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FAITH, RECIDIVISM, RUIN AND REALITY
Faith is the assured conviction of things unseen, the evidential affirmation in the heart of things hoped for, the levelling of the sight of man to God, in the avenue by divine appointment, so that it works as trains do on rails, but not during derailment, except by special appeal and repentance. That , as in Hebrews 11, is the faith in view in this Chapter, biblical faith, the faith that deals not with an object of one's own selection, but with the God who gave one the power to say no to anything He proposes, in terms of allegiance, responsibility and realisation (John 3:19, Proverbs 1, Matthew 23:37,Luke 19:42ff.).
Of course there are limits to one's power to say no - one cannot re-gene, for example, or select a different genome, and this slowly decaying*1 programmatic basis for man's physical being, is not available for recast.
Given that, and the laws of the universe, the structure of things (which man can even play with to a limited extent, as when making various bombs by bombarding particles and finding the unleashed results, as when a kid places a hammer with vigour on the home's piano keys), yet there is no necessity to endorse or even appreciate the Maker of it all. You may find it convenient to overlook the obvious, and believe in anything from magic to laws creating themselves of of nothing. It is a human option and one, like many others, with due consequences, which may care to observe at the micro-, the macro-, and the psychic levles.
This is available blindness (cf. Matthew 15:13). It is commonly chosen. Jesus the Christ indicated the syndrome. It runs like this: you CLOSE the eyes in CASE you should see, and being converted, be healed. Man is reluctant to be healed, preferring the bombast instead of belief category, as in essence it is, though it can be canned into mere wiliness, wilfulness or captiousness, as events take their toll, or already exercise it.
Particles instead of precepts, bits instead of understanding, the means instead of their origin, so man fancies things and often fancies himself to utter, repetitive and anguished ruin, using now this philosophy, now that, the atomism of the early Greek*1A , the cynicism of the lurking devilry of the 19th century or the evolutionism of strutting power and pretentious imagination, founding on everything that does not come, and despite all that goes on its downward way*1 . Bits become in some unspeakable way, the way to go*2. They however cannot speak, so man decides simply, what to do!
One can do this kind of thing. It is small wonder that Einstein became strong is his desire to detach man from the open doors to ruin thus opened, following his discoveries and allied ones.
Man indeed can go far further than this, and seek to have a following in things disruptive, dispersive, whether of the very nature of man's created existence, his moral liabilities or his stability and balance. Banging about in things psychic, material or moral can become a habit, like that of the child using his new tool kit on the furniture with no small glee.
As flagrant as are these man-reducing rebellions, necrotic and often neurotic confrontations with virtually everything confrontable, there are conspicuous examples of the very opposite, namely of faith, biblically defined, itself in operation. It can construct what endures, realise what is there and appreciate it according to the rules, including in the case of man, those concerning one another. It can see the point of natural disaster and eruptive division among mankind to enhance it, and seek healing from the Lord who made him and so live in amity, inward joy and peace; or just imitate what is wild, as if the curse were heartily endorsed and so wither amidst vainglory. This resembles people cutting down the vines, while thinking what a difference they make and how industrious they are.
As to conspicuous exhibits of the opposite, in terms of its principles and practice, when faith is sited in the salvation of God, of how it operates, there are many phases, not excluding more or less routine murder of Christians, whose valour confirms their virtue, and contrasts with the contemptible onsets of rebellion (cf. John 16:2). It is not hard to find, whether in Indonesia, or the Middle East, or Sudan, or India; nor is their capture for productive purposes, political reasons or both, as in China, as attested by Harry Wu, who appeared before the US Senate on the topic.
Even in the realm of faith, there are those who use it, and make mere formal assent, having no concept of what it is to trust in the Almighty, and find His works in experience.
From Possess Your Possessions Volume 2, Ch. 6.
Here we find some examples .
"justly famed amongst the annals of Israel, are these words of Asa, when he overcame a massive array set against him:
- "Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many
or with those who have no power:
help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You,
and in Your name we go against the is multitude.
O Lord, You are our God: do not let man prevail against You!"
The vast Ethiopian army was quelled. The same disproportion was nothing to the Lord, when Israel, for that matter, was taken through Moses under direct divine guidance, from the ruling power of then dominant Egyptian empire! So was the justly famed and often recounted Exodus (cf. Psalm 105, 106, Exodus 12ff.). By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God (Hebrews 11:3). Thus we find the result: "so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible". This is the line of emphasis repeatedly provided, in the midst of many diversions and errors.
