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FACT AND FANCY
Owing to the fact that we ARE persons, all of us of this human but alas often un-humane race, it is a time, as with any one son of any one father, to consider the prospects for individuals in the race, all from one, One author of all, one at a time.
Where are you, for example, planning, or hoping, or envisaging that you will be, when this mortal coil is thrust away, unless the Lord comes first, as I ardently hope He will with me; for THAT would be a day of the uttermost grandeur and glory as in I Corinthians 15:57ff., something transforming to the ways of glory, to the eternal body as in II Corinthians 5. There and at that time, is to be a vast conclave of those first from the dead, resurrected, and then of those remaining to that wonderful day, alert with wonder, He encompassing all of His people. Here is the rocket that really propels, but not to unordained portions of space (Psalm 115), in futile frenzies of faithless mankind, wasting his own resources the while, but to the restoration in heaven, the marriage of the Lamb (Revelation 19:8), the preparation for return and the work of God on this earth to fulfil all righteousness in peace as the final cadenzas works its way to consummation.
As in Matthew 25, judgment is intense, and there are but two types of inhabitant of the scene, besides the Lord, the sheep and the goats. Goats are interesting but strange; silly goat and mad goat are part of its verbal repertoire for description. The matter is two kinds: His and not His. His are judged in terms of blessing for good done; not His are judged in terms of work done. The difference lies not in partiality, for justice is impartial and He is judge: it lies in making black white, zero infinity, negative plus, and various other escapades, which not being managed, lead to confusion and baselessness and so to the restless self-radiation of desire. Destiny does not lie in magnificence of output, indifference to input, or any other feature, but in the God who in creation made man, and in judgment exposes what relies realistically on Him in redemption, and does not so lie; but lawless, instead lies down in shame.
It is entrance to the kingdom or not; it is exposure and surrender to the grace of Jesus Christ, in HIS sight and knowledge who knows all from before time; or not. Like a cricketer, you are in or out. If bowled out by unbelief, you have no place. If in, by grace, you continue. Here the continuance is most mercifully under guarantee (John 10:9,27-28), and the entry is most simple. Again, it is like a College, you are either enrolled or you are not. It is however God's College, not one made by man, however religious it may be. The Teacher is Christ, however many be on His Staff; and the great grace of this Headmaster is not in unruly commands, but in outstanding service. He knows each one.
Where would you be ? when He comes (as in Psalm 96:13, Revelation 19, Matthew 24:31ff.) ?
Where then, in the midst of all this, like some vastly organising sporting field day, with the groups converging at the speaker, as it shouts out the events and the points in view, are you envisaging you will be ? It is a serious question, a proper enquiry. You came without any instructions from you, your body came with no input from you, for you were not there to make it. It was all organised for you, in what beyond any question, and in terms of the most obvious definitional criteria, is the greatest exemplar of design*1 involving material things as well as mental, moral and spiritual, that this world offers.
There is not even any comparison; repetitively and increasingly our race utilises natural schemes and designs, exquisite pieces such as are seen in protein motors that run in our bodies. It stands in awe, except when yawning from the sleepiness of pretence, some like adolescent brat declaring to his father as he is instructed, Of course I knew that, can do that! when in fact it is a pompous pretension and nothing more.
If you reject the undying testimony that is manifest even in your own body and mind, and make magic your master, nothing your god, presumption your manual, nature its own maker, another world out of this one which requires satisfaction for what occurs, and adequate ground for what 'arises', so be it. Fancy has played the highwayman to reason, and illusion transmorphs to delusion.
Out of hand and out of head, cast reason away: this is a religious faith of some type, which slights the empirical, abuses the linguistic and concerning design, engages in a logical slide at the outset in terminological clarity*1, substituting bluster. Alas, such doctoring of evidence in thought resembles using a bull-dozer for a delicate brain operation.
When your design comes up for review, or categorisation, when your results are tweaked, your passions considered, your opportunities checked, your standing organised, as when the results are called out on a field day in sport, or reviewed, where would you expect to stand ? If not at all, you forget that being a creation (cf. The gods of naturalism have no go!), you are not able to adjust the judges, or eliminate them. You are here on presentation, with equipment and opportunities, and there ARE results. Do you think the Creator will blink at your sheer arrogance in ignoring Him ? or be afraid at your claims that He is unjust, if you make them, because you do not SEE why He should be involved ? Will the axe talk back to its wielder ? Will the offspring condemn its maker ?
Will the presentation of the greatest
exhibition of love*2 this world has ever seen
or could see, in Christ the Messiah, duly rejected, constitute a reason why you
should claim unfair treatment ? Was the cross unfair - to YOU!
Perhaps you would like to urge that God may have sent servants who might have made all the difference to you, but that they were lazy, or slack, or temporarily inebriated, or had a cold, or emphysema, or were for a short time lacking in zeal, or any other invasion of His sovereignty as if HE in His ultimacy of love and justice, were really a fumbler, had bad Staff and had to put up with it, being at wit's end ? You may proceed that thus He ruined His own plan, purpose and judgment ? Would you then make even the God from whom you have come, a ditherer, as if He were constituted from some genetic source, running down, as ours in the present time, our genome, is doing, a long time after it was first made (cf. Waiting for Wonder Appendix)! Would you seek refuge in contradiction, making the necessary source from eternity of all that is, that it might be and not a spawn of nothing, in presenting to yourself a cartoon of His greatness and glory, as if He were Himself but a creation, and your logic stalled ? But creation did not stall; it is here and you are part of it.
