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ONE HAS WON
THE GLORY OF GOD IS SO PROFOUND
THAT IT SHOULD BE CONTEMPLATED
with Avid Eye and Delighted Heart
Deuteronomy 6:4, Psalm 27:4, Hebrews 9:12, 10:14, Acts 4:12
THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE
"The Lord our God , the Lord is one!" says the Lord to Israel through Moses, as in Deuteronomy 6:4.
He is not a multiplicity, nor is deity a matter of gods, beings such as appear in the Greek myths, going through human routines of change, error and procreation. It is not a matter of projection from nature, as in the gods of ancient Egypt, whether considerations of rivers or frogs or flies, or beings enshrining this or that natural process*1 ; nor are they to be procured through roving creations from the mind of man or his enterprises, where imagination throws in its hand.
The Lord God is not obscure, as if He were good and bad, wise and foolish, combining in himself all the contradictions which come from different limited beings and gifts, and their very different manners of being used.
He is no conglomerate of what we see about us, a massif of contradictions, emptiness of 'roaring silence' or a vitamising of ideas to fit together, so made that that do not cohere and so need to become 'emptiness'. Nor is He another name for all that is, a conceptual presence which appeases the religious but negates His being. From its founder's position, Buddhism is rightly called atheism while Hinduism similarly lacks the Creator, that things might be, without whom as source and basis, you have simply a gift from nothing (SMR pp. 996-1026). Everything did not come from nothing, which has neither future nor any being nor any power; and He is not it! Ignoring the requirements of logic requires abdication from all argument, and becomes mere imagination. All the religions of the earth fail in this, that they invent their god or gods, from the mind of man. If any god or entity in mind as base for all, ground, or explanation is forever talked about, but never definably acts, in a chaotic world, how could I believe in it ? Since God the Creator and Saviour has given attestation of having called the universe into being, and given man a fix for his dysfunction, how could I disbelieve!
Now if someone told me that he had invented the most magnificent masterpiece of space-craft, which could in three days reach the stars through an innovative understanding of the natural universe, the FIRST thing that would impress me would be his capacity to DO SO. Similarly if any tells me of this god and that, the first question is, What are the performance criteria of this god of yours, or these gods ? Can they create worlds ? or are they the basis for what now exists ? can they predict their own actions ? have they an answer for the contradictions and plight of man their creation ? Do they meet the logical and human situations and identity themselves each one, with inescapable certainty ?
Does ACTION in their own name distinguish them clearly ? or let us ask, Does it perform in specifying itself and doing what it says in such a style that only a god could do it ? Let it be specified and verified! It is quite simple, this thing, and by no means to be treated with slackness of mind because it is so far beyond us in power and creativity. ONLY in the words of the Bible, and ALTOGETHER in its Messiah, specified in it as in history, as Jesus Christ: only there do we find performance criteria of divine status, transcending nature.
Only there do there appear such personal power and qualities through a human being, delivering on divine dynamic over nature. Only there does the power behind the Exodus find itself with human face and place, in that new exodus from sin and guilt, provided by Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, who of His time before Abraham, can say, "Before Abraham was, I am!" John 8:58).
There are no competitors at this level*2. Indeed, as He said, "I and My Father are one!" and they sought to stone Him, who did the works, by their sheer muddle and evil (John 10:30). But just as they are one, Father and Christ, Speaker and Spoken, Sender and Sent as Messiah, from all eternity, Christ having had glory with His Father before the world was (John 17), and doing at all times what pleases Him (John 8:29), the Father always hearing Him so that He acts, though incarnate as man, with confidence (John 11:42): so there is an infinite affinity.
He wants what the Father wants, so seeks for it, and in love they share without darkness between them, in the all suffusing light that God is. Thus while ONLY TO GOD will every knee bow, He being only Saviour (Isaiah 43:10-11), it is yet to Christ they will bow (Isaiah 45:22-23, Philippians 2:1-2,8,10), He who came as man, being Saviour (Acts 4:11-12, Isaiah 53), and actually providing the saving payment of redemption.