Did not Jehoshaphat, that noble king, cry to the Lord when in national trouble ? His words again are glorious in the history of Israel:
"O our God, will You not judge them ?
For we have no power against this great multitude
that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do,
but our eyes are upon You" - II Chron. 20:12.
Again, from the volume With Heart ... Ch. 4, we find biblical definition of faith where it concerns the knowledge of God. Here we see it for more pervasive definition, in contrast with its opposite, in the midst of an unholy composure of a recidivist of real fame, the King Ahaz of ancient Judah.
It is conviction, certainty with which the prophet is to wait for it, THE FINAL OUTCOMES OF GOD, "for it will surely come" - though that is not yet. As Paul says,
"We were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope;
for why does one still hope for what he sees ?
"But if we hope for what we do not see,
we eagerly wait for it
The very redemption of the body is one of those things we await in the consummation, for which the stupendous power so far displayed in the creation and resurrection, is a preliminary testimony, as is the account, the witness of the Spirit of God in our hearts, who believe (Romans 8:22ff., 1:1-4, I Cor. 15).
The situation at first envisaged in the book of Habakkuk, like that in Romans, is the present consuming power of the curse, and in the earlier sections of the writing of the prophet especially, there is traced the parallel cursed seeming conduct on the part of the many, within this: unredeemed and looking like it! Indeed, in Habakkuk 1, we find the prophet, in the face of the eager, delusive appeal of "might is right" plunder, pride and arrogance, as one appalled and revolted. In such a debased environment, however, he finds that there is a certainty of a foundational kind, exactly as in Romans 8:18-31, in which life is to be lived. The stable, assured fidelity of mind, conviction of heart, imbued with the stability of God, is the way; for -
"WAIT FOR IT, FOR IT WILL SURELY COME" - 2:3.
What will come ? Redemption, rebuke, judgment and purification, all consummated in their time, when the courts are held, the worlds are stricken and the time is up.
Who then will come ? The One "whose ways are everlasting" (Habakkuk 3:6), and He will come for "the Salvation of your Anointed", providing for His Christ, the Gentiles for His inheritance (Isaiah 49:6, Psalm 2:8, 117), over whom He will rule (Jeremiah 23:5-6, 3:16-17); and the action will be one of drama and determination (Habakkuk 3:16).
For this then the prophet is the wait with a persistent, insistent, stable and assured fidelity: for the just will live by his faith (2:4). It is not yet. It will come. In the interim, a steadfast reliance on God is required, whatever the nets of violence may do (Hababkkuk 1:4,13-16), in their corrupted craft and violence. Receiving from Him who is stable, the means through being so founded, to be stable and unequivocal through trial, is the essence of the application in Habakkuk. God will act, first with the Babylonian discipline on Israel (Hab. 1:5ff.) in Habakkuk’s own day, later more fully on the world (Hab.3:3-16, cf. Isaiah 24). Meanwhile ? faith!
Again we see the same word (emunah), in Proverbs 12:22: "Those who deal with faithfulness are His delight" - a concept with is entirely parallel to this: "Without faith you cannot please God" - Hebrews 11:6). Once more we find it, in II Chronicles 19:9, where Jehoshaphat, the righteous king is telling the officials to deal justly. With faithfulness, reliability, scrupulous conscientious zeal, from a steadfast heart, resting in the entirely faithful God, they must deal. THIS is the faithful man who deals by faith, walks in it, and of whom it may be said: "Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times" and, "the fear of the Lord is his treasure" -Isaiah 33:6.
It is this faith, assured, stable, conviction, issuing in fearless action, embraced by hope, imbued with certainty, by which the just shall live.
Accordingly, the negative shute is just as clear, decisive and defined as the positive; but of course, in the opposite direction, with the contrary outcome. As Isaiah declares to the evasively religious and chronically troubled king Ahaz (Isaiah 7), faced with potential military disaster and set in a formula of sanctity which denies the fact -
"Ask a sign for yourself from the LORD your God:
ask it either in the depth or in the height above."
But Ahaz said,
"I will not ask, nor will I test the LORD!" (Isaiah 7:11-12).
In this phase at least, he appears the wriggler: and the reply ?
"Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also ?" (Isaiah 7:13). He missed the blessing, the powerful amazing blessing (ask it high to heaven, low to the depths!) and so became merely the instrument for hearing of the blessing to come! What was offered was unlimited; what was gained was according to his faith, or lack of it!
Obviously, we are in the unlimited dimensions of divine mercy and profundity of grace, those which in the end led the Son of God to be crucified on earth, as planned from the beginning and before the world so much as was. Yet in the face of this, just as the Christian, ALREADY provided with this Son (I John 5:12, Romans 8:32) has this vast provision, and acts in faith, so as one opposed, Ahaz acted in scribal seeming deviousness. He declined to ask and his answer was as if to make it a virtue actually to call in question the propriety of OBEYING A DIVINE COMMAND, namely ‘ASK’ - ask in whatever depth or dimension of the Lord, the matter requires. That was the authority the Lord gave him. That was what he declined to utilise!
How much worse, when this command was set in the celestial magnitudes the prophet was inspired to offer! How much worse yet, when the answer is clothed in sanctity, as if it were to "TEMPT" the Lord (a sinful thing) to OBEY the Lord. That is expressly Ahaz’ stated thought. The essence of liberalism was already in his heart, it would seem, and certainly displayed itself ingeniously in this instance. Here is the very perfection of infidelity, instability, non-certitude, of anti-emunah, to use our Hebrew topic word in this end-note!
By contrast, when amid his multiple reforms and constructive works, the great and generous King Hezekiah met with subtlety, propaganda warfare and invasion from a vast imperial body, Assyria, he went with the passion of prayer to seek the Lord, followed this to the prophet Isaiah, and waited carefully upon God. It reminds one, to some extent of the officially proclaimed DAY OF PRAYER, from the War Office, when Dunkirk was still just a little name, and before the marvel of the rescue of what seemed assuredly doomed. Hitler had not only other things on mind, but was rather keen at first on the British Empire, by report, conceiving that they could have the world, and he Europe. So does prayer operate where man cannot find a footing.
From Divine Agenda Ch. 9:
we see a warning about the deterioration potential in the realm of faith, when what bids fair to reach faith, is confronted with the resistance to recidivism, sluggishness which can readily expose a fraud which being never faith, slips away to where it belongs.
Then, the writer of Hebrews (6:9-10) in God's name exhorts them confidently and positively like this (bold added):
"But beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labour of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises."
Faith in God where He MAY be found (cf. Isaiah 55), in His Messiah, Christ Jesus, is an operative thing to the point that James advises us that faith without works is dead. It is like a branch without sap. It does not work that way. Faith in God in this way, is like access to personal power and provisions, depending on whom is the focus and what are those provisions. With God, the power is unique (Ephesians 1:19) and the access is vast (Hebrews 4, Romans 8:32ff.). Its PURPOSE is not pleasure but the good pleasure of God, His will, His working, His ways and His grace, His holiness, godliness a desideratum. It is like a river course: water in here and there is the channel; not a flood, water in anywhere and it can merelyravage.
We can look further in Hebrews 11.
From The Biblical Workman Appendix
In Hebrews 11:1-3, we find that it is characterisable in turn.
"FAITH IS THE SUBSTANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR,
THE EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN"...
(1. 'Substance' - assurance, substantiating force;
2."evidence" - ground of evidence, attestation, conviction - can be used in law.)
Perhaps we could render this, with some liberty:
Faith is the substantiating thrust of things hoped for,
the attestation of things not seen. . .
Faith is the assured certainty of things hoped for,
the bulking evidence of things not seen.
Thus WITH the assured conviction, comes action, with the action comes re-assurance, deposition all over again, since when a thing works, it shows itself to be what it declares it is, more and more. It is a self-strengthening function, because as you use it, it attests itself, and by that is meant, shows the reality all over again of what it relates to, which by working in this world, from that of the Creator, re-assures faith. It is assured from the works and ways of God, and then again, through the working of God's ways. it is a wonderful thing to have, faith; but it is because of God that there is this wonder. In the end, it is God whose name is WONDERFUL!
It is of immediate interest that ONE of the operations which characterises faith, is this: that
- "by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God,
so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible."
Faith moves in the domain of the invisible, visibly attested; and it is at home in that domain, able to see creation as it is able to move mountains and to understand the gospel. Let us look at 11:1, then, and the characterisation of faith there.