Verbal weaving will do nothing to make a cloth for your cover.
What is His creation shows the power in its intricate DNA symbol-significance-assemblage routines, and what He has given in the Bible, the purpose, bases established repeatedly on this site. HOW then can the God of all knowledge and power, skill in constructing even human created dependencies on Him, with their deputed skills such as to consider such matters as these, Himself lack the powers which He has made, and as innovator and creator of the entirety, fail in maintenance, as if it got all beyond Him, when it is His sole formation and information*2A, made to run, and to await judgment, according to the case, in terms of what was given. Here is someone whom He has made, who in this imaginary conversation, uses those very skills as hardware for the spiritual software, which is yet so personal as to outdistance even that, in the liberties of personality which may complain and revolt!
You need not think HE will be confused for it is infinitely beyond the lecturer, examining the juvenile papers of his students: this is not an enquirer who judges, but the unbounded, unlimited Lord over all, creator, contriver, of matter, mind, spirit and redemption. He has not failed. The testimony lashes the earth (cf. SMR, TMR).
But what of His sole, testable religious book on this earth, the Bible, instruction for vacuity, realisation for logic which insists on finding instruction is is validating in so doing ? Is His word there to be despised as by so many in their own bodies, minds and spirits, divorced from God, not living continually as in His presence in peace by His proclamation (Isaiah 52-53), through faith in His own remedy for sin ?
Is someone going to suggest that we delete Isaiah 2:22, or add to it or subtract from it, as some do, whilst it actually says this, as the AV correctly states: Cease from man whose breath is in his nostrils ? for wherein is he to be accounted of ? If you want it more modern, merely, linguistically, then: Cease from man whose breath is in his nostrils, for of what account is he ?
The point is that God will mightily shake the earth, and that the haughtiness of man will be brought low, and that God alone will be exalted in that day (Isaiah 2:17, 2:21) of judgment. Here the topic is man and God, in their relationships, the pride of man and the power and judgment of God, and where in view of this, to put your trust; and where NOT! We are certainly not in any danger of viewing with undue exaltation any man who casting away his idols, goes to hide in the rocks! That is the type mentioned here, as in derangement. It is from mankind, not some renegade refugee that we are to turn our eyes, and this from his pride and blatant, braying conceit, not from his predicaments! It is not from some particular refugee and runaway that we are to sever ourselves, for what point is there in that: nor does the text so state.
It is not "such a man," but man which is written.
It is not some man but mankind which is smitten.
Cease as the word of God continually insists, from waiting on man, mankind, his pomp, power, pretension and look to the Lord, from whom alone comes help. Why wait on rubbish in the radioactive surge as in Japan's recent invasion in earthquake of horrendous character ? Why on earth would you do that. Instead, do not wait on the powers that made the reactors, man, but on the one who made the reagent, man, the agent of his own destruction, or the redeemed and relished child of God, through faith in the Maker, in the Redemption, in the Solution, in the Saviour, Jesus the Christ. There is no hope in man (cf. Isaiah 30:16ff., 22:8-14, 40:22-25).
NO WITLESS CREATOR
HIS WORD IS CLEAR
GOD knows what He is doing, and
whether in some inept misapplication
no confusion can prevail.
He has not abdicated to something beyond His own heart and its oft stated concerns. Does it not declare ever so clearly in Psalm 15, that He does whatever He pleases in heaven and on earth ? Is this too to be adjusted in some way to mean the opposite or something merely inserted from philosophic presuppositions ? why not translate it!
It PLEASES HIM, we read in Colossians 1:19ff., that having made peace by the blood of the cross, to reconcile ALL things to Himself, yes whether they be in heaven or on earth ? Is there some kind of mental gastritis about this, some inflammation of the psyche perhaps ?
Let us be honest and straightforward about this, the word of God, as in all things.
God has the power, the will and the stated intention, the character of His own desire, and the destining modes of His choice. This is that.
That He judges what rejects remedy is crystal clear.
That He has gone as far as from heaven to earth, from glory to shame, to secure this end, is the same (Philippians 2).
That He is never One to fail, is stated often enough, directly or indirectly (cf. Zephaniah 3:6, Isaiah 44:25ff.).
That He executes His word is fundamental (Joel 2:11,Matthew 5:17-20), and this is statedly part of His faithfulness, which is basic and inexorable (Lamentations 3:23, Isaiah 11:5), so that Faithful and True is the short designation of His word as He comes to judge (Revelation 19:11).
Further, the will of man can achieve hell for him (John 3:19), even in the midst of the uninhibited sacrifice of God, taking human form in love for his welfare and deliverance; for there is an ultimate safety valve for those who would find heaven to be a hell (John 3:19); but it cannot demit the dynamic of God. Whatever He wills is what He obtains. He is never frustrated, but love mourns.
That is the part that Calvin, so right about the stringency of His sovereignty, failed to realise, making a mere papier-mâché simplification of the realities involved. It is not ONLY a majestic sovereignty, with a midget or restricted love at the outset, but ALSO a God of such heart that He WOULD NOT HAVE ONE LOST, except where only force would secure it, and only farce and fiasco would thus provide an alteration in the mind of the sought or the insurgent - like the rich young ruler whose riches stalled him, who has no heart for salvation, and never has had back to the foreknowledge of God in eternity, before sin fell, and never will have. Even sovereignty does not out-sovereign love, but expresses it. It is not beyond God, but the implement of His will.
