magnificent creation, vastly beyond, of course, all that he as a derivative, cogitative, aspirational being can for his own part, make; but was it worth it ? It is so sullied, soiled, spoiled, damaged by sin, superficialised by spiritual separation from God, often with pride as a kind of antidote to any willing involvement: would God bay His heart to move in such a field, that of humankind, as this one!
Could God bring Himself to fix the thing up ? It is woeful. Just look at the papers in the last half century and weep. Consider the political process which in democracies at least, tends to mirror the voters; and lament. Look at what are the mere machinations of mastery on the part of crooked philosophers, distorted or disturbed arrogancies walking as men, dictators and deceivers, who rule and demand and harass and torture and die, and go to their just reward: look, I say, at totalitarian rule and its ilk. Weep the more.
What pollution of personality, what pathology of soul, what withering of wit, what encumbrances through education amiss, of the coming generation, what abuse of substances, drunkenness, druggedness, donkey-braying: what new things mere variations on an unoriginal theme, that of sin, there are*1!
Who could be bothered, not to give money without work, power without glory, thrust without understanding, as is so often done by do-gooders who do not know what goodness is: for that could be done, to the utmost but without eventual effect to the point for mankind. Yet who could bring depth of life and strength of being to bear, to give life anew to such creations as these, degraded, rather than discard them ? Who could not only temper the tragedies a little, but remove their deadly dynamic, which drives them, like a hustling wolf, the sheep ? as in Romans 7, even in a relatively commendable case, but what of Isaiah 59's listing!
Or again, what are they like, the deluded ? Is it like Boeing jets, giving trips around the bay, objects often derisible if not contemptible, living ledgers of loss!
This is in no slightest degree to profane the excellencies which remain in man, but they are foiled, fouled, thrusting themselves upwards in a tornado, with many wondering at the wear on the wings, and the broken bones, while pouring out folly about God and wondering about oil in the Gulf of Mexico, slaughtering as a program, and wondering why the USSR disappeared after so short a rule, unruly, ruling in dismal guilt and confusing it with gilt, while callowly congratulating themselves as an empire, hideous in cruelty, on the temporary, passing power of their ignorance. Examples might be multiplied but the lesson is singular. They are found not only in the imperial regimes, but little ones, in groups, giants of commerce, halls of academia, in the lusts of individual hearts.
Do they not mock at wisdom, enslaved in heart, while at liberty in construction, they become through misuse of mind and will and heart, like airplanes trailing clouds of smoke. They appear increasingly over time as scenes of disaster, with the hostess assuring the 'passengers' of a safe landing, as if to complete the mockery of life. Sin abounds among the mighty, seeking, ever seeking new vassals.
There are many, but a very small percentage is recovered.
those who have been moved to choose Christ,
because liberated by His own power to do so,
enabled by His foreknowledge which knows aright all things,
and given freely these three things amidst the multitude of others:
not only the water that thrusts away with power
the oil that spurts from the engine,
but the re-crafting which rebores the piston structure, or re-adjusts the jet,
with the oversight which re-adjusts all the computers
and acts directly on the pilot,
till he understands what and why he is flying, and, incidentally to what destination.
As salt, they are savoury; but many are they who are 'salt' but without savour.
Let us then ask again: with such,
WOULD GOD BOTHER ? Yes He would, and we know this because HE DID! (Galatians 3:13).
"Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law,
having become a curse for us ..."
That is through His hanging on the cross, dying, the just for the unjust to bring us to God (I Peter 3:18), so that immortally breached death, that baleful breath which fouled man's hope; and it achieved this through His life indomitable, His purity unfathomable, with a love past the thirst of all mere passion, in the beauties of holiness.
That curse, which He took like the drilling of 8 machine-guns from a Spitfire in World War II, smashing to smithereens what stood in their way: it was this that He overcame. Indeed ...
THAT CURSE, CAUSELESS DID NOT COME!