"The Lord our God, the Lord is one!" Nor is this all. While He is not many, being source to much, like an inventor, architect or writer of much about many things, and declares Himself, one of the things He declares is this, that His existence is obvious, manifest (Romans 1:17ff.). So it is: we NEVER see information being so much as produced for things not before extant in type, except by intelligence.
We NEVER see a new type (kind*3 is the biblical word, in context at a large category level) of creature being engendered before our eyes. Nor do we meet the means operative to create, collate and correlate: just the results! Adjustments and adaptations are now being seen to relate to many remarkable features in the DNA, and not least the once wrongly named 'junk' DNA; but while there are available resources for amazing adaptations, by rule and by method, yet none appear at all for innovation entirely. This action is never found in fossils, seen in laboratory or given meaning in logic. WORK is needed for that.
THIS WORK, we cannot do, nature never reveals, nor does paleontological litter disclose such slow formations. The simplest cell is likened*4 to a city. Indeed, one cheek cell, we learn, can have 100 trillion atoms coherent in staggering complexity producing not only participation in cheeks, to make them as one, but power to replace themselves by internally resident plan, in the DNA.
The One who did this is called God. Why one ? To be sure, He is revealed in the Bible as being ONE in Being, THREE in persons. One searches all things (the Spirit - our spirit searches our thoughts and ideas and resolves within us, and we are in His image, so being able to relate as persons). From One comes expression and in One IS that expression, the Word of God.
Thus God expresses Himself (as we do), searches within (as we do), and has His own expression (as authors do, and others in their own specialised modes). While we have these powers, and they are parts of our being, He has them as PERSONS, and they comprise God in terms of an infinite intimacy, each one with the other.
It is not difficult: aircraft ? one. Engines ? several. Flight mode ? wings and so forth. You specify what you are concerned to know about anything, or anyone; and according to what interests you, so you get the number, name and so on. With God, there is as to BEING, just one. If it were otherwise, you would need a cause for the system by which they relate. There are, as to persons, three. As to mode of comprising God, they have infinite intimacy and other features of relationship as He exhibits.
This is how it is. If someone had told me about mankind (and I were not myself one of them), I would, admittedly, find it rather hard to believe in mankind. Could they really exist ? beings that can be angelic and devilish, who can summon their own minds and find in them the things they seek, roving with their internal spirits throughout the territory of their beings and summarising, stirring, stimulating, at will, who can be stopped by a knife in a minute, or write works that can be used with delight for millenia, what are these! Beings like that!
However, when you are a man or woman, or even a child, you begin to realise that things are, that wonders exist, that works are done at the level of the utmost marvel, and that you have to LEARN what these are and may even rejoice in them, and of course, in their Maker. Some works made us up, to be what we are. Some help us to continue on., not as pretended supermen, but as a new creation (John 3).
The Lord our God is ONE!
Let us learn and find in Him, love both within and for us, all according to His purity and peace; for this is how it is, He is where to go, and He even shows the way, on earth demarcating it with blood-reddened tracks.
Indeed, if He were not as to Persons, more than one, then He would have a lot to learn when He made man or such beings, man with whom He often speaks, has spoken and deals; for He would have had nothing internal n the social domain, as Professor Alan Killen has pointed out. Creation expresses him, in different elements, some chiding, some by now a matter of curse (and HOW brilliant is the mosquito in precise, surgical equipment for that purpose*5! to take but one example).
The Lord our God is ONE in THREE PERSONS. That is how it is.