1) It involves a profound ASSURANCE which nothing is able to dismiss. It becomes integral and integumental. It is not mechanical however, and there is such a thing as reprovable small faith, as we see in episode after episode with the disciples, in the presence of faith - O you of little faith! He cries (cf. Matthew 6:30, 8:20, 14:31, 16:8, Luke 12:28.).
2) It also includes, incorporates, EVIDENTIAL IMPACT, as of a document drawn up in law. It has an outlook, an outcome and an income. It has CONVICTION based on reality. There is attestation as well as assurance.
It is, in other words, subjectively and objectively related; and both of these in a milieu in which the Lord Himself, from whom come the unseen magnificences to which we are introduced, is present.
That concerns its qualitative nature. Now we come to its operational functions!
This faith works miracles, moves mountains, overcomes kingdoms, receives persecution and beats it (Hebrews 11), in historical ways both basic to the whole development of the testimony of the Lord on earth from earliest times, and illustrative of its object, God Himself, in His use of it to bring mankind to the brink of deliverance, of salvation, of knowledge of the most High - though the turning from Him at times is also singular. Once in the faith, however, the man is justified, and will be glorified, yes and the woman and child equally (Romans 5:1-11, 8:29-36, John 10:9,27-28, and see Biblical Blessings, Ch.16 on Assurance).
Faith is the link; God is the power source, and the source of the faith. Faith is the trusting alliance; but when thus, on this objective ground of Christ crucified and risen, as the OBJECT of faith, the SUBJECT of faith, that is the believer, acts IN this faith, then WHAT GOD DOES is the next question. What HE does has of course all the habiliments of supernatural power, for such is His. It is rather like some 4 year old speaking to another ...
Biblically defined faith has a splendour of marvels such as Hebrews 11 traces with delighted fervour, for these things touch the summits of human experience; and while love is greater, love rejoices in the truth (I Corinthians 13), so that faith is borne in its arms, as distinct from the arms man so often bears, in unbiblical 'faith', to subdue by armies the work of spiritual reality, as if a young man sought to gain the heart of a maiden by twisting her arm. Twisty are the twisters, be they meteorological ones or human. Their ways are insurrection against God, and end only in sad twists to the straight path thus forsaken.
with related reference to Psalm 77
We have considered a little, biblical faith. Now comes the phenomenon of recidivism, and before showing more on its nature, one finds a passage in Psalm 77 which is redolent with it!
Therefore their days He consumed in futility,
And their years in fear.
When He slew them, then they sought Him;
And they returned and sought earnestly for God.
Then they remembered that God was their rock,
And the Most High God their Redeemer."
Despite even this, they then further fell away in time so that "they flattered Him with their lips and lied to Him with their tongue." They were neither faithful nor steadfast.
Recidivism comes from a Latin word for relapse, and refers either to repeated action or psychic condition, a return, a chronic tendency to return to criminal or inept forms of behaviour.
It is imaged in the priest who relapses into immorality, to unseat from a political post, an Archbishop deemed responsible for not dismissing him sooner; the failure of military commander Joab, who resorted to murder twice in ridding the King of persons to whom he was committed - at least in principle. It is seen also in the drained druggie who is dried out again and again, and reverts to become almost as damp as morbid self-damnation, as if it were just a weather phenomenon and one must get wet from time to time. It is looseness with what is good, laxity towards what is evil, and repeated failure to realise that these are not just accidental states, but tolerated conditions rich in ruin.
Its results may be wrongly attributed, as perhaps in the case first mentioned, as if a failure to discern invisible things like trustworthiness in someone else, is some sort of crime or failure, although the question of reporting or otherwise and the law then current, arises. However the character of recidivism is clear.
Nations can be guilty of it. Britain arose from putting off of the Roman Catholic (really a contradiction in terms, heightened by the prohibition of Christ in Matthew 23:8-10 and so Romanist) yoke, for some bad reasons at the time, but with good results since it was a Christ-contradicting grasp in the first place, fraught with blood-letting when burning did not pre-empt even that (cf. Ancient Words: Modern Deeds Ch. 14). Then the Anglican Church fell into High Church resistance and incursion, and then into indifference and more, so that the Prince has now talked of being not the Defender of the Faith (for Britain, to preserve it from further relapses), but the self-styled Defender of Faith, which is the opposite. Its meaning ? Apparently, it is that whoever believes whatever, so long it is a matter of faith, he is right there, for it; and in particular he has gone further than his earlier countrymen.