It was a curse by transfer, as if one pilot had flown purposefully and sacrificially into the line of fire from the enemy plane, to ensure that its fire reached it in its intervention, thus saving the other. So did Christ act; yet not for one only, but for all who receive Him as He is, in what He did.
"so that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
The law was an implement to underline the reality of sin (Romans 7:13-14), and to exhibit the depths from which man had to come, and the inevitable need to be regenerated altogether before he could fly aright, or even be at home in the air, that is, in the kingdom of heaven (Philippians 3:20-ff.), and live for ever as persons look to do. This looking for eternal life is with good reason; for this is the matrix from which they are made, in the image of God. Gentiles were never put under the Mosaic law; but it still exhibited what was true for the Jew and you, of whatever race or complexion you may be. It showed "the exceeding sinfulness of sin," as Paul notes, whoever the sinner on this earth may be. From that sin, Christ's curse redeems; but on one condition.
God absolutely refuses to use force in spiritual matters, as you see in His repeated laments (Luke 19:42ff., Matthew 23:37ff., Isaiah 48:16ff., through Jeremiah as in 9:1ff., even for Moab, as in Jeremiah 48, even for any of the wicked, as in Ezekiel 33:11). And why do these laments of love arise ? It is the result of His not doing so, using neither force nor guile, but appeal that is real, and spiritual power from the Spirit of Truth, which investigates, knows and acts. Hence also, Christ equally absolutely refused to be protected by mere force when He Himself went as a sacrifice on account of sin (Matthew 26:52ff.); and He characterised His kingdom in this way (John 18:36).
When judgment comes, it is too late, in the nature of the case, for such restraint to be further shown; for then it is no longer the matter of appeal, and exhortation, information and yearning, but that for which the appeal was made, that some one should bid begone to sin, come to the Saviour, and call upon the name of the resurrected and living Lord, for salvation (John 10:9, Acts 2:21).
But judgment at length comes, like the darkness following the day, in which its deeds may be assessed.
By then, non-force has had its day, and the issue is no longer where you may go in destiny, but the getting there! God has not abdicated (Acme ... Ch. 8); but He has adjured us to realise that we are responsible (John 3:19,36), accountable; for though many may be spurting oil from their engines as we fly, in disrepair spiritually, and out of spiritual control, yet in HIS knowledge all are fully penetrated, and where the will of each goes is in His knowledge, more than in our own, a matter of being chosen or chidden as the case may be. The end in enduring death, through sinful pollution of the mind and heart, or the end of death, that is the question. There is no escape. BEING PERSONAL IS RESPONSIBLE.
Indeed, there is no excuse (as Christ declared - John 15:22) when seeing the Lord's cursedness upon Himself, freely taken, as planned and consummated, there is nevertheless in the heart and mind and soul, a preference for something, anything ... ELSE!
The curse causeless will not come. This world is accursed (Genesis 3, Romans 2-3, 5, 8), and yet for all that, not so that its brilliance is dulled altogether: for beauties galore in sheer majesty remain, and this not only in nature, but in nurture, in the hearts of many of the redeemed, those who know the Lord and not merely mouth Him. In fact, man is ruined, yet not so that his redemption is out of GOD'S depth; though it be out of his own.
What sort of a curse is the accursedness which disrelishes even, fatally and finally, the salvation which that transfer of guilt offers, rejecting the privilege, disdaining or disregarding the prize of personal life in the Lord, as fitting for man as created!
How cursed can you get!
|If you deserve eternal severance from the God of glory,|
|that is a cursed condition;
|but if you reject the rejection of that curse in mercy|
|on account of the work of another
(II Corinthians 5:17-21),
|even the Lord of glory Himself incarnate for just such a mission,|
|by Him who became man that we might become children of God,|
|as is the lovely kindness of our initial construction,
|what then ?|
How great a curse is that which in its heart is the house that refuses the fire brigade, if it could, denounces, despises or disregards water and becomes quite delirious in its ashes, lusting for life's loss!