WORD OF GOD IS ONE PERSON, THE ONLY SAVIOUR
and the SPIRIT OF GOD IS ONE
ONE of these Persons has intervened in the mess to which sin has brought man (who is born selfish, set for sin, immersed in failures, blighted in spirit, and while comparatively innocent at birth, is yet marred by vulnerabilities of mind, spirit and body, sometimes obvious, at times to be seen only more obviously, later). That Person is, in the Bible as in history, shown to be His Expression, or Word, who became incarnate for this world as Jesus Christ. As such, He met the most rigorous performance criteria imaginable, demonstrating the accuracy of the information and His power and character as predicted in the Old Testament, to reach us.
This involved divine power and human death, and bodily resurrection, all specified in advance, to show to all, where to test: for identity is crucial. You see that in Matthew 16, for example, when Christ asked His disciples, "But who do you say that I am ?"
The Son of God, the Messiah! Thus Hebrews 9:12 tells us this concerning Him. There had been ordered by God, in ancient times, as expression both of our sinfulness and of His salvation, the institution of animal sacrifices. These showed the point that death is the result of our own errors, and not in some mere figurative fashion; and that forgiveness is found in the Father through this admission of guilt and reception of blood as the index of what it has led to; just as it also revealed God's willingness to regard this in our place, as a cover. Hebrews tells us this, concerning the ONE Saviour who came ONCE (Hebrews 9:23-28): that not by the blood of animals are we saved (that was a pictorial instalment as to method, and image), but as to the Messiah, it is by His own blood He has "obtained eternal redemption." It is not to be found elsewhere (Acts 4:12). None has provided the historical, the predictive or the fulfilment testimony. There is, once more, no competition. God has invented us and how to redeem us, before time began (cf. Ephesians 1:4).
The Son of God, the Messiah! Thus Hebrews 9:12 tells us this concerning Him. There had been ordered by God, in ancient times, as expression both of our sinfulness and of His salvation, the institution of animal sacrifices. These showed the point that death is the result of our own errors, and not in some mere figurative fashion, for the animals really died. No less it showed that forgiveness is found in the Father through this admission of guilt and reception of blood as the index of what it has led to; just as it also revealed God's willingness to regard this in our place, as a cover. Hebrews tells us this, concerning the ONE Saviour who came ONCE (Hebrews 9:23-28): that not by the blood of animals are we saved (that was a pictorial instalment as to method, and image), but as to the Messiah, it is by His own blood He has "obtained eternal redemption."
That is, the price of sin is death (Romans 6:23), so He paid this price on behalf of all who receive Him as He is, and it has an eternal warranty! It is well defined.
"There is no other name under heaven given among men by which they must be saved!" (Acts 4:12). The Lord our God is One God with one salvation through One Person, who in One action fulfilled the burden of paying the redemption price. It was, Hebrews 2 reminds us, fitting that in bringing many souls to salvation, the Saviour should Himself become man and share, without sin, in our lot, so that as a captain He could lead, bearing and sharing the travails, those whom He saved out of sin into salvation, and in salvation, to be with Him for ever (Hebrews 10:10,14, 6:19). God is like that. Those who come to Him in this way freely (cf. Romans 3:23-27, Ephesians 2:1-12, Romans 3:23-27), by this His invitation are a new creation, adopted children of God (II Corinthians 5, Ephesians 1, I John 3).
As there is One God, and One Saviour who is One of the three Persons who comprise God in their infinite intimacy, moving each one according to the overall work in this one Being, so there is ONE saving event. This is found in the cross of Calvary (though its background and basis is from eternity - Revelation 13:8), which makes the payment. Thus in Hebrews 10:14, we learn this, "by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified."
It is not repetitive as in animal sacrifices, or spirit offerings, or masses, or sacred sites, or special temple routines. It is one. This one is not a contribution with other things; it is itself the ground and basis not only of salvation, but of sanctification (Colossians 1:19-23). Further, it not only makes a contribution to this, but energises and grounds it in its entirety.
