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PRACTICAL RESULTS OF PERSONAL PREDESTINATION
In the preceding Chapter, we considered some of the features of biblical predestination which is dealt with in the SEVEN VOLUME SET in diverse directions and aspects.
ON PREDESTINATION and
LIBERTY and NECESSITY,
RESPONSIBILITY, DUTY and CREATIVITY.
Now it is good to look at some of the practical results of this biblical theme and presentation; for God has by no means left us without an authoritative witness in His Manual of Majesty, the singular Bible which stems ineffaceably from His Wisdom and Truth, the written word of God (cf. SMR Appendix C and D). What does He tell us in this sphere, made so safe and sure in His foreknowledge and predestination, and how does this relate to what a person faces and finds in this Age on our engaging but stricken planet earth ?
It means that each sinner on this earth is in nature, free. Adam from the first was not forced to sin, since God directed him otherwise most clearly, showing what he might and what he must not do; and as there was much to do in fine style, the reckless rebellion was a woeful lust, its punishment just. Not only so, it was a result of division from God, as intimate creation and fond Sovereign. Just as God is not of divided mind, as if made by someone else imposing on Him, or contained in some adventitious system and unable to withstand it, but has all power and knowing all, makes all, the self-made dis-appointment of man, like a fool dismissing himself when once given a post, meant death to his soul. First it was by severance (like a cut branch), then by mortality itself, as it withers.
God had acted with a grace and generosity that was prodigious, but for the sake of love and truth, in making persons, make them free to continue with Him or not! Love without lliberty is like life without consciousness, a mere mirage. While He did not put man in thrall, as a creation, He nevertheless put him on test that he might stand or fall. It was not very hard to stand, but he fell. The source of man's troubles, unlike the results of it, is not to be fond in want, in lack, in deprivation, but in aspiration without truth, in short, in lust. Make a nation rich, does it become godly ? perhaps if it had been on that way, for a time it may move in that way, as Great Britain for a little while, or Sweden in its day, or Scotland in trend, or Switzerland, or even in the mid-nineteenth century, in revivals and restorations aplenty, the USA, reaching back to some of its founding principles of life.
Yet falling morally is almost like gravity, in free fall; and failure to stay with the foundations of life, is like leaving an aircraft upward bound, and trying what direction a parachute will take you. Countless such moral experiments made, are close to uniform in consequence!
Since falling is not optional, as to morality, but only as to possibility, like an open pit: you do not have to fall in, but if fascinated by foolishness, you so desire, then you are free to do so. Love counsels otherwise, but its precondition being liberty of spirit, without which there can be no elemental love, but only response and reaction as one is and has become, recklessness may dispose the gift, as if it were a debit, to the bin. It did so in Eden and in ravaging, rampaging guilt has done the same as if incapacity to learn were one of the prime qualities of the human race. To be sure, just as one must love with a heart that is not bound, but able to love, so can one fall. Yet this which Israel so well exemplified (as in I Kings 17, II Chronicles 36, Ezekiel 20), the Gentile world is becoming if possible, increasingly adept at copying as foretold! (cf. Matthew 24:22).
One can fall ?That ONE at the first was a literal one; for it was so in the first pair (Genesis 1, Romans 5), who did not obey the voice of God. Not only did they KNOW what to do, not only were they SO free that they had to be INSTRUCTED not to do what they did, but in their inglorious expedition, they showed they were in fact doubting God's purity and knowledge and elevating themselves in disregard of all reason and truth. What were they in that case, but midgets defying the morality of their entire Creator, surpassing the hands that made them and the mind that saw to it, so becoming voluntarily bound by their guilt and inward damage. Freedom fouled was wisdom foiled, and as truth does not alter, but only what defiles it, so they altered. Guilt began to goad them, we find as we follow the text of Genesis 3.
They also were heavily rebuked, lost felicity, gained a cursed ground and would have to wait till the Lord chose to end the saga (as foretold in Genesis 3:15), with the destruction of the very power of evil. In so doing, they launched themselves on a very complex course, where various rebellions and restorations, heinous sins and repentances would eventually show two streams amid mankind, the spiritual and the godless.
This was not enough. The godly were yet sinners, and though the Lord both can and does create new hearts, and clean hearts, just as a categorical folly led to a condition of sinfulness - and he who sins is the servant of sin, as Christ indicated, for it spoils the placidity of the waters and churns the mud at the base - SO a categorical glory led to its resolution. All in good time, as Genesis 3:15 in the protevangelium indicated, WHEN God would bring forth from His supernatural store, the One who would crush the power of evil once and for all, even at its head.