The curse causeless will not come.
NOTHING CAUSELESS COMES
"And the LORD said to Satan,
Have you considered My servant Job,
that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man,
one who fears God, and eschews evil?
and still he holds fast his integrity,
although you moved Me against him,
to destroy him without cause."
Job found at last that there was indeed GOOD cause for what happened, and was blessed in the end. (For Job, see TRIALS, TESTS and TRIUMPHS in TEMPTATION.)
The concept of CAUSE, reason for action is strong in man; and although the cynical distillates of rushed rebellion often love headily to imagine otherwise, God does not act without cause. After all, as Creator, He is the inventor of the whole terrestrial causal system on which much depends, that on which working science is forced to formulate (as distinct from the holiday of scientific method in which many scientists seek or at least love, in intoxicated follies, to assail religion and truth, as in organic evolution). He is also in charge of His creation, though because of liberty, there are fashions and kinds in this supervision.
Thus as in Amos 4, when a people become so fascinated with the obliteration of the direct and personal, biblical knowledge of God, which in His presentation was then leading on to the cross of Christ (Isaiah 53), taking the curse for those who so receive Him as He is, there may be revolt. In the Gospel, there are numbers of affronts to the 'dignity' and stability of man, when puffed up with inane pretence and pretension, he extends his own foolishness past the rambunctious to the rumbustious. Indeed, God can act in ways which set the prognosticators at odds, wondering what will happen next.
for His part delights to expose the sophisticated
twaddle of those who lord it over realities they do not even understand, so that
in their multiplied failures, their merely false efforts at leadership of the human
race, they can be thwarted, aborted or at least rendered ludicrous. You see that
in Isaiah 44:24ff., in this way:
"Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and He who formed you from the womb,
'I am the LORD
who makes all things:
who stretches forth the heavens alone;
who spreads abroad the earth by Myself;
|who frustrates the tokens of the liars, and makes diviners mad;
who turns wise men backward, and makes their knowledge foolish;
who confirms the word of His servant, and performs the counsel of his messengers;
who says to Jerusalem,
You will be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah,
You shall be built, and I will raise up their decayed places:
who says to the deep,
Be dry, and I will dry up your rivers:
who says of Cyrus,
He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure:
even saying to Jerusalem,
You will be built; and to the temple,
Your foundation shall be laid.' "
HISTORY COMES WITHOUT PAUSE
But what do you find in this passage of Isaiah 44, cited above ?
Here you see the creation, astronomical and terrestrial, the power of that sole Creator to intervene in the works of free-willing man, He being in entire control, able as in the Egyptian saga, to make kings look foolish, and the wise, in their vaunted powers, ignoramuses (cf. I Cor. 1, Isaiah 29:13-14). These strategies and determinations, so abundantly fulfilled in so many cases of philosophy and seduced political systems for so long in so many, are a part of His instruction to man, already in possession of His word in the book, the Bible. These are practical demonstrations to assist, exposing fraud and not diminishing at all, the insistence on His word.
These are practical demonstrations to assist, exposing fraud and not diminishing at all, the insistence on His word. It incites to faith, to accede to blessing, to remove dross from the mind and to find its due site in the sight of the loving God of creation and redemption. If so many for so long in so much have such rancour, cursing themselves with the curse in the very sight of the blessing, what is this ?
It is rather like some great aircraft firm, like Boeing, having an argument with a child of 5 years, in the field of differential calculus, in this, that the disparity of knowledge is so great. Thus the sheer effrontery of misled man in his captious cups of self-assertion, is in need of exposure, even if out of kindness!
Instead of merely resting in this series of sanctions against riot, the Lord acts positively as well. Indeed, so positive is His action and choice, that He determined that even for a city as lush in evil as Jerusalem, then soon to be destroyed, there would be a rebuilding. Thus in Jeremiah 51:3-4, where the Lord having forecast the devastating slaughter to come in judgment on Babylon, when its power is done, you find His dramatic comforts to Jerusalem, soon to be destroyed, with these words:
by his God, the Lord of hosts,
though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel."