Sanctification can be very painful! Of this, ask Peter, if you could, after his spiritual foozle as in Matthew 16:22-23, when he was confronted by a determined Christ who, addressing the source of the error, told SATAN to get behind! It can involve humiliation, failure, frustration, decline of self-regard, renewal in a changing mould (always to be nearer to Christ as Captain), rebuke, and (ask Paul if you could), even some trying thing to help you keep your feet on the ground (as in II Corinthians 12:7-9). It could involve, as with Paul, journeyings often, even shipwrecks, dissensions and a growing ability to be kept stable in conflict, peaceable in turmoil, gracious in betrayal and outspoken in crisis.
BY ONE OFFERING God has provided for all this, with inbuilt guarantee (as also to be seen in Ephesians 1:11, and I Peter 1:3-8). By His Spirit (in all His people, Romans 8:9), He renews, inspires, guides, helps, comforts and gives grace (as in Romans 8:16,26, Ephesians 3:16, 6:18). He is indeed, ONE Spirit as in I Corinthians 12:13,
"For by one Spirit are we all baptised into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit."
This Spirit, which proceeds from the Father, the Son of God, His Word, sends to those who are His (John 15:26). This leads to a great desire for Him.
ONE THING TO BE DESIRED
This, as in Psalm 27:4, is to dwell in the presence of the Lord (who IS our temple*6), to enquire of Him, and to behold His glory, His beauty, His loveliness. This implies knowledge of a personal and active character, guidance, understanding, friendship, co-operation, worship, delight and discipline.
"One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in His temple."
'Beauty' may be translated, 'delightfulness'.
We have a capacity to be delighted, and it finds its source and fulfilment in Him, as in lesser degree in much that He has created. We have a need to have personal consultation with God, and millions too readily seeing psychiatrists, who may like other doctors be useful, yet should first have sought the Lord. His 'house', in 27:4, is now translated into the personal expression of abode, Jesus Christ who with the Father, in heaven, becomes the temple (Revelation 21). We must gain wisdom in principle, in practice, help and deliverance, and be set up upon the rock of His word (Matthew 7:15ff.), and of His faithfulness, never varying from this:
"God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom the world is crucified to me and I to the world."
What has it to delight or boast in, a mere creation, compared with Him who made us ? and where is the counsel and deliverance, yes and the commission that is clear and sure, but from Him who knows us and His kingdom ? and where is there such delight as in serving Him who is noble, self-sacrificial, brilliant, wise, understanding, compassionate, creative, fascinating and intriguing, without limit to His power or impurity in His person! for in His goodness there is wonder, in His truth, joy and in His joy, strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
Praise God for that One God and each ONE of the persons who comprise the deity, for that ONE Spirit and ONE Saviour with His ONE offering by which He has sanctified for ever those who come to God through Him. Let us therefore delight ourselves in Him, dwell in Him, and trust in Him utterly, doing good, feeding on His faithfulness, knowing this promise is true "He will give thee the desires of thy heart" (Psalm 37). What a Saviour, what a salvation, and what a rest is this, in the very midst of activity! (Isaiah 11:10), that is in Him..
*1 See The Plagues of Egypt.
See SMR Ch. 6, Christ Jesus: the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 8,
Repent or Perish Ch. 2 for example.
See: A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 5, News 74; The Divine Drama Ch. 10.
Dr Michael Denton in his work, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. On p.77 he notes this, that "the overwhelming of the myth has created a widespread illusion that the theory of evolution was all but proved a hundred years ago..."
As a myth is the simple attribution of a result to an inadequate cause, where special forces or powers are involved, this is one of that kind. Eliminating loss does not make profit, and nice ideas for development do not DO it. It takes work, and conceptually formulable controls and commands take language which takes mind.
The mosquito has such an array of surgical tools as stagger the imagination, and his sensors and tools jointly, as if it were some sort of medical kit, work not only with a smooth efficiency, but with a cleverness that betokens wit of a high order, not in itself, but in the directions that lie back of the formation of its staggeringly agile systematics, that make drones look clumsy!
See Revelation 21:22. See with this also, I Peter 2:4-10.