And what was this but Christ Jesus the Lord, and how was it done except as Psalm 22*1 shows and Romans and Galatians and the rest of the Bible prophetically or in fulfilment attests: by a substitutionary atonement by the ONLY ONE now able to achieve this, the very Creator (Colossians 1:15), the Word of God become flesh. This He did by an overthrow of the power of death by bearing the power of sin and the force of guilt vicariously, and beating it victoriously, being not subject even as an offering, to personal sin and so free to bear One for all who receive it, the liberty which accrues from perfection, and with it, perfect non-indebtedness. As God, He could not be held by death, His own invention, but He paid it out for man, all who receive the gift resulting, in eternal life.
Thus He deleted the division between God and mankind (Titus 2-3), in His own self on the tree, the curse-bearer. Not in imperial style did He accomplish this, but in His own style, for the gift is not to the non-receiving, and the breach of death is not for the lovers of mortality, where sin abides by invitation and rebellion by desire for ever.
In what was this divine power demonstrated, but in the resurrection, in the fabric of continuity, following that of Lazarus and others! and in the power of the Holy Spirit to follow in His people as in Acts. The nature of its forfeiture, impending with Simon the sorcerer, is shown clearly enough in Acts 8:14-25, where the aspirant soul lusted for power as a practitioner, not for ability as a testimony to the Lord, and was accused of being "poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity"; and urged to seek forgiveness while he might! The liberty to "turn the grace of God into lasciviousness" is seen in Jude 4, while the desolatory lamentation of the Lord over the heedless and needless rush to ruin of Israel is seen in Isaiah 48:16ff..
Did the Lord tell the first pair what NOT to do because they were not free ? was He then tempting them to sin that they might die ? or was His excoriation hypocrisy, when He rebuked them, and was their desire to be ' as God, knowing good and evil,' but on their own terms, as competitors, really the innocence of a babe, and the work of a fine adjustment ? Is it really sound to seek to be equal to your Creator, and to dispense with His plans in preference for your own ? or to imagine that what creates you equates you!
Is the truth to lie ? Is the Creator to ruin wantonly by treachery and trickery and abuse of power ? for what ? that He might relish the power He already had, or fill up some deficiency of psychic desire, such as impossible for God, for deficiency is a bound thing to be overcome, and nothing can bind the source of all, even time His invention, that others than He might find the meaning of patience and truth! while He has no bounds, there being none and nothing to impose them! As soon as grudging and wayward thoughts are indulged in concerning the Creator (as occurred in the account of Genesis 3), the ASSUMPTION is being made that deficiencies or directions, whether of psychic components, compulsions or constraints, are present in God, so merely departing from the model, and fusing and confusing thoughts alien to it.
It is not God but man who is responsible and in whom the irresponsibility of spirit exists. It is the same in the love of God. It is in man, and not in God, that the limit is to be found as in John 3:15-19; for God SO loved and sought to save the WORLD (cf. Colossians 1:19ff.), and any in it who believe in Him who came to Him, and His purpose in this was not to judge! Thus man could be found escaping this grace ONLY by preferring darkness to light in the very presence of a light that set alight those who slumbered in darkness and a divine desire which neither technicalities nor sin could mask or frustrate. Man is accountable and responsible BOTH for his own fall and any failure to be restored; and it is God who says so. It is indeed God who worked creation, and who works salvation; but the bases of both are in Him who IS love, so that nothing contrary is in view at any phase or stage, Christ as displayed on earth being the same God who worked in both foreknowledge and predestination, that safe-keeping of the truth.
Typical of man's rebellion is abstraction into absurdity, self-sufficiency of creatively constituted man, so that either vying with or denying God, he sets up shop in hideous pretence with pretension, as if this procures. Thus in medicine he has ever new drugs, often to enable this or that sin, binding woes while new accrue, and in war ever new hopes, and in striving ever new suggestions, but the race is falling into ruin because successively these do not work, become palliatives while lust impels, lairs for affairs of dream, are untrue to or cannot meet reality, come to involve collision with it, and worse, with the God who made it, so that man's bankruptcy becomes the lair of cynics, like fleas in unkept premises (cf. SMR Chs. 3, 8, 10).
What is the point of the place of the denial of the principles of the Genesis 3 text, in favour of man as sustainable in himself, and author of his own life! To what purpose is imagination when life is as given, and heady imagination does not at all make it! Why pretend ? The option is to amend; but the power to do so and the place is where God has placed it, in Christ as Saviour and Lord, denying these facile fabrications and callow philosophic lies, and learning the path of life, in Him who IS it (John 14:6).