Instead of merely resting in this series of sanctions against riot, the Lord acts positively as well. Indeed, so positive is His action and choice, that He has determined that even for a city as lush in evil as Jerusalem, before long, at that time, to be destroyed, there is to be a rebuilding. This you see in Jeremiah 51:3-4, where the Lord forecasts the devastating slaughter to come in judgment on Babylon, when its day of power is done, comforting Jerusalem, about to be destroyed, with these words:
"For Israel is not forsaken nor Judah,
By his God, the Lord of hosts,
Though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel."
Light follows darkness in this mercy.
As we have just seen, the further to speak to the distorting minds of many, the Lord adds the name of the coming ruler, after the destroying, rampaging Babylon has done its dreadful but ordained work (Isaiah 13), namely Cyrus. More about his life and career follows in the next Chapter (Isaiah 45) as we see God prospering this same ruler, appointed for the restoration of Israel to its own land.
The point is this, the destruction of the city, causeless, does not come. But then, its rebuilding causeless does not come, either; for God has not only determined that this is to be so, and anyone who can may seek to contradict it, but so arranged history that it too will not be contradict Him, as in fact it did not; for the city and the temple WERE first destroyed in judgment and then rebuilt in mercy.
It WAS mercy, and when God shows mercy, the diligent fails in his debased devices, and God prevails! It is just the same in this our generation, for God has determined on mercy to Israel in the end as in Zechariah 12-14, Micah 7 and Psalm ;72, Romans 11, Isaiah 11 through to the end, and nothing any can do will alter this His speech, whether it be theological manipulation (cf. SMR Appendix A), military intimidation, or lustful hate, as from Iran.
In particularisation of the program, He gives in His word (Isaiah 13:17, cf. Daniel 8:16ff.), the name of the power to be used in their deliverance. In that day, He so used the Medes and the Persians, who would in fact initiate with authority, that very rebuilding of Jerusalem which He had promised. Here, in addition, let it be stressed, it is even the name of that particular Ruler, confirmed in the Cyrus cylinder archeologically, who would do it. Moreover, the manner of his coming to power likewise predicted, as seen in Isaiah 45. As foretold, so it was.
This sort of knowledge is induplicable (cf. Isaiah 44, Daniel 2:27-28, Isaiah 14:27, 41:21ff., 48:6-15), and becomes a signature of the Lord, as was the death date for the Lord, through Daniel 9 (cf. Christ the Citadel Ch. 2).
Thus whether it be the weather as in Amos 4, or the kingdoms or the false predictions of idolatrous humanists, secularists or seduced pseudo-prophets, they have their 'go' and what God says is still what goes.
Nothing causeless comes, universe, or powers of thought in man, or the power of intellectual formulation in man to find the precise parallel, the mirror image for the creation, as its laws and workings, modes and manners, come into that very domain which man's mind can AS mind, construct. In the mind of man, he can see in terms of laws of this kind or that, modes and procedures alignable to understanding, conceivable to ideational construction, concepts captured, the force of thought. But how could it be captured unless it were there in just such a reality and moulded in just such a format! It is mindless not to mind the mind of God, or the sphere of His operations (Psalm 53:1). Minds mind minds. Creation causeless did not come.
Then man can see for himself, if he will, in law and construction, brilliant, laid out, organised, elements of the working of God's mind, as He made it all and then stopped, leaving it all, now in full working order. It is always beyond man, always beckoning, always coming in, becoming availability as man progresses in knowledge, nearer and nearer to comprehension, always having comprehensibility, in principle, as tireless divine workings are discovered and aptly appreciated, at least by some. God made both the creation by thought and man for catching it. Minds mind minds. Creation causeless does not come.