This time it is not an additive with profound results that is the fall of the land, but in his princely presentation, there lies even the advance of an idolatry for a god who even has a book which rejects Christ directly and absolutely in all His regalia of deity, power of redemption, in His cross of ransom and His resurrection of realisation. He even, by report. went to the USA to tell the President how good was the religion that went past Romanism to a direct rejection in the Islamic creation of someone with the same name as Jesus the Christ.
That is recidivism. But you say, Surely it is not the whole nation, but only an imagining Prince who has done this thing ? It is just that he WAS and still is a Prince! and if succession laws proceeded, and those living who related did not die first, and there was no stepping aside, he would be the so-called Head of the Church of England on earth; and the eminent mockery of such a position does not seem to have so very much stir! The C of E itself is declining in power, place and persuasion, and it is divided on fundamentals now more than ever; for it was never right to have a Church of the nation, since a Church must be based on believers, who IN CHRIST seek to carry out His will. Instead however of correcting this, the entire nation has now more and more a lapsed Church, an Australian Primate without dismissal having, for example, given it as his esteemed opinion, that Jesus Christ is not the only way to God (cf. Christ the Wisdom ... Ch. 1, esp.*1A, with Tender Times ... Ch. 7).
God, like some country, it is made to appear, you may reach by this or that method, choosing your own way; for on this perspective, He appears not particular, and indeed so approachable that you can invent how, and let Him deal with it however He will. HIS merely divine and personal ideas on the point are unimportant; take Him like those new sorts of teachers, resource persons who let you do your own thing in your own way, lest they dim your inventive brilliance, or spoil some creative masterpiece. There is perhaps never a more hideous invention than this to bypass God's word with your own ideas, based on nothing, and to let the inordinate love of God, which devised a way back, pass over your fevered brow like cool water, to come and go, while you get up and follow your own ideas anyway.
In fact, restoration for man by God has proven infinitely costly, the love limitless, the task to meet truth and justice with wisdom and mercy, holiness unwavering, restoration total, for those who come by faith, and thus RECEIVE GOD AS HE IS, by His own way, which being His, is the only road ever constructed. God knows God, knows man and has provided HIS way; and it is no sign of repentance to instruct Him on other ideas.
Indeed, Paul declares that even if he, or an angel, declared another Gospel, he would be accursed. Do I persuade men or God! he declares. Is it God who is placing opportunity in your hands, by a personal salvation, and Paul persuades you to adopt it; or is it man who puts opportunity in God's hands and is open to debate, compromise, qualification and even denial, all in a good cause. The latter is infinitely far off, and Paul excoriates it (Galatians 1:6ff.).
There is, to be sure, another way; and indeed there are many such paths. The destination, however is different. This way is to God, constructed under divine authority, the Gospel of salvation; the other way is for man to find, but it leads elsewhere than to the Redeemer, and thus is confined to judgment. Even in the more refined cases, when people actually bother to check up, and so search the Bible, if they do not ACT on it and "come to Me," as Christ declared, that you might have life!
Whether it be studying the stars or the scriptures, which give the way as Christ declared, it is the same in this, if you do not come to the Saviour, who as God became man, that man might be restored on repentance and faith in Him to God, then for all your knowledge or inventiveness, whatever the case, you are as bare of salvation and the security in spirit and life that is for ever, as if you were already dead (cf. Ephesians 2:3-5).
If you disdain the way of God, you find but the wisdom of invention, the path of perdition, showing the wisdom of autonomy with no more wisdom than that of an automaton. The Lord seeks; but alas, His withering scorn of presumption lingers long when one tastes it as in Proverbs 1 or Ecclesiastes 11-13! No less severe is His lament as in Luke 19:42ff. and in Jeremiah 13 or Isaiah 48:16ff., at the shame and sadness of loss!
Thus there is undoubtedly a grief in the skid-row spirituality which now, as in His own day on this earth, makes up ideas for Him, and follows its own knowing nose.
It matters not which former Church do departs from the Lord, and many have done so over time, the result of toying with truth, playing with the remedy, importing culture into the word of God, making of man a surveyor of the spiritual scene: the cost of departure is the same. You leave your own and only place for finding mercy.