That is its way. It never clouts into submission the object of its desire, for this is another field: that of power lust or thrust. Love is a mutual thing, and has its own parameters. Tenderness is one of them. HENCE God in Christ, weeps for Jerusalem and bemoans, and mourns for the fact that even in this, its day, it did not REALISE the things "which belong to your peace." This we see in Matthew 23:37 and Luke 19:42. Yet He still, in His own inimitable way, gets precisely what He wants, even though He suffered for it, and in longsuffering forces none and allows any, though He dig deep to find past man's fallen state, who is His own, in that blessed majesty of pity and appeal, exhortation and tenderness. Thus there is no error, nor complication with Him before whom ALL things are manifest! Love does not want imitations, flurries of enlightened self-interest, or other mobilisations of calculation. It does not seek deception but rejoices in the truth (I Corinthians 13).
It is not in the least degree hard to understand. What is much harder to comprehend is how anyone can read these things and yet (in effect) accuse God of having some mysterious latency, or unknown arena about why (on earth or in heaven, contrary to Colossians 1 for example), He chooses not to choose some persons, in some "horrible decree." Certainly Calvin is not at his best*3 here, much and in much as has been his service to the church. It is ALWAYS useless to become heroic about people, and make them into wonders. Each redeemed sinner has faults, and in this world, the perfect theologian may be found only in hope. For all that, for all peoples and in all generations, God's word rules, and corrections are always available*4. You don't have to be perfect to find them, if you search. And their perfection is resplendent, as you find if you keep to what it says, adding nothing, subtracting nothing.
It is all clear to him who understands, with whatever slips or errors; and thus zeal must never flicker! (Proverbs 8:8-9 cf. Psalm 119).
It is God who is wonderful, and the best is still a sinner, though liberated in Christ from the entire sovereignty of sin, in a profound mercy.
It is the Bible, the word of God, which is wonderful for the simplest of reasons: it is what the most wonderful Being has to say. We do not seek to disassemble, to speak figuratively, His lips so that we might maul His words or limit them! ALL of His word in ALL of its ways is to be considered, nothing aborted (II Timothy 3:16).
Thus it is the love of God (cf. God is not Only Great, but Glorious Ch. 1), concerning which in the Bible, the truth in this matter is expounded, which is shed abroad in the hearts of His people (Romans 5). It is this which in the heart of Christians prompts them to want to deliver the lost, and preach the Gospel, a holy constraint, to reach out and to win souls that are facing damnation, just judgment, misaligned, like tyres set at right angles to the path of a vehicle's motion. It is not to cover up for God, for example, that they go as missionaries, lest He bungle it, making an eternal mistake by their failure for some soul! God IS sovereign indeed. He needs no cover.
Nor is it to secure more than He might have lit on, in some unbiblical and mysterious innovation, such as Calvin's inventions might suggest to some. God has lit on all things with all His light before time even was! God has lit on all things with all light before the first day broke, and making souls depend on man's doing, of whatever kind, is to make the temporal invasive of the eternal, and God instructed by His creation (cf. Isaiah 40).
ALL who go with the Gospel, child or doctor, go into the unknown numbers (to us) who are yet to be saved, and ALL preach as of obedience and NONE is going to stifle the love or application of God. HE will have His will and no one will stop Him. He will have His elect and nothing will interfere to hinder it (Isaiah 14:27, Romans 8:30ff.). It may be convenient to imagine that one sinner, by default, will bring hell to those who might have been saved. God WOULD HAVE ALL and WILL NOT BE BAULKED BY ANY; and has even specified past all time and intervention by man, how His unlimited desire will with perfect plan, counsel, power and restraint find all who are in this double category: LOST and HIS.
Whether a humanistic misconception of God's power is back of some missionary work, or not, ALL go not knowing who is to be found, who are the Lord's, and all with any relationship to the Bible, go out of love, in responsibility and awe, in the fear of God, seeking with the same kind of love and resolution that was in Christ, to find what is still missing amid the ranks to come (cf. Revelation 6:10-11).
The difference with some is here. Some think that God so absolutely relies on them or the mission that sends them, that some will needlessly inhabit hell, who might have been won, if they or some others fail. Eternity in hell then becomes the inheritance of some who in the love of Christ and in the power of God might have been saved and in heaven, because of the sin of another. How ridiculous! If the sin of the father cannot unconditionally be visited on the son by divine principle (Ezekiel 18), how much less can the sin of the imperfect missionary be visited on those neglected, that is, through some lapse in desire on the part of a third party!
The Bible makes it clear that some are God's and foreknown, are in fact His, for the Lord KNOWS who are His and is in no need of counsel (Isaiah 40, I Timothy 2:19). Let us not be patronising to God, or exultant in our imagination concerning ourselves. Will grass-hoppers direct God (Isaiah 40:22), and will their hoppings ruin what is the acme of His desire, so inscribed into history that He sought not to judge the world in sending His only begotten Son into it, but to save from perishing whoever believes in Him! Did He, in the field of God and the world, and sending His Son into this well-known entity of His creation, as in John 1, not show the totality of His love to this world, one Being to one creation named, even the very extent and apex of this, His love towards that body, as also seen repeatedly in this and that light, including I Timothy 2, Ezekiel 33, Colossians 1:19ff., Jeremiah 48, Luke 19:42ff.. Indeed, it is seen and felt as in the anguish with which He languishes in heart, repeatedly, in sorrowful regret for those lost as in Isaiah 48:16ff.!
Is God through irrelevant and limiting philosophy (cf. Psalm 78:41,Colossians 2:8), invention of man, even to be turned into some other Being, in the unblushing intrusions into the testimony of His heart ?