To do otherwise is an irrationality amid many that man creates, the lie being relatively easy to espouse (Romans 1:17ff.): but life is most difficult in petulant arrears and pretensions, and even in its construction: and only God has done it. Shriek man may, but life refuses to react to enticements to do it on its own account without the creation already made (cf. Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic esp. Ch. 3). Even if it made itself, it would have to be there to do it! Programs as in life, do not make themselves, or the ordered and categorised, the named and directed components and concepts enshrined in its organisation; since matter is not intellectual in function, merely in attestation of its conferred ingredients. It does not respond to hints or help alike, but continues to be what it is, as does the sinner likewise. Ignoring or despising God changes nothing but the destiny of the spiritual vagrant.
Man is creative by nature, whether in metaphysical invention, or moral, or political, or artistic, or architectural, or engineering, or medical, or philosophic, and whereas what is to be found is there, as an empirical fact, what man makes in his mind, while having its own being, can have dis-accord with this to the point of the inane. His mental cravings have no power to change what they misrepresent, but they can meet hideous unhappiness, acute desolation, like anyone else trying to use a power not available, with a will too loosely at work.
It is when man starts creating gods, whether directly or indirectly (cf. The Bountiful, the Accountable and the Surmountable Ch. 10), that his role becomes more than miasma, and merely an astonishment, as he is scattered about by false visions, like airline pilots under the impression that they could chase stars indefinitely, and ... acting on this!
Neither does the creation of pretend-gods, new gods newly coming up (as Deuteronomy 32 puts it in derision), nor the disregard of God in any merely negative way, change the realities, only the pathologies taking this or that optional course. Man thus becomes bound by a liberty which is obsessive and being mere will in this case, appears a derisible default (as in Psalm 2).
The Lord however is the vast exponent of liberty, not libertinism or riot, and is intensely reasonable, as is his construction in the DNA for example (cf. Let's Be Reasonable, for God is!) Indeed, creativity, naturally enough is a major thrust of His Being, and we have it in consequence, a grand liberty for thought and action. This is so only if it be contained short of the inane self-exaltation of lust, inside the vast territories where we have a legitimate, and indeed a lovely freedom. In accord with this. Thus we read in II Corinthians 3:17, "Now the Lord is that Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
Such liberty in misuse has a dim reflection in the life with the horse: where the creature wants to bang your legs against a fence: doing this, it will find a marked decrease in liberty, rather sharply. If however there be a collegiality as you might almost call it, within the marvels of co-operative companionship, then the liberty can become decidedly comradely! And that, it is but for a horse...
As is the founding of man in the image of God, so is his restoration to that liberty, not as if he were co-Creator, for this is simply not so, but as created in that image, and ready for responsibility within it (Colossians 3:10)*2. The restoration, it is an operation, more than reformatory, rather regenerative when sin's sovereignty is dismissed (John 3:5-9).
But what is the mode, the way, what is the experience, what are the parameters and what is the meaning of salvation, then, and how is it to come, not just as available, but actualised ? It is time to look at the institution of salvation and the achievement of liberty.
Firstly, since man is in essence free, merely seduced by sin into a profusion of confusion which misdirects and makes truth concerning God a stammering amid seduction, and his own thoughts an inventive masterpiece, it is a question of liberation not some superman! Despite the fact that man tends to look for an available or else even a desirable rebellion, in which to show macho or Amazon properties of lust as if this were liberty, and to do so at any cost however limited one may be, it is man and not God who is confused in such abuse of truth. To Him, there is no difficulty about outcomes. God KNOWS what He Himself has created, and is not duped by sin. He selects His own and knows those among all the race whom, as one whole He has desired, who before the descent of that delirium of folly, both logically and chronologically, do not prefer darkness to the given light. SO before time, He acts, having predestined the result of His foreknowledge (Romans 8:29ff.).
WHEN the time comes, therefore, this one, or that, among mankind, will feel repentance and seeking God, being convicted as in John 16, and moved, drawn as in John 6:44 so is granted life as in John 6:65. But it is not rapacious sovereignty which does this. On the contrary, it is supervening love which is on biblical record, not once but hundreds of times, reasoning, exhorting, grieving at loss and bringing new and ever fresh ways of showing repentance and hope to those stranded by sin (cf. Jeremiah 17); and it is that mercy in which the Lord delights.
It is He who, as Titus 2-3 points out, has acted in love and kindness towards mankind, and John 3 affirms, has done so without desire for judgment but rather for the world to be saved. Just so, I John 2:1-2 tells us the very sacrifice for sin was offered not for some only but for the whole world. It was as in Israel in the day of atonement (Leviticus 16-17), assuredly for ALL of that nation that it was presented and made available and intended and sought and needed; but yet as in Deuteronomy 29:14-10, it is not so thrust into the heart that rebellion is thus obviated. On the contrary, some will persevere, even then, even in this unremitting rebellion, with just that obviation, even of grace itself! For them, there is no account, no change, nor accrual of principal.