Thus as now with many, you achieve the import of what in the Bible makes for hell, because of the wilful bypass of the divinely accorded mercy. Making another god with another quality and another procedure and another mind, it sets about making with this, a new type of mankind, sporting a moral innovation. That is one avenue. Remaining with God as He is, where He is, and receiving what He Himself gives: that is another. The two ways now are what is dividing the national English Church. Without acting, this lack of authority and discipline, reform and restoration means that the Bible here receives the recidivist shadows, along with ecclesiastical shudders and vainglory. A house divided against itself cannot stand, and what stands rank betrayal is already discountenanced, for faith without works is dead, and without faith you CANNOT please God.
Thus, on the one side and the other, in pacification or altercation, it moves to be sourced not only formally, in a nation, but in reconstitution of either God or His word or both; for after all, if you say who you are and what you want, and someone else uses your name for the absolute opposite, it is as much a character change as stealing your passport and using it. Is it then identity theft ?
The USA, in the double downfall of these two once leading nations of vast power, discipline and impact, similarly in no small way has moved again and again from a position where one President makes a testimony as a Christian without so very obvious failure; but later, another President praises a religion which puts at least the mental scimitar to Jesus Christ by decapitating His biblical glory, while still using His name; and then another again, coming afterwards, calls the Koran a holy book and commits - as far as he is able - the American people to NEVER having war with Islam. How does he know ? With so very many Islamic bodies making war on so many people for so very long with such very animated rush of ruin, and seeking so very martial a place in nations not a few, is this possibility out of the question ? Is an opposing Islamic alliance unthinkable, in view of Iran and Syria, and the growing possibilities in Egypt ?
Such fealty and fervid approbation of an anti-Christian innovation of the 7th century (A.D. not even B.C.) in its claims and book, of Islam, represents a progressive recidivism in the USA. It is not a stand-alone. The entire nation in many of its actions is becoming, it appears, increasingly immune to the moral call and majestic presence of Christ, so that sects become more and more acceptable, cohesions and mismatches with all kinds of morals and laurels become mere movements of rippling winds on the waters, carrying things about in the surge.
In parallel, the CIA can do this and that for the serious stuff if imagined survival as a goad, while the Secretary of State now and again, can engage in power-broking politics, and 'realistic' ruin can be feted as the nation surges into the amoral. You manage rather than meet Communism in Vietnam, just as male-female relationships are increasingly being 'managed'. Marriages of males or females have become visible, not only in an earlier surge alone in California, but now in New York, and many are the applicants.
A nation born with Pilgrims and those so keen on their pure religion that they changed continents or places to come, where one of the early States was in effect a Christian one, and churches multiplied free from nationalistic oppression, has changed. It has come to have so many gods with their own definitions, and these of anything from people evolving into gods, rather than emoting into devils, to those who as satanists have a different kind of desire, that it is as if medicine, spiritual medicine, were being outlawed.
When we learn (Israel My Glory, July/August 2011- Editorial pp. 6-7) that inmates of Guatemala are indulged in their desire not to be in sight of an American flag, and that the Koran must not be touched by alien hands but coddled in various cloths for any movement, we wonder who is prisoner and who the superintendent! So has the USA moved into an increasingly stunned neutrality - not as individuals or in some churches, but at the national level, as it develops its taste for a flagrant immorality posing as a serious contender for national acceptance.
What is it like ? It resembles a whirl-wind courtship with inevitable ruin amid the floundering confusion and profusion of eruptive motions based on an indifference to moral law as if it were merely a subject of the human psyche. Deeper and deeper goes the fairy dream that man is himself a donation from naturalistic processes, themselves providing man from nothing with everything, an unbounded delusion. Treating God, the 'God in whom we trust' as nothing is not nothing, not nothing at all! It is of infinite importance and has correlative results, unless the recidivism is corrected.
One takes no pleasure in seeing decline, whether of Spring flowers with their multitudinous magnificence, youth in its distancing decline, beauty in its ephemeral passing, courage in its sacrificial wonder, independence into debt or debt into disaster. In Australia, the land was rescued from huge debt dangers in years past, but with new Government, now has dipped into the depths with something in some ways approaching wantonry. With debt-leap, and national spending increasing in so many ways, while an atheistic nation is tapped for funds, it might seem that money and aid to independence by avoiding the depths of and with debt, is mere triviality.