These themes have been exposed before; but here the special point is this. Whatever the underlying idea of what happens to the lost if a missionary does not go at the time desired, being in all things perfect, and not failing, or fails to go to some appointed sphere altogether, NONE but God knows who is to be saved, knows who are His, and remorselessly and without any inhibition, puts His love into effect and His power into operation and saves them. Jeremiah the prophet (Jeremiah 3:1-7) had a special ministry in which they WOULD NOT HEAR! IF, the deity Himself declared, He had sent him to a people other than this, whose language he could not naturally understand, THEY would have heard; but Israel to whom he is sent, they WILL NOT hear.
Therefore, we go who are sent, one and all in this diversity, not knowing who is to come, or that any will come; but going in the wisdom AND the love of God, we go because Christ went; and He being sent, endured all, made free offer to all, forcing none, and so having the same kind of love, such an example and such disproportion between what He had to do and our (comparatively) light load, must we go. If now some believe that what they miss will for that reason go to hell, when a perfect or other missionary would have reached them and so through the Gospel saved them, then this impugns both the mercy, power and declarations of God, shallow philosophy, daring to intrude on the word and wisdom of our Lord and Saviour.
The other alternative, which has the advantage of according with the Bible, is that IF we miss, or some failure misses on the part of some society or body or church, as many do miss here or there, then while this brings exposure of fault to us, of which we need to repent and seek pardon, yet it does not prevent the almighty power of God and the infinite understanding which is His (Psalm 147:5), in His motivation and His capacity, from reaching ANY ONE who would otherwise have been ready for salvation had the word just come at that time. GOD will act in His own discretion, and His love is delimited by no man, exhibited through the flowing channel of the Gospel, being both intimate and ultimate in quality and scope.
HE will not miss one who might have repented in sackcloth and ashes if only told, because of the sin of another! He will reach from the source before time in His foreknowledge, in a love and not to judge the world in its initiative and nascent power, and knowing His own, with the security of predestination He seals it. With the liberty of the Gospel which changes never, and of His love, which in its thrust of divine initiative is never constricted, He saves whom He will, whom He has known from the first (Ephesians 1:4, I John 2, Colossians 1:19ff.), and NOTHING that man invents in limits and conditions of his own, will in the least deter Him (Isaiah 43:13). Far less is the source of all light confused at the pathological pollutions of man's inhibitive sin! No pollution obscures the truth to Him, and when He is there, natural pathologies fail before His penetrating eye, and nothing is hidden by anything.
Before the day was, it is He, and there is no other, and who will deter Him, whether by arms or argument! If it were deemed apt to descend into hell, and preach to the spirits in prison (Aspects of the Glory of God ... Ch. 5), this none can prevent!
The difference therefore is in the field of the honour of God. DOES HE actually mean what He says about the extreme character of His love for the world being exhibited in the extreme character of what He did that it might not be judged, but that instead, His resurgent love might find believers ? that having made peace by the blood of the cross, He would have all reconciled, whether in heaven or on earth ? His own oft-stated ground of not pursuing this desire to the point of force, is that love is not like that. It is not bemused with its own wishes; it has quality and standards of tenderness without duress. It seeks and helps and exhorts and stirs; but it does NOT invade, whether directly or indirectly, the principle being the same in either case: one which would then be violated. If like Judas, one is a devil, despite heavily contrary appearances at a given time, such as being one of the twelve chief and basic apostles, then that one will be lost, but FOR THAT REASON (John 6:70, John 13:1ff.).
Thus none knows who, if any, will respond in faith at a given call and sending; each seeks in the love of Christ for the glory of God and the fulfilment of the outcome of His sacrifice; but some believe it all depends on them, and their ilk, while others such as this author, believe with the Bible as basis and control unit for doctrine and wisdom, that the honour and the truth of God in His wisdom, foreknowing His own, seeking all, will certainly be both verified and vindicated, that we should cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils (Isaiah 2), and rely on our God, who never fails. The WHOLE operation is His, and He manages perfectly.
That is a matter of divine honour and faith in Him who has it, both to be and to do what He says. What then of those who go ? Is love too little ? Is obedience too small ? Is pity too shrivelled, that the sight of their need and the presence of our opportune power does not - as with Christ who CAME, delighted to do the Father's will - cause us to proceed whether in this way or that, to get the Gospel out and the commandments in! Is it necessary to impugn God in order to be motivated!
Moreover, this is to be read in the context of the changed heart of man, his due and clean fear of God, as in I Peter, not craven fear but purgative awe. Further, this is not the only caveat. Consider it carefully. God limits Himself to the truth (He IS it, John 14:6); but the intractable reality of God is not changed by the interpretive medium of man (Exodus 32:9-14 with 33:31-34, cf. John 6:6, "But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do..."). Man may be poised on a mission, and in the counsel of God He knows who will do what, and with what result (Ephesians 1:11).
Man may fail; but the strategic and operations centre in God, in Christ, this will achieve its purpose; and its purpose is repeatedly stated, emphasised, set in words not only for print, but for perpetuity (Matthew 5:17-20, Isaiah 48:15ff., I Timothy 2). Is God and this world, God and mankind, God and His stated principle, whether with propositional precision or emotional poignancy, to be ignored by saucy savants who dare to confine that which God enlarges, or to read back results into motivation, though the latter be expressly and repeatedly stated!