Expansive to all, sufficient for all, it is received by some; but past generic sin in the race, as it is now constituted, is the knowledge of God from before time, which seeks those constituted free, if they might be found without coercion and so saved. In Matthew 23:37 and Luke 19:42ff., THIS God of THIS majesty has at the very height, in its profundity, such purity and restraint of love, that despite His desire for all, that they be saved, He limits this result to those who MAY be found, calling as in Isaiah 55 and finding just such.
In their liberty as known to God, before sin's captivation, they are clear to Him; for the Lord knows who are His own (II Timothy 2:19). Therefore when He liberates these, one in this city, one in that village, one in those mountains, He is not imposing but exposing, not forcing but exhibiting what is beyond all force, in the nestling interior of love. He is not forestalling sin's blight but installing freedom's love, as He has foreknown it before sin appalled the skies of thought, and stilled the natural light as by paralysis.
Yet in so doing, BECAUSE this is truth and NOT imposition, THEREFORE the sought soul in history, may indeed know as the Lord exposes - for natural things and conditions are no limit to the Lord, a simple fact so many in this sphere appear to forget. Known to God, these are enabled to respond, not as imposed, but freely, actually; and this is guaranteed by the divine wisdom that preceded time, and not dependent on the sinful will, while yet expressing what the soul beyond sin and before sin, has been discerned by the Lord.
In what is it then discerned ? It is as NOT preferring the darkness of departure but the continuity of the love, liberty and life of God, in His creation, in this heart. Love throughout all history has taught such a lesson: force and style and power do not count. Love is not of this type; and indeed is stronger than death. It is elemental and not supplemental. The love of God which is the source of our own is not a compulsive thing; though the rescue is achieved by grace alone, since sin, a repulsive thing has skewed realisation, and needs such an extirpation of its control.
As a result, conversion while a sovereign grace, is the grace of a gracious sovereign, who delights in mercy, and the ways of love, hence making such an allegory as the Song of Solomon*3.
Accordingly, the soul to be saved may indeed become aware of the necessity of choice, as the tissues of separation are being lifted, and the opacities of spiritual cataracts are being corrected; for freedom is the source and the result, and love is the way and power is the propulsion to achieve this, not as dictation, but as a protective direction for reality.
That is the first point: a sense of liberty is NOT delusive, but it is not conclusive either, as if it were the beginning and the end. It is God who is this, and His means of finding His own, and ensuring their coming, are as He has directed and enabled. On the other hand, if some do NOT find this degree of liberty but are more consumed with the sense of His power and majesty, this is just as real, and in no slightest degree contradictory; for these two are only elements in the total operation, to enable freedom to live, and to prevent the mastery of sin from taking and keeping control. There is no point in squabbling about the particular operation you or John Smith or Jill Jones have, since operations vary more than the principles which move them!
Therefore, do not avoid the sense of liberty, but act when you find the way; and do not expect some specifiable experience like Saul-Paul, for God is most creative, and may apply His principles and power to achieve the same thing, with individual differences. This being so, nevertheless, receive what faith enables when it comes. Do not dabble in means, but focus on the salvation of the Lord; for this is of the Lord, whatever means become conspicuous experientially; and it is based on the Cross, achievable because of the virtue and validation of the resurrection, the pathway to glory and its assurance.
What more then do we find concerning the reception of salvation ?
Secondly, do not waver as if it all depended on you and you, being unworthy, feel troubled that something is sure to go wrong, and hence all will not be well, and you will somehow find you cannot believe.
So be it. If this is where your heart, past all sin and time, lies in its essential liberty, go and enjoy your choice and rejoice in your liberty and have your heart's desire for all you are worth as Ecclesiastes with almost stunning challenge indicates! (Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:8). If you will, then like cheeky kids swallowing up distance on some neighbour's property, and tobogganing down the slopes with wristy glee, set to it. This is your will; it is expensive, but so be it. You have your desire.
If however this seems unfair, not really where you belong, then knowing that it is the LORD in whose hands are all these things, and salvation is very definitely by grace, and of the Lord, having no psychological or meritorious human involvement whatsoever, and comes only because of the Lord, do not rest from your wrestling. Cease to be hypnotised. You desire the Lord ? then ask. You seek the Lord ? then repent. Like Christian crossing the river of death, take heart and believe. It does not depend on you; and so if you are so moved, simply depend on the Lord and suffer Him gladly to have suffered for you, that the insufferability of the sovereignty of sin might be broken by His mighty act.