SO it seems in the aggressive decades when you get a house and it rises in value as if caught up in the clouds and you increase debt because the capital rise outstrips it, until you are working in large mortgages and living not only in debt, but on it, and exulting in your wisdom: but indebtedness if invitation to control, instability, to commands from outside the nation, and is liable to failure in crisis. Such is the common way, until there comes a housing collapse as in the USA, or a wonderful life barrier to the young, as the overvalued houses become sinks for debt. Private enterprise is not so much used for large new capital works, as tax money so that sovereign debt can challenge the integrity and real independence of a nation.
Imagine the USA if it wanted to moderate Chinese ambitions regarding the residue who found refuge in Taiwan, when Communism used as in Russia earlier, the war weariness of a nation to SEIZE ITS POWER. Would the US ask for more debt in order to oppose China in any such case ? or might the debt be reduced as soon as possible by China, not keen to finance repulse ? Would policy follow weakness ?
Vast indebtedness readily reduces (as the case in the USA) air defence and hence increases in more ways than one, the lapse away from independence, and as this is repeated, it becomes a type of recidivism. No wonder there is such near to staggering conflict in the USA, on increasing this surging debt still further, and not even increasing taxes so that the people generally and on all sides have to fund what they are doing. There was a movement in a presidential campaign back some decades, to remove this liability; but it changed colour before the election, and the notion went. Debt would not be denied, not even over a system to cover it over the years.
Instead it grew. One hopes the nation will not follow it; for the USA in many ways has been a bastion of liberty, a citadel of kindness, for all its faults, and its recidivism is lurking like an assassin.
Nations in this are like individuals writ large; for just the same intemperate losses of direction, morality, ideals and application can come to the private as to the public, to the druggie or to the speculator, to the suburban entrepreneur as to the political liar.
RUIN AND REALITY
I once had a pastorate in the Chicago suburb of Hinsdale. It had been very rich. In the depression, it was alleged that there had been more suicidal millionaires, at least in proportion, than anywhere else. However that may be, it pointed the fact that high flying soaring into the clouds of aspiration, based on circumstances, can become sudden collapse when the source of one's confidence is pricked, and descends as if only ever made of air.
So recidivism, movement from apparent faith in God to apparent failure in this, departure from summits to spiritual squalor, can come like a storm, ruin in its wake, spiralling in calamity as if force were integral, and devastation a lively option. There is an end to the road of recidivism, and it is worse that that of mere unbelief; for in the former, there was a beginning, as in a crop sown on shallow soil, and hope was lively: but there is a death, when it all lies waste, its hope turned into hopelessness, with misdirected thoughts exposed as mere unhallowed hardihood.
Ruin can be total. An Empire can disappear. Babylon was taken in a night; Rome, the Bible tells us, as the source of a special kind of recidivism, will be gone in an hour (Revelation 18 cf. SMR pp. 946ff.). A flight to a world tyranny can be lost in a battle, as at Waterloo; an aggressor, reluctant to quit, can fail in mere hours, as at Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Indeed, in 6 hours at Calvary, the world can and did, inherit cumulative war and folly; but the way out has remained available on the other hand for two whole millenia, by faith, through this same crucifixion of the Saviour, the Son of God, according to plan and at the predicted time (cf. SMR Ch. 9 and Christ the Citadel... Ch. 2), the resurrection then to occur, as it did, in just three days, neither more nor less, as predicted (cf. SMR Ch. 6, Matthew 16:21, 20:19 - 26:32, Mark 9:31, 10:34).
Faith is confirmed; recidivism inherits what comes to it. It may move high, as in Revelation 17 for a little; but its end is confirmed. Recidivism ? Certainly, yes, for this world has had numerous and vast expressions of the Christian faith, which now being increasingly polluted with presumption, philosophy and desire, is increasingly left for many people and nations, as an incredible tortured rump, rather like the Christ on the Cross (as in Isaiah 52:12-15).
Ruin can have its ebb and flow, as revival arrives, as with King Josiah; but this is not necessarily with any permanence, as recidivism, precisely as came after Josiah to Judah, seeks to reclaim what it had lost, and assures itself of devastation.
On a small scale, this came to Judah as you find in II Kings 25, for example; although after 70 years following that most sheer tragedy imaginable on this earth (Lamentations tells it), they had as predicted (Jeremiah 25), a new opportunity and a blessed help in rebuilding.