IF there is horrible failure and needless ruin, it will not be because God lacked either the motivation or the power, but because those concerned turned their back on the way as provided. THIS IS the stated ground of condemnation in the very face of the love of God (John 3:19), namely man's irreconcilable will, where foreknown as such. This is HOW the Lord declares it, in context without perplexity. Results of His infinite wisdom and un-derailed love are many, and the depth of His love is shown in the scope of His works to secure salvation; yet it is this precisely which burns with His purity, so terrible is the thrust of mistrust, its destiny. By what measures He has worked His foreknowledge, statedly not dependent on what man does (Romans 9, 3, 5, 11), HOW He does this is His business. How He exhibits it, is His own work as with Pharaoh. It is enough to be able, as in Predestination and Freewill, to show how it might be, what the divine principles are, and how with revelation and reason alike, His word covers all questions, and in proposition and principle alike, meets all queries, being unique in this field, in that!
Great passion for souls, and grief at their predicament is in no way lessened by preserving the honour of God by both believing His word and trusting that He who did all things well, will continue to do so. He will miss not one, though in the celestial circuit of His majesty, matched with mercy which He loves (Micah 7:19ff.), from this earth, He should descend into hell (cf. I Peter 3 and The Moon Soon Ch. 3 with Contribution 3 ). HOWEVER, He chooses to do it, do it He will!
When Moses interceded and succeeded, is it for one moment imagined that God had NOT as Ephesians 1 states, MADE UP His mind before time, concerning His own! When God allows man, as with Moses, to bring compassion to bear, it is not in order to be educated, but to educate man by interchange, in the ways and price of peace.
There is nothing mysterious about the singular desire of God for ALL, IN His salvation, either in the Bible or in the very nature of love. It all fits to perfection. The only mystery conceivable, is HOW in the world HE could love such as we are, at all! but He does as in Romans 5; which is quite glorious of Him.
Who, then, would not in love so seek, seek for the lost, who has been introduced to the concept of alignment, in this case, that with God and His word and will! There is indeed more to it also. Who would not also, not only in the love of God, but in the very fear of God, seek for the deliverance of those facing in naked estate, the horror of being cast away from the utmost of wonder, for the most absurd of reasons in this, that it is irrational, irrevocable and needless!
Thus speaks Paul in II Corinthians 5:9-11. "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men."
There IS a terror in the Lord as in a vast fire in a large castle's grate, which whips up to envelop all, unless it be contained! (cf. Hebrews 12:29). Since the love of God is real, and led to action, is not the love of God in man, when it is so placed on conversion, to lead to action ? Is not the fear for the plight of some, in the counsel of the Lord currently living amiss, who may die amiss, and with no claim on anything but judgment, hurtle towards eternity without God, an entreaty to the soul of pity, duty and responsibility, to act!
If God provides a basis at such cost, is this in the very life of God, not to thrust into His disciples, who abide in Him ? Is the fact that God is the backstop in terms of His foreknowledge (Romans 8:30), to delete the ardent concern to penetrate the darkness with the light that saves ? GOD Himself CANNOT fail, so none who could be moved to heaven, will fail to be so, all this before time or sin or the fall, as in Ephesians 1:4. But does this remove the terror of the Lord which impends like a volcano just near a town, ready to sweep all to destruction!
MAN CANNOT DETERMINE THESE THINGS, it is true, for "of what account is He," and God does whatever He pleases in heaven and on earth. No failure of man can lead to failure of God. He works, yes WORKS all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11), not merely some things. If we are to follow His word in considering the motivation of Christians, then, it is quite useless to ignore this. It is mere aversion, avoidance, as if one had a stiff neck, from looking too much in one direction only, and were slow to turn for the pain of it.
no way -
whether the case
be an imaginary god who has a mysterious,
or the biblical
one of starkly revealed, universal actuating, divine desire,
is soiled or spoiled by human motivation, if current events and constraints do not move it!
There is no way where desire for the lost, such as is God's very own, will be fused into oblivion for His people, in a mixed multitude of vain thoughts.
It will lead not to a fuzzy feeling about the lost, on the part of Christians, or an ignoring of their plight, liabilities and deserts, which moves from the terrestrial to the eternal. Shame is not a mere emotion when truth is back of it! Then it matters. Then love seeks action; God has taken it. Love seeks souls. God does it Himself, though the results were known from the foundation of the world. It is not a mere experiment, result noted.
It is a passion, correct in knowledge from the outset, but in truth a seeking without limit, but that of love itself. That is a beauty in it: therefore there is nothing to hide, no strange fatality awaiting any. It is ALWAYS true, known in essence from eternity, that this one prefers darkness, that one not; and such is in a virtual hypostasis known to God. If at any time, any one seeks God and says, But what if I am not one of the elect! that is a sheer waste of time. God knows His own, has done so before day awakened or human actions ever soiled this globe.
The difference between the two approaches is then simply this: one maintains the honour of God in terms of His pure and perfect word; the other maintains a mystery in this field, contrary to the Bible, and its failure leaves more mysterious than why such an anti-biblical position is taken, as if rubbing out one of the characteristics of God which He has laboured to express and declare in multiple manners. This, it is the inexorably effective sovereignty of a loving sovereign who never fails.