Thirdly, concerning the reception and result of salvation: do not boast, or be of a self-affirming spirit, as if you were so wise as to see the value of future real estate in heaven, and now sit pretty. It is OF THE LORD in all wisdom and power and virtue and knowledge, as of the physician in an operation; and in this case, even the ultimate power is the Lord's. To be sure, He foreknew you, but without His absolute intervention, what good would that have been! It is NOT of the will of man and of flesh, that your deliverance comes, but of the mind of Christ. Sin had disconnected you, removed the coupling, and ONLY HE could restore it.
This He does unilaterally in grace, just as He foreknew His own unilaterally in wisdom, and yet accurately, and not by mere fiat did He knew, for He knew the truth. There is no virtue in exercising liberty as given in a heart created pure; but even there, it was not the heart which did so, but God who foreknew it who so knowing, so acted.
It is he or she of a humble and a
contrite heart that the Lord seeks. This is not to be achieved by romancing
about unreality, but through gratitude for a grace which penetrated your
darkness and set you free (Isaiah 66:1-3, 57:15), where nothing of yourself had
any traction, and from birth to the end, yours was only exclusion (cf. Ephesians
This brashness, let it be gone; but no less, let fearful hesitancy depart. Will I make it ? will I manage to enter at last the gates of heaven ? Such thoughts may assail the soul, but in terms of biblical principles, they are misled and mistaken. IF you are repentant, convicted and converted through the power of God, to become a believer in the Lord's Christ, in Jesus Himself, encapsulated from heaven, incorporated on earth, indeed placed in the womb, and not some silly substitute, then by grace through faith you receive what will never depart (Hebrews 13:5-6). It is imitation which confounds, imagination and not reality in Christ.
What fails is substitution of fabrication, of new christs and alien salvation, of some mere idol, manipulable whether by slipping Protestant Churches, forgetting the very Bible to which they had returned, or Romanist ones, adding to it. How dare such bodies make their own morals or ideas or rules for man, and USE the very name of Jesus Christ! and others, yes, these too, they may do so by the simple sinful substitute, each according to his or her very own self and desire!
Trust in the Lord and do good, and truly you will be fed (Psalm 37), yes and delight yourself also in Him, and HE will give you the desires of your heart. IF you are wondering whether you can make it, this is entirely irrelevant. Of course you cannot make it. If it were ever any question of what you could make, you WOULD NOT make it. Because salvation from first to last is the sovereign act of the mighty God, and it is installed only by His premises according to His promises, entirely at His fiat, therefore there is not even any question.
It is not a matter of YOU at all. It is a matter of HIM. It is by grace through faith that the whole thing is installed and operative, and says Ephesians 2:8, it is THIS which is the case. If it were otherwise, you could fail; since it is not otherwise, as a believer in this Christ, since HE will not fail, therefore YOU will not. You may fall, to be sure, seven times; yet He will raise you. It is no longer you in whom you believe, but Himself; and God never fails (Zephaniah 3:5, Romans 8:36ff., Hebrews 13:5, John 5:24, 4:14).
If you believe Him, the believe this. If you do not believe Him, then where is trust ? it is by faith you enter into that door which leads to the sheepfold, where God Himself ensures that none perish (John 10:9,27-28). Believe in Him ? then this is His gift. Do not believe in Him, then this is your way. You get in a car; it goes. You do not do so, it may go without you. It is no fault of the car. But what ? if you seek Him, He is no adversary. Once in the cycle of salvation, you are carried as by flood-waters.
Therefore as it is written, so it is.
"Whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son,
that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called;
whom He called, these He also justified;
and whom He justified, these He also glorified,"
a glory which we have seen in Romans 8:17 already.
Question ? There IS question about conversion, as the seed may strike a hard piece of ground, unrepentant soil as it were, with stone near the surface, a rocky heart experimenting, and not a converted one at all. Dreams do not do it; but seed. Seed does not do it, when the hard heart is unrepentant. It is seed to enter where it may do so.
Take another image of the same reality. WHEN however, repentance has done its work and faith has received the Lord's Christ (Luke 2:26), then the sheep having entered the door which is Christ (not a Church or an assembly or a hierarchy, but Christ, the sinless Saviour), becomes one of His sheep. Of these we learn in John 10, that they will not perish, will not be snatched from His hand, but instead, they know His voice, follow Him, and are given eternal life. It is all a matter of your foundation (I Corinthians 3:10-11), in Him who is not a mere slab, but the Saviour, living and active, able and profound, missing none and missing nothing. Rely on Him; for HE never fails just as He never changes (cf. Isaiah 43:10-11, Zephaniah 3:5, Malachi 3:6).