If others cannot stand to see their own minds outdistanced, preceded, thinking that minds causeless in mankind can come, and spirits to deploy them, then their magical preconception and misconstruction is progressively made into a mockery, just as God did to preceding generations of the bemused, the uplifted and the ungodly, as in Isaiah 44:24ff..
The curse, even the quasi-comedy, the exposure of fraud, it comes from the Lord as He simply continues with His program, policy and determination, knowing in love the liberties' outcome and input, assessing all things with knowledge, and bringing creation to its intended consummation, both that which is for good, and for evil.
As to that evil, one may rest in joy to consider this, that in the end it is to be DETACHED. As man detached from God is futile, so evil detached from good, after the trial of millenia, and the mystery of divine mercy in its glorious scope and rich oversight, drawing, drawing what is foreknown so that in truth it may be saved, leaves the long sought kingdom of heaven without adulteration. The predicted fires for chaff and granary for grain coming into operation, divide what was divided, the Lord appointing all where it belongs. Small wonder we have the songs of the regenerate in Revelation 5, at the action of the Lamb, in at last bringing all history to its pure and glorious conclusion, these giving worship for ever to the Lord and the Lamb! (Revelation 5:13).
Meanwhile, it is true, and immensely significant indeed is this truth, just as man is not valid if detached, so when he abhors re-attachment to God, the curse causeless does not come; and the removal by his own desire, of personal reality and function, by divorce from its NECESSARY base, the Lord Himself, without whom it is not fully functional: it is this which becomes the lot of declining man.
Thus they come, in masses of rejection-slip devotees, fortified in their renegacy from righteousness, worshipping man or the dreamy mutations from his mind, false gods, fallen visions, partial insights, crude guesses, not God. As with the Jews of Moses' day, as forecast for many, they come to worship what is quite simply, NOT GOD (Deuteronomy 32:19-21). This is not some subjective privacy of a discretionary nature any more than is its public broadcast a way to legitimising it: it is the utter and ultimate denial of life, for this which is rejected, is from the hand and heart and mind of God.
What is it like ? an airplane, declining, circling, looking to land, afraid to land, swept up into the Rocky Mountains, thrusting near to glaciers, without an aerodrome, without hope, lost and refusing all beacon, every message, radioed from the Word of God.
But to what might be compared this salvation by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, appointed in counsel, acquitting His sublime work to perfection, which is the divine expressway of security, from a fallen world ? It is like an aerodrome of beauty, settled in peace where the way is secure, the Control Tower in which the Saviour operates, calling the planes home, that then in His name, being first secured and known, they might fly under instruction, flights of wisdom and help, and bring glory to His name, without whom the race is lost at its leisure, but this in a time which shortens by the day. Indeed, in the very Chapter of Isaiah following that starting to announce the deliverance for ancient Israel through Cyrus, not only is there this narrower provision for ancient Jerusalem, but it proceeds to speak to the very limits of the earth, to all mankind, throughout all the earth, to you and to me.
What does it say ? This:
"Look" to Me, and be saved,
All you ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
I have sworn by Myself:
The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness,
And shall not return,
That to Me every knee shall bow,
Every tongue shall take an oath,
He shall say,
Surely in the LORD I have righteousness and strength.
To Him men shall come,
And all shall be s\ashamed,
Who are incensed against Him..."
How 'in the Lord' does the believer in Him have righteousness ?
Here indeed is just that bearing of guilt shown in detail in Isaiah 52-53, and here is the way to that fulfilment, "By His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many," and what is that knowledge ? It is not only His mission and His deity from eternity, for it is stated to be something very precise. It is this, as immediately explained in the text of Isaiah 53:11: "For He shall bear their iniquities."
Small wonder the prophet is moved to ask in 53:1, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT ? If you do not take it, it is like a missed train, so near, so convenient, so needed; but it is gone. When the cloud of transgressions is once removed, in redemption, the purity of divine righteousness brings justification to may, not for what they have done, but in what He is and has done for them. If guilt is transferred to Him, then righteousness to us who believe, in which we stand.