THE ELECTION OF THE ELECT
The election of the elect is a work of the One whom God has shown as His definitive exhibition, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and the love He had, the mourning, the weeping that Jerusalem had not known in that, their day, is true always of God. IF a person WERE otherwise, in the last and divine analysis, before sin tainted and folly wilted the soul, then so would be the result. There is ALWAYS more joy in heaven over one who repents than over ninety nine who do not need to do so, having done so already! Love is always rapturous at the coming of any. It is neither a free will in its present aborted condition (John 1:12), nor a mysterious obliquity in God, which works. It is a passionate love in God for all, and a sovereign knowledge of His own, the limited attainment, which LEADS to the limited atonement, which works in the utmost harmony, like the left and right hands. It is holy, exquisite, beautiful: it DESIRES. Let none imagine he or she is not desired.
Yet if this be so, that a person prefers to the end and in the beginning, darkness to light, there are results. These do not waver. Known from the first, these can be stated at any time*5.
Judgment is there. Man faces it. HOWEVER God fulfils His love that none be lost, and in whatever way He stops when it would cease to be love, but instead a grasping acquisition, where it would become mere power which intervenes, He does not transgress His own boundaries, or miscall His own nature. He does not indeed sacrifice His nature and motives and the entire character of His human creation to gods or idols of confusion; but He acts so that truth is maintained.
Those who imagine either that God will let slip some from a glorious destiny, because some sinners on earth did not find it congenial or fulfilling to bring to them the Gospel, ignore His word, or that He did not bother to love those to be lost, merely make up their own Bible in the matter. He is SOVEREIGN and there is none who can deliver out of His hand, or restrain Him! (Isaiah 14:26-27, 43:13, 45:25). No one frustrates Him, but He frustrates contestants. No one is too low for Him, but He does not enlarge the enlarged, or corrupt the originals who want to make their own kingdom, and either recklessly bid adieu to God, or just seek to shake off His hand! That is not so original; but theft, in the end!
These things being biblical fact, there is and can be no desire that is based in His word which acts differentially to exclude some, just because God might fail to get His way, fumble, foozle. He does not fail. Nor is there any way in which He supernally link some to the infernal because of a love shortage, or a limit to the illimitable, which passes knowledge, but is not impressed in a philosophic prison. God IS love; thus nothing which is contrary in style, nature, character or outcome is able to exist. If men prefer darkness, despite all He HAS done and does, this is their heritage. It is not for a secret horror that it happens; it is a manifest action on a stated principle of the utmost holiness and beauty.
One might act KNOWING that this is the way in which God has CHOSEN to act, and so work diligently and in His power and favour, like Nehemiah, effectually; or in some one thing, one might fail, as did David, and thus MISS blessings that God had in hand and in mind, as is stated; but this does not prevent God from having plan B or indeed any to Z, for He is unlimited both vision and power, in both knowledge and foreknowledge. We must not try to marry a humanly limited God to our ways, if we do not plan to overtake Him and tell others including Him, who He is, and this, contrary to His own word!
Thus in horror at hell, and the guilt it implies, and in desire at heaven, and the goodness it illustrates, and with a keen sense of duty indeed, one proceeds as a Christian, in such loving seeking, in whatever way God inclines for us; but we do not imagine ourselves indispensable. It is the Gospel which is indispensable, and if we fail in any point or part, it is not the Gospel or the strategies of God which fail. Thus humbling fact in no way distinguishes our task, whether illicitly to penetrate into the mysterious counsels of God, imagined contrary to His word, or complicitly, to fulfil the love of God in the due sense of the terror of the Lord. It is precisely as if there is a bush fire threatening your city. If you care, you have taken whatever steps belong to you; but you do not imagine that you are essential or the fire brigade will fail because of you.
ACTION IS NOT POSSIBLE IF YOU SLEEP,
In our field of present concern: You must be READY to act, and should have thought of action in intelligent ways; but your action is based on the love of God, and the horror of judgment, and the desire to do what you can, while you have the opportunity, rather than wallow in the shame of imagining that what brought Christ to earth will not get you out of your bed.
If Christ crucified does not motivate you, what could ? If the power of the God who sent Him from heaven, does not suffice, what would! There is a synthesis in life, the thought, the mind, the heart, the spirit, the realisation, the sincerity, the approach to God, the place with God. When this is aligned, it is sweet and the actions and thoughts concur.
When it is in disalignment, however, God does not lose control, or forsake His divine counsel, which is not to rely on man, but to send Him, the Christ, God incarnate, to do all. It is not to let man boast but to let him thrust with desire from love and concern, into the vilest parts of the earth, saying, There but for the grace of God, go I! Some want to have the whole earth nicely made Christian before Christ comes, in the flattest of contradictions of Matthew 24 and II Thessalonians 2, for example. It will not be. His coming is a rescue operation, prior to judgment itself. Some want to help poor God in His plight, by engineering things to prevent His frustration, by contradictory philosophy. Pity help them. Is THIS their God ? one of impotence verging in the very thought on impudence! or one of truncated love, who does not even admit it!
Let it never be, even in thought; for it is adventitious presumption. His word always rules.
REST in the Lord and ACT in His Spirit, and TRUST Him to show you the right paths of dedication, whether it be as a Jeremiah, for judgment begins at the house of God, or as a Psalmist, for sweet is the meditation on the Lord.
Be active, but not activistic;
be zealous but not condescending.
Elevate God but not man. Then you do well.
We do not know what has happened to the 100th sheep, to apply the parable of Luke 15; but we do know that it may well not be at all well, and as able, we act in the shepherd's light, and follow the duty of the Shepherd Himself, in His motivation and movement, which was to pay for those who are His, to make an offering sufficient for all, applicable to all and received by some. We cannot do that; but we can apply it (Matthew 20:28).