You say, But I am not sure that I trust Him ? You have a dog, what do you think of the creature who wags his tail and is not quite sure you are the sort of bloke he would care to follow out the door for a romp ? Is it a dog or a cur ? Is it too hard to trust the One whose advent has changed the world, installed itself into the dating systems of history, foretold the scope and nature of history, regaled the citizens of the world with the story of Israel which has been unfolding before our eyes these last 63 years with a profundity and detail parallel to that of Daniel who foretold the date of His death! (Christ Jesus, the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 8, Repent or Perish Ch. 2, Christ the Citadel Ch. 2, The Magnificence of the Messiah).
Is it too much to bring your heart into the reality of reliance ? Do you trust yourself and not your God who made you, as if you were the engineer of salvation, the answer to sin or the grand man or woman of wisdom ? I would rather trust where trust is given ground than anything of myself, any day; for I am fallible, but God is infallible, my thoughts are not infinite, but His are, and in me, that is in my flesh, n good thing dwells (Romans 7:18), but in Him is goodness and mercy forever. From Him it pours like a torrent, runs like a river, is ebullient and pure (John 4:14, 7:37, Isaiah 48:16ff., Jeremiah 18:13-14, Ezekiel 47, Revelation 22).
Yet you do not really trust Him ? So be it. Then put your trust in whatever broken vessel, dry well you like, and get on with the ingenuity of your choice. If this is where you are to be, so be it; for there is ample provision for you, and though the waters fail, you will have your own will (Matthew 7:15-22).
Trust in Him however, it is not based on the psychic aberrations of the moment, but on the foundations set before time was. Depend on Him, for you are to be sure undependable, except through faith in Him who is dependable; so depend upon it, He being dependable makes you not independent of the storms of passion, but able to withstand them, and though needing to resist them, empowered to prevail; and this applies, whether such storms be mental or spiritual or physical, worked out by the slyness of the slithering serpent (cf. II Corinthians 1:8-11, 12:7-10, I Peter 4:12ff., 5:6ff.).
But you may say, but what if I am misled ? If you trust in the Physician, He can take care of your mind trying to pretend itself sovereign, and in relying on Him, you do NOT rely on your own mind, though you trust in Him to bring it into dependency on Himself, even if through the breach of implicit pride and self-reliance. How could you be misled if His word is your guarantee to the contrary! (John 10, 5:24)! and why trust in yourself as if your vagaries are king, when Christ is Lord in fact, and not in faith alone!
If being misled is an option, then salvation which is of the Lord is not even in view! If however salvation is of the Lord, then you know whom you have believed and with Paul are persuaded that HE is able to keep what is committed to Him against that day! as in II Timothy 1:12, and indeed as in Romans 5:1-12. If YOU COULD ruin it, then it is YOU who are at least co-Saviour, your conformity being a condition. Yet the Bible indicates but ONE Saviour, who is God (Isaiah 43:10-11), and whose name, His who paid, is but ONE (Acts 4:11-12), and it is neither Smith nor Jones but Jesus Christ, whose goings are eternal (Micah 5:1-3), in whose name alone is salvation both available and required as in Acts..
Let therefore both brashness and cravenness be gone! By all means examine yourself to make sure you are in the faith (II Corinthians 13:5-6); but this done, and knowing whom you have believed and to whom you have committed yourself (II Timothy 1:12), examine HIM and not your faith; for it is not faith which is the basis of salvation, but merely the means of its adoption. ONCE you have drunk, have eaten, that bread which IS Christ, that is, symbolically once you have so taken Him to heart, then as in John 6:54, you will be raised up to glory. Salvation is not a lengthy co-pilot work with God, but one once for all achieved by Him and transmitted from Him as in Ephesians 2:8, Titus 3:5-7, so that we are literally having been saved souls, and have an inheritance reserved (as in Ephesians 2 and I Peter 1:3-8).
Rejoice therefore, whether in your painfully selfish way (as in Ecclesiastes 11), as trusting in yourself, if you will, for here you are, your own very self; though it will be short; or else, having faith in the Lord, trust in Him, and rejoice for evermore, for salvation is HIS and He has both procured it and passed on its pardon to everyone who believes in Him, not a mock-up model, but in Him who alone bore the sin and provided the ransom, sinless, higher than the heavens who went lower than the earth to save you.
See Ch. 6 of The Bountiful, the Accountable and the Surmountable.