Thus we find in Isaiah 45:25, that those to whom this blessing is accorded, who believe, "will be justified and will glory!" How not ? No wonder, then, that in Isaiah 24:14ff., we learn that just as the Saviour would say, "I am ruined!" (cf. Isaiah 50, 52:13ff.), and speak of 'treacherous dealers' as in Psalm 69, 109, so for those given cause in Him to rejoice, it is this:
"They shall lift up the voice, they shall sing,
For the majesty of the Lord.
They shall cry aloud from the sea,
Therefore glorify the Lord in the dawning light,
The name of the Lord God of Israel in the coastlands of the sea.
From the ends of the earth we have heard songs:
'Glory to the Righteous!' "
What a righteousness is this which allows men to be justified in its reception - as in John 5:24, II Corinthians 5:17-20!
The love has been long, the provision powerful, the appeal enormous: many have been the speakers sent with the Gospel of grace and divine intervention. Few have been those saved as a percentage; yet their numbers mount as we see in fulfilment in Revelation 7, in a book where ultimate outcomes sometimes are made to appear, as when one lifts one's eyes to the hills and can skip over the nearer ones to some last triumphant peak beyond.
And will the nations indeed rage as in Psalm 2, and will they ignore truth, these 'judges' of the earth with their crews and false prophets, and storm against the Lord as they flay the faithful and increase their delusive means of aggression against them ? Yes they will, till as in Revelation 19:19 it becomes formal and final, with results not only forecast, but forecastable, for among those who might be Almighty, in their own minds, there is only One who IS!
BLESSING COMES WITH GOOD CAUSE
but its ground is not found within the bosom of man
Such is the rationale of the ridicule to which so many nations might divinely be subjected, as were some in times past such as Babylon and Nineveh, in its Assyrian drome (cf. Isaiah 37ff., Jeremiah 50-51); and their end, if sure, is nevertheless an affliction, a sadness for the Lord, as pointed out earlier. Often we find, He weeps and laments, and yet does not sacrifice reality for a universal ruin, Instead, He sent His Son to redeem such as are His and therefore come to Him. Thus does He rescue many from their intolerable plight. The beauty of it is this: Just as the curse causeless does not come, neither does salvation come without cause.
Indeed, the lament of God is shown in practical terms in the woe of Christ on the Cross, bearing the sin which severs fellowship, so that He cried out,
"My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me!"
as Psalm 22 a thousand years before, predicted He would say; and Isaiah 59:2 with 53:5, helps us to see why.
The divine foreknowledge, whether of this or anything else, does not dull the pain, or reduce the reality when the time comes. As with a book one has read several times before, if it be good, deep and well-written, it can elicit the same or similar pangs when one comes to the grievous passage, the sad tragedy. In fact, recently, I did not quite finish one book since I did not wish to find an odious outcome. Such is the ability of emotion to rove. Such was the agony on the cross, though long foreknown. It is always something impactive to find the actual in oneself when the time comes, however well one understood and even saw the certainty of a thing, beforehand.
God is real and practical, and time does not bleach the colour of His beauty or the intensity of His feeling as you see in so many scriptures on so many topics, when He foretells what is to be, or as in the Book of Lamentations, enables an inspired prophet to express the lamentation. Truth does not vary or wobble; and God knows it and IS it. His word is its exhibition, and His Son is its incarnation (John 14:6), just as before that, the Lord in heaven (as in Isaiah 48:16ff.), already knew what would be for Himself, as the One to be sent (Isaiah 50, 52-53).
Truth does not vary or wobble; and God knows it and IS it. His word is its exhibition, and His Son is its incarnation (John 14:6), just as before that, the Lord in heaven (as in Isaiah 48:16ff.), already knew what would be for Himself, as the One to be sent (Isaiah 50, 52-53).