With that urge and surge, we who are of His body are moved, not in any fear lest God fail, not because He may find more that might otherwise be overlooked, for He DENIES this (Romans 8:30). Nothing is or can be in any way overlooked. Rather, it is in the power of the grace and goodness of God, in His horror at the results of folly, and in His desire to act to the uttermost, that all necessary action HAS BEEN TAKEN, and all necessary foreknowledge is perfected. He, the Lord, is most competent, most loving, most sovereign, and most deep. It is in vain to try to plumb the depths and invent human machinations and export them. They are not going to be imported; for as God is, so He remains. He is not a remnant sale, but the Saviour of all men (in provision, desire), especially of those who believe (in divine attainment).
Is there then something better than this, to walk with the Lord! I do not know it, nor have any desire for it. His word provides in its declaration and intimations, an end of all perfection. His exhibits clearly that in ardent love He has done all and more than all we could have imagined, and that to avoid judgment in that love, He has acted categorically, and this, NOT to condemn; and that He being without lack in this domain, it is individuals in the very race of mankind, who despite the universal spread of His desire, baulking and preferring amiss are in the end as at the first, their own exclusion. This is by their individually different response, in the very face of His non-judgmental passion. When then, individuals, instead of believing, prefer darkness that disrupt opportunity, it is so. It is this which shifts the outcome for some to what is contrary in scope to the desire of God, but not contrary to the nature of His love, which is not manipulable into force or deception.
There is a barrier in truth where love does not go; where violence violates, and there God does not go. He does not transform Himself into a totalitarian force unit, in the name of love. Is this then surprising ? Would any girl consider a boyfriend tyrant, who seeks to force her desires, a friend, far less a potential husband ? It may be so, but it is the opposite of love.
It may seem to some, hard to realise that this was worked out in eternity, and applied in time; but that this is the principle! God is, after all, an eternal being, and eternity is His. It is useless to act as if He were in our field, that of creation, or to affect surprise if He acts as He is.
To be sure, on the other side, God does not abdicate, in this case, His loving sovereignty to man, as if man were in a fit state to make such ultimate decision in his own self (John 1:12, 6:65). Instead, knowing the reality in love, God acts in power to realise it in time, before judgment sets in at the end.
Your trust should be in God, not in man; and your work will be rewarded if you act in faith, not in fatuity or God-changing confusion, or man-exalting upsurges. Both are inventions of men. Instead, abide in His word and obey it; and thus will you a blessing and inherit one.
*1 See Deity and Design ..., esp. Ch. 8, both on definition of design on the nature of reason, its abuse and integrity, in terms of antinomy, antilogy and the like, and their application here. With this, see Glory, Vainglory and Goodness Ch. 1, The Biblical Workman Appendix 2.
*2 Galatians 6:14, John 3. See Lover is Purer ... Ch. 1, with SMR.
See next, with respect to definition, SMR pp. 211ff., Repent or Perish Ch. 7, throughout but esp. in two locations and their hinterlands, Ch. 2 above, and indexes.
It is well to remember, as pointed out in God is not Only Great, but Glorious Ch. 5, a modern massif regarding the topic of information. It means, as has long been pointed out in this site in various ways, that wherever you have information, you need to have had intelligence, formative, cognitive, organising, perceptive, imaginative, creative WORK: it neither happens otherwise nor could it. It is helpful to add, as done often before here, that the intelligence that informs matter with information by codes and contrivances, analytical, synthetic, symbolic, co-ordinated command and reception action, as in the DNA when it is building a baby, is an aspect of the Being who has it, and that no system of such beings can occur without a reason for it (cf. Causes and SMR Ch. 5), so that in the end, logical necessity requires ONE intelligent, imaginative, constructive, creative Being who has made us (cf. The gods of naturalism have no go! and in particular, SMR Ch. 1).
From the Ch. 5 above initially noted, at *1A, we have this, and allied information at *1C, for which this hyperlink will serve. Further on this topic may be found at Jesus Christ, Defaced, Unfazed ... Ch. 4, The Desire of the Nations, Ch. 2 Epilogue, Little Things Ch. 3, esp. *3.
Gitt exercises the liberty of using normal scientific method, which involves study of what is occurring and attests occurrence, and building up successively from the inter-relating results of such investigation the causative features, emblems, fixture and interplays which account for them, at the various levels. It is not an exhibition of preconceived ideas, or desires, but quite simply, an exercise in the inventory of human ability, of observing, categorising, characterising, seeking explanation, testing, ramifying tests in various fields, correlating law with law, and building up from this field of actual occurrence, with the symbolisms apt for and required by these things, what is ultimately a descriptive apparatus.
In the field of information, he selects acute aspects of the uniformities involved, the characteristics of these and the types of action demanded and found to be operative in such cases, and with careful definition reaches the normal TYPE of conclusion for scientific work, that when these things are done, these things are UNIFORMLY found to be present. In the case of information, it is simply like other scientific laws, the case that intelligence is found to be universally operative, when information comes brand new into being. It is not doing so now. This conforms to the biblical statement of some 3500 years standing, that the particular Intelligence which created man, the universe and life, started it, completed it, and stopped. Its stoppage is one of the empirical acts. In the scientific realm, Gitt points out the nature of actualities to be studied, in the field of information, defining what is meant to prevent confusion, in the normal way in scientific types of endeavour, and formulating universal laws from this, shows that it is only when scientific method is tossed aside, that science can face information without the chaste acknowledgement, that here is a field of intelligence.