FROM CONFLICTING OPPOSITES
TO COMPREHENSIBLE TRUTH
LIBERTY WITH DEADNESS, LIFE
ELEVATION TO REALITY WITH REASON
Man can be almost amusing as he stumbles in sovereign seeming certainties, outside the word of God, making enormities and antinomies in his utterances about himself. It is as if he had lost the looking glass and kept imagining different sorts of monsters, as if these were himself!
Thus some deny human freedom, with a freedom quite stunning in view of its lack, being quite able to remove it even though if it were really missing, they COULD not know it, since their ambit would be inside and not outside whatever system they wish to contrive; and the luxury of outside view in objectivity would be denied them. If it cannot be stated, it certainly has no logical basis, denying not only thought but its expression. It is simple antinomy.
Others, properly despising this ludicrous laxity, and the assurance of those whose models know no truth or liberty, nevertheless proclaim what they esteem as such, going to another extreme. Like gods, they are, free as air, captains of their souls, measuring up fate with astute air, ready to do combat, capturing and large in conquest. Freedom is their holy grail and they will possess it as those possessed.
Since however they need God to know truth, since otherwise there is no absolute which is not sunk in relativities, whatever MIGHT be their daring or derring-do, they can only obtain as much freedom as His actions allow, truth permits and their own natures as given, and as discerning, permit. How can they escape what they ARE, in order to BE anything different when what they are is their matrix! NOr can they be gods (of assured exposure as in Ezekiel 28:9), since anything beyond the limits of man and his place, requires non-collision with the God of truth who enables any statement, contentious or otherwise, about truth to be meaningful. Moreover, what sort of gods are born without consent, given traits without consultation, and death normally without prior advice, or move in and out of the realm of life and consciousness with all but no control over it! These are but pitiable boasters.
Yet just as the laws of matter and life itself work - and these include those of attrition, of nature, invented by God, and re-read by man and so enunciated - and as working, limit man, so his daring esprit is limited by ignorance of truth, on the one hand, or of God on the other. While both are one, these have different impacts: to be ignorant of truth makes you prone to control by what you do not even understand, far less comprehend in oversight and subject to action whether with or without submission; and to be ignorant of God makes you a prize ignoramus, since without that knowledge you are ship in an unknown sea with unknown ballast, displacement and direction, indeed without knowledge of where to point if you did know direction. You can be free as you like, so bound.
The DESIRE for meaningful freedom is just: it results from the liberty INNATE to man, though despoiled through misuse. It is normal, natural and would be an inheritance of man were it not for the derivative damage from sin, and its derivative - alienation from God, the other option to repentance. The reasonableness of this desire for liberty, however, it depends on the turning or not to the source of it, not only as Creator, who gives the perspective and knowledge necessary for its exercise, but as Saviour, who removes the sludge of sin from the harbour of peace; or if you prefer, who removes the maladjustment which masks truth from the ill-run soul. If man turns to an assumed god, summit of feeling or desire, what has that to do with anything feebly even approaching a solution! Reality is necessary, as in medicine, not placebos of invention, mere, miserable pretences.
if then man turns to God, where He MAY be found (as in Isaiah 55), where He provides appointment for deliverance and regeneration, where the Messiah's work is realised and applied, well. Then man may indeed find the truth, the removal and scouring, the careening of dry dock and the restoration required for free and knowledgeable running, with maps,might and methods supplied freely. Then in liberty he can assess what the Lord has for him, what it involves, and seek for an understanding of the privilege of running with the Maker, not simply as if a horse or a dog, though there can be much love in this, but more, as a Companion with whom understanding can be found and realised. When this occurs, the salvation, far better to the heart than deliverance from other banes, such as eczema, for it moves to the centre and point of things, not merely to the periphery of action. Here is source of a love which in the first place God has shown (cf. I John 4), and this has perfect liberty in perfect companionship with One so high above oneself in knowledge, wisdom and power that association itself is delight, the very consummation of liberty and the combination with love.
You MAY in this way be very different and your way is not only in application but information and restoration. Wrought by God from His eternal foreknowledge, it covers the case in truth, so enabling what is fouled to be surpassed, and choice itself, being supervened by the mind of God, to be sustained though operated instrumentally by God in His own integrity. Only as love can this work, for other bases would merely exploit or misuse; but here and here only is the requisite combination for freedom that is real and not merely nominal, that is not limited by what one already is, to be restored and indeed, to be exercised by man as a creation of God, both towards God and in the heart. From this, much results, but there is one cause. the divine plan of salvation and its exercise by God.
