AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH June 27, 2010
Presbyterian Church following the Bible without Qualification
and the Lord Jesus Christ without Compromise by Faith
THE CURSE CAUSELESS WILL NOT COME
Proverbs 26:2, Galatians 3:13
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.
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.
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 in capacity to inter-relate, correlative to His own!
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!.
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!
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 cleansing fluid 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
till he understands what and why he is flying, and, incidentally to what destination.
As salt, these, the redeemed, are savoury; but many are they who are as 'salt' 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 ..."
Thus through His hanging on the cross, dying, the just for the unjust to bring us to God (I Peter 3:18), 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 took. 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.
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,
is the lovely kindness of our initial construction, in potential:
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, though you moved Me against him, to destroy him without cause.!" That is Job 2:3. Job found at last that there was indeed GOOD cause for what happened, and was blessed in the end.
The concept of CAUSE, reason for action is strong in man; and although the cynical distillates of rushed rebellion often headily love 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 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.
God 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
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.' "
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.