It is scarcely surprising, even at this level. After all, to form words is a mental work of creating symbols for realities, or imagined considerations; and their appointment is a mental species of categorisation. To form sentences, is to inform words with syntax and meaning, and meaning is in the field where symbol-signification occurs, not found in the parameters of matter, or relevant to its operational self-attestation. It cannot be found. Meaning is CERTAINLY found in the laws under which matter operates, brilliant in specificatory brio, a fact of great fascination for Einstein. But the laws are IMPARTED, not impartative, they are results of what makes laws, not causes. They are the piece of chocolate wrapper found in a walk in 'nature', where not for one instant does one doubt its cause, ultimately for its existence: namely a species of information producing, matter-manipulative intelligence! That is simply because this is DISTINCTIVELY the field of operation of such things, and entirely without attestation from any other source.
After the word-fact-symbol creation and the sentence diversification, more types of meaning are required, to indicate the direction of thought, the perspective overall, the things required, the things attested. All of this is an individual operation of mind (whether or not there lay behind even this, any cognitive colloquy of discussion, merely an amplification of the point). It has nothing to do with what keeps laws. It may make laws, it may reject them, rebel against them, love to do so or do so reluctantly, but it is not in the domain of material existence in law-girt martiality. The terrain is different. The functionalities are diverse. The results are not concordant; though from the point of view of one actually pursuant of scientific method, it is fascinating to find the differential characteristics of this domain of meaning, symbol and language.
They universally involve an intelligence which in turn, to be operative in creative activities of innovative technologies underlying augmentative results, such as ant and man, requires thought and consideration of possibilities, choice indeed in order that the programmatics be not neurotically wandering or wavery, but marvels of precise, disciplining brevity. In short, it is what is called on the basis of performance, personality.
That is the basis of information, ultimately, whatever be the marvels of programmatics added to this, to make it a routine instead of a mere happening. Such routines are found only where what is adequate for their causation is present, and this is found as above. Any endeavour to make it otherwise would require an entire differentiation from reason, and hence its relevance in discussion on the topic. The position is not an option, but both in the scientific area and in the more general logical one, a necessity (cf. Scientific Method ..., The gods of naturalism have no go! and Deity and Design, esp. Section 8).
See for example:
LOVE IS PURER,
Overflight in Christ Ch. 2
Celestial Harmony for the Terrestrial Host Ch. 2 (Calvin),
The Face of God ... Ch. 9,
Great Execrations ... Greater Faith Chs. 7 and 9,
The Christian Pilgrimage Ch. 3,
The Glow of Predestinative Power Ch. 4
Outrageous Outages ... and the Courage of Christ Ch. 9
Serenity ... Ch 14.
To Know God Ch. 1.
The Presbyterian Church of Australia in its Constitution of 1901 added something to the Westminster Confession in its very Constitution. In fact, it did wonderfully well in using the Declaratory Statement, which remains a part of its Constitution, changeable only with no small difficulty. Unhappily in 1991, it passed an Assembly resolution to the effect that this Declaration adds nothing to the Westminster Confession, which however has nothing on the specific point concerning the love of God to those who will be lost, a matter so special in the Statement, and a matter to be preserved. On this, for more data, follow this link - Possess Your Possessions, Vol. 10, Ch. 6, esp. *10).
In this way, they nullified that aspect of their Constitution, which cites a principle, as exhibited in this Chapter and its references, extensive in the Bible, inevitable in its requirement. It is the II Peter 3:9 example of this provision in the Bible, and viewable in many other ways and sites in that infallible word of the living God (cf. SMR Appendix B, Repent or Perish Ch.1, *1, and the references in *3 above).
Over-ruling a provision made expressly for 'tender consciences' is like using a tommy-hawk, a severe little axe, in a brain operation. On this see detail here. It is the Calvinist error which is thereby enabled, in all its mysterious dispersal of this aspect of the Bible. That this is a tragedy is unquestionable, since manacling the Bible in this way foils the Constitution and spoils the biblical accuracy of the testimony. It always appals to see the beautiful work of one generation, cast aside by a later one.
*5 PHASES NOT FASHIONS
There are three phases readily apparent, for regarding this issue. One may look at the adventual side, the advent of the love of God into the creation, with His divine foreknowledge into a creation at first impacted, and at times compacted, through resistance. Here is the genesis of love into this field, though that is only for comparative purposes, God knowing these things before the affairs of Genesis, indeed before time. Here is the divine manifesto of love, as in John 3, Colossians 1:19ff., I Timothy 2. It is to all and for all, and statedly so.
Next there is the impact and mode of expression of that love, in terms of the Gospel as from the mind of God, surging, burying itself like benevolent fangs, finding its operational resultants; though once again, this is a logical progression, not chronological, being before time.
Thirdly, there is the result, the resultant, logically, of all these things. Thus for example, Pharaoh's position is foreknown, and is used for tutelage of the nations, being fortified in folly in order to express two things: the disposition of his own heart as foreknown, and the wisdom of God to those who seek. Again, Esau as foreknown may be at any time declared as to the result, this third logical phase. Known from eternity, it can be stated in terms of what he was, enabling character and consequence to appear.
It is mere confusion to merge these different perspectives, which are regarding input, or outcome, in different ways, according to truth which enables clarity of vision, not duplication. In an image, it may be conceived as somewhat like a walk through a factory, but here it is the revelation of a personal reality, so that each phase is distinguishable as well as the overall intent and the final outcome. Each may be referred to at the will of the speaker, the love that surged, the Gospel that converged and the result that emerged.