Thus the thoughts of startling liberty have by no means no basis; but lacking without God, the kinetic, the dynamic side of that basis, they are prone to the ludicrous, just as the thoughts of having no liberty, because the same basis is avoided, are merely an exhibition of folly and frustration, hiding in mantras instead of using what is provided. Yet they yap and rap, despite the fact than in such an approach, as explained, there is then no truth extant or available in the model, so that its propagandising by the zealot is meaningless.
Thus truth from God whose it is, and who indeed constitutes it, not only has the only coherent and rational account as found in the Bible, the vindicated and verified truth of God
(cf. SMR, TMR,
Light Dwells with the Lord's Christ,
Who Answers Riddles and Where He is, Darkness Departs),
but it explains why almost perfect opposites of flashing freedom and dulled and callow conformity to necessities for man, these two popular options and opposites, are simply extrapolations of natural realities, taking leave of their bases, and acting without rationality, and hence with mutual contradiction.
In truth, man needs to be able to be different to be free, as distinct from unhindered in being what he is: and in Christ he IS so able. The change in nature when one is Christ is quite categorical. If the difference is that from a sinful operating system to a sanctified one, it is still vast as a transformation. Thus man is able to be free, but only by a grace which, exceeding the power of the natural, knows the reality beyond man, and can then apply it as in fact it relates. Man is not ultimately free, as a being, since he is created; but he is intimately free when and only when he finds the God of salvation, changing him into a being who is then in consultation and comradeship with God, the truth.
There are constraints within which he must work, like the laws of logic, yet even here he can imagine things different and make creative masterpieces of other worlds, which indeed do not enjoy either rationality or reality: but still, he can make them in his mind. There are also rules within which he must work, for otherwise, as one created, he merely despoils the product which he is. There are laws and prohibitions; but is this so severe, for even on a galloping horse, in the very heart of physical liberty, one still has to sit on it with a force of gravity which has counter forces to contend with!
Fooling about with liberty, having fooled about with his own soul, man comes up with endless programs which never work, proud boasts which are basted in the Summer heat and evaporate; useless philosophies taken seriously (cf. SMR Chs. 3 and 10, and by contrast Ch. 5), but never once covering the facts, ruinous pieces of reductionism or expansionism, of blindness or the squalour of irrational pride. In these, he is bound, just as in rebelliousness towards the truth, he is distorted, disjoined from his source, slanted or soured or inflated. Finding the truth in God, which applies to himself personally, he is no longer disabled.
Instead, re-wrought back to operational felicity and functionality, man has meaning at last, not only potential but actual; and liberty having been exercised, it can now be established as in a person who though unable to make his universe, does not need to do so in order to live with all the responsibility and options that are given. These can make life as adventurous as you please (and more at times!), without the asininity of opting to be what one is not, namely God or as internally and essentially possessed of it, as if a god.
Ceasing to play, or even work, the fool, and finding God, man sheds these baneful extremes of aspirant and heady liberty and drudgery without liberty, alike, both unrealistic but understandable in Moreover, being now exposed, these different aspects can be seen and understood, so that man is neither airy spirit of illimitable wonder, nor poor prisoner of endless denudation and control. Instead, in Christ, he is enabled to escape from delusion, and live in the actual dynamic accorded to him, in the liberty which does not despise law, but realises its application and revels in it, as in life itself, because of the gift of exquisite liberty in delightfully challenging bounds. With this, the spirit of man may soar to the very heights of God (Ephesians 2:6), using the highway of holiness, not to contend or to contest, but for the company of the King of Eternity, whose love is better than life, and its zenith and wonder (cf. Psalm 63:3).
In these and parallel ways as shown in the above references, not only are the oddities of philosophic tangle resolved, not alone is the ground of faith demonstrated, not only are the ingredients of the basis coherent and harmonious, the one with the other, not only is the empirical realm covered in principle where it challenges, as if a natural Amen Charlie! confirming what is written. More than this, the perspective and analysis in the Bible even shows why what is not so based, cannot stand and why, this being so, it is not therefore disregarded. Thus the Biblical perspective and depiction even gives explanation of why this so obvious and solitarily effective rationale, without rationalism, is not universally adopted.
There is only one reason for this. It is because it goes with God who is not universally received, even to the point that when the Saviour Christ came precisely as predicted, and did all and spoke what is verified, instead of acclaim (though He had some), He received murder. Certainly it is not logical; assuredly it is not harmonious; but then this is the way of this world, the ways of which are neither harmonious with all its inhabitants, slaughter a specialty, nor with those of reason nor above all, with those of the God who put it all here so that it works reasonably, for those who do not abort from the entire provision.
See The Song.