Blessing causeless does not come. Here we must be careful. It is MERELY GRATUITOUS for any one of us to receive specific divine blessing, since hell is our just desert without redemption; but God does in mercy bring that redemption into sight, ready to pardon, to act honourably and graciously. from the heart (Isaiah 55). Then His blessings are better than dew on the mown grass, Spring breezes and mountain-scapes erupting into the atmosphere, without a sound, a sight spectacular. He may bless with the awakening of a stout heart set against Him, in the bleaching of strong colours of spiritual sedition, with restoration and return. From Him is the actualisation of a potential long lost for many; and He blesses above all, and has blessed, in PROVIDING the free way home to all of this, in the plan of salvation of infinite blessing toward all (cf. Romans 5:12-20), waiting to be picked up.
The CAUSE of the blessing lies in His heart, so that He should so desire. Therefore, in His action in history, in long preparation and inculcation, He prepared mankind for His coming, as in His direct entrance into history, culminating in in the first and final incarnation in Jesus Christ, dated, described in advance, inscribed in the Bible, prescribed for salvation. It rests in the conquest of the cross, that complete and final work of redemption (Hebrews 9:12-10:14), and the triumph of the resurrection. He came ONCE, He died ONCE, He rose ONCE and He brought forth completed redemption ONCE, and goes no farther. Though history stretch into the foothills of the end and then comes to its climax, there is no other outcome or way or deliverance but this.
CAUSTIC WORDS BRING COMFORT
FROM THIS SPIRITUAL SURGEON
The blessing accordingly lies both in His heart and in His corresponding action, for what is in HIS lips is ALSO in His heart, and in forbearance that man did not first perish, as he almost did in the world-wide flood. This has left its mark on this earth like the tooth-prints around the neck of a deer which escaped a lion, by a mere margin*2. Moreover, He has left His note, in II Peter 3, that as the culmination of history as a door to judgment comes, the false prophets and blighted hearts among men will decry this fact, and so they do. They cannot stand even such a vast judgment in the past, lest they lose heart and their minds waver and they become vulnerable to grace, and be saved. Now as then, they have closed their eyes (Matthew 13:14ff., cf. Isaiah 6); but as to God, His are ever open, He does not sleep (Psalm 11, 121:4).
HE has done all things well. Many among men can see the judgments now increasing in tempo and scope, and this much is clear as they either curse God or seek to replace Him who made them with the thoughts, awry and askew, of their own hearts.
What they do NOT see, because they WILL not see, because their eyes they have closed, is this, that their own iniquities are ABOUNDING as Christ said would be the case (Matthew 24:12), for disorder will become an ultimate epidemic, slaughter will become a pastime (Revelation 6) and killing an occupation among men. The psyche increasingly will become a sink for every evil thing, while false prophets, bearing the devil's standard, will vie for supremacy, delusion like a deluge, becoming almost a norm.
In all this, the forbearance of the Lord is vast as is His patience (II Peter 3:9), and His saints do well to copy this, as they cope; for the hinges of history are turning, and the door of opportunity is swinging shut. The virgins with their lamps are sleeping (Matthew 25:1ff.), the flame dead, while some still remain, endued with grace, governed by God, regenerate among the degenerate. Their state is safe, their sufferings sure (II Timothy 3:12) , their deliverance coming apace.
The blessing causeless does not come, since God has prepared and produced and consummated the application of this cause in the cross and resurrection, in the sealing and protection of the souls of His saints, for whom grace is not a fine addition to their virtues, but the very basis of their being able to live at all (Ephesians 2). Indeed, its active basis in the heart and work of Christ, is not the option for the good, but the rescue of His grace, foreknown before all time, but rushed like an ambulance for the soul, WITHIN time; and NOW is the time for this salvation (II Corinthians 6). Eternity is a long stretch for reflection, one way or the other...