On a large scale it comes to this earth, when the numerous national illustrations of this mode of ruin, being ignored, the finale of deviousness meets the finale of judgment (as in Revelation 19-20). Israel has performed a remarkably apt service in showing what happens in this field on a more limited scale, with hope yet left in its day; and in view of this, it is not so amazing that the world as a whole reaches its own end, large-scale, when its eccentricities and unfaithfulness have risen like a weather-balloon into the atmosphere, this time to be blown away.
It is better to trust in the Lord than in the laws of man, the lore of philosophy, the lords of creation who demand we accept their fabrications, imaginations and illicit contortions (cf. Romans 1:17ff.). It is better without either vacuity or recidivism, itself the property of a fraudulent, false or merely superficial faith, to find as in an experiment, the fact of faith that if God be for you, what can be against you! Indeed, if you please God, what does the rest really matter! It is as in Habakkuk 3:17-19. Having found the fact through faith, with the ardent support of reason, no incidental fact weighs comparably. Instead, the only possible source of final fact, the God who being the truth, and being not a mere reactive medium, has it, looms like a silver lake in Spring, with torrents of trees and birds amid the sprinkled flowers, in peace and with depth.
Yes more, judgment dethroned at Calvary for believers in Him, in His word, in His Messiah, He is as One for whom this is but a scene of splendour, just one ... Having and being the truth, it is He and He alone at the outset, who can enable the truth to be proclaimed: that about the nature of things, what is what and why, instead of mere self-contradiction on barren models without truth or power or basis*3.
Faith moreover has its own reward: when you KNOW GOD, it not only explains all things, but provides access to the very source of personality, like knowing the artist, and not merely his paintings.
DECAY, DISSOLUTION and ... TIME UP!
First, of course, you need something run up so that it can run down, and have due process in the negative performance; and causality so that it can go on its own way down according to law and procedure, just as it gained law and went up as a prelude preferable to nothing, in that it is not magical. It is might, not magic, that is required; a creation not a conclusion without ground, that is in view. On the way down, there is continuity in measure, so that it can manifest its characteristics. Empirically as logically, these include the continual trend toward deterioration and non-elevation of being, form and content, except by intelligence with suitable power attached. That is the way it goes when it gets there.
As noted in Possess Your Possessions Volume 10, Ch. 3:
In creation, God unleashed His word, and it was done. SINCE God finished it, man has been without excuse, his disjunction from God and His works varying from fiddling follies in inchoate philosophy (cf. Spiritual Refreshings Ch. 13), to pseudo-subtle ramifications and infractions of logic (cf. SMR Ch. 3) in the very face of obvious, competent, all-inclusive answers to every major category
(cf. TMR, SMR Ch. 5, Predestination and Freewill Section 4,
LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST,
WHO ANSWERS RIDDLES,
AND WHERE HE IS, DARKNESS DEPARTS,
Bible or Blight, Christ or Confusion:
The Comprehensive Resolution of Man's Intractable Problems
is Found Only in the Bible, the Word of God,
Deity and Design ..., esp. 8).
Not only so, examine as you will, it IS finished in all major designs (designs decreasing rapidly in number, according to Professor Stephen Gould of Harvard, in his Wonderful Life (cf. Wake Up World! ... Ch. 6), while the human genome rapidly is deteriorating according to Professor Sanford of Cornell University (cf. Waiting for Wonder ... Appendix).
That is the way with designs in this world; they tend to come apart; and these have lasted several thousands years, auto-serviced and reproduced, a miniaturised marvel of intricate complexity, susceptible to concept, governing by language, commanded to be what it is. Nature is recipient. Life is by command, in its physical aspect. Evolution is a mere myth; creation happened and leaves a trail in all categories (cf. SMR pp. 140ff.). Reason and empirical evidence insist! If you deny both, both deny you.
See Spiritual Refreshing Ch. 13 for diverse reactions to reality as man used imagination, flirting with fancy as now, in ways not so very dissimilar ... but not all are so. The malady is not however unpopular, rather like a pandemic, in this case forwarded by many with a sort of rancorous enthusiasm, as seen in the evaluation and explanation found in Romans 1:17ff..
See on bits and bitsism:
Waiting for Wonder Appendix, Reflections Ch. 4,
The gods of naturalism have no go! Preface.
See more broadly: Message of the Words of God to Man in the World Ch. 5,
See Deity and Design ... 8. See also SMR Chs. 3 and 10, with Ch. 5.