Many may prefer to pick at it; but this salvation is inviolable (Ephesians 1:1-1, II Timothy 1:1-9), though mesmeric substitutes are often crafted by foxes (cf. II Corinthians 11, Galatians 1), or by wolves (cf. Acts 20:28-29). The menagerie of mimicry can make its cry like a cooing, and its yapping like ornate speech.
It is He who calls them, in Acts 20, by the title "savage wolves", and the life they attack is vulnerable, unless it is the Lord's own child that is in view, when as came to Stephen (Acts 7), he may die in glorious testimony; but for all that, not a hair of the spiritual head is harmed. Perhaps the worst of wolves is the wolf in sheep's clothing, odious ornament to many seduced churches (Matthew 7:15 cf. 24:24), a fact and warning from Christ, of which many refuse to beware. The man or woman of God, like a mongoose, should attack the wolf become snake, the serpentine foe, and not as if a bird, become fascinated with its sly fictions and false amours. Don't serve lambs to wolves, keeping time with the hypnotic Satanic melody.
There is a cause for everything (cf. Causes). Sometimes, indeed, it is the withdrawal of active intervention (cf. Hosea 5:15) which can be caused by so acute a rebelliousness, so sustained an indifference on the part of man, that his best tutor is the divine absence, in any apparent sense! It is then as in Psalm 1:5, and the chaff-character of man without God can be allowed to manifest itself, as if man might then realise and understand and seek the Lord with ALL of his heart, and finding Him freely available through redemption, repent and find life eternal.
The word of God from Paul as in II Timothy sets perspective as the jaws of history, nearing the end of the Age, bring much to confusion, while above all, over all, in transcendent and DECLARED splendour and truth, the clarity of heaven does not alter. Bold is added.
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come;
for men shall be lovers of their own selves,
covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers,
disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
without natural affection,
trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce,
despisers of those that are good,
traitors, heady, highminded,
lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
having a form of godliness, but denying its power:
from such turn away.
"For of this sort are they which creep into houses,
and lead captive silly women laden with sins,
led away with various lusts,
ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses,
so do these also resist the truth:
men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
But they shall proceed no further:
for their folly shall be manifest to all men, as theirs also was.
"But you have fully known my doctrine, manner of life,
purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra;
what persecutions I endured:
but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
"Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution
"But evil men and seducers shall grow worse and worse,
deceiving, and being deceived. But continue in the things
which you hast learned and have been assured of,
knowing of whom you hast learned them;
and that from a child you hast known the holy scriptures,
which are able to make you wise to salvation
through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished for all good works.
"I charge you therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ,
who will judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:
"Preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
"For the time will come
when they will not endure sound doctrine;
but after their own lusts they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
and they will turn away their ears from the truth,
and will be turned to fables.
"But watch in all things,
endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist,
make full proof of your ministry.
For I am now ready to be offered,
and the time of my departure is at hand.
"I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith.
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day:
and not to me only, but to all those who have loved His appearing."
The truth through all of this exercise remains: "Draw near to God and HE will draw near to you," (James 4:1-8).
He has paid the price and is able to make it fully applicable to you: let there be no cause for separation from Him , who has come so near, even to this earth, even to display His deity, His love, His grace: and rejoice! Let His compassion call to greater and better things for Him.
It is HE alone who is the final Shepherd who, replacing all the preliminaries, showing both His power and His wisdom, pays for the difference between holiness and foulness with His own life, and ransoming those now redeemed, gives them the daily privilege of knowing Him, while granting grace to help in time of need, till the end comes. Praise God for that day which looms like dawn after a long and violent night, in peace. It is God's own peace which now beginning in the heart, then mounts to eternity in the very resurrection from the dead. It is He who is the cause both of our generation, and through faith, of our regeneration: likewise of devastation to the derelict in faith. It is He who has come, and must be met.
See for example, SMR Chs. 3 and 8 and compare by contrast with Ch. 5.
See News 1.