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THE SECOND STRATEGY
Lessons from Tennis
It was of course an interesting spectacle, but it was more than that.
One of the world's rising tennis stars had been receiving a significant lashing from a tersely triumphant, rather harrowed looking, but intensely focussed young lady, of sudden impact on the tennis scene.
There was a certain finality - authority has long been a received term, now hackneyed past likely redemption - about her strokes. The other tried, to be sure; she retrieved and showed real capacity to handle fierce if not fearsome looking strokes; but then she was not much in the forefront of the initiative, and like a former champion playing with Capriati later, was showing remarkable powers of countering the onslaught, without equal show of achieving aims of her own.
It seemed clear, and I went to bed. She would lose. Why stay up to see more of the same! My wife however spent more time on the spectacle. Later to my amazement it appeared that the lashing lady had been beaten. Why ? Gradually, it appeared, that the one who started by winning, had lost force and focus, whilst the other, always resilient and making endeavour to use strategies of her own, or at least some sort of enterprise CONTINUALLY, developed. The one, perhaps through loss of physical vigour for that very demanding style of game, perhaps through loss of concentration, or a certain sense of uncertainty about the end of the matter, starting hitting balls out, not in; making perhaps the odd double fault; whereas the other rose in vitality and determination, finding more apt response, perhaps, to a game to which she was growing accustomed. She won.
Now the point is this: there is sometimes a second strategy. If what you are doing does not work, then perhaps you have something else, some weakness to expose, some combination to assemble, in your procedure FOR JUST SUCH A TIME as this.
you were a coach of wide experience, or exceptionally gifted with insight,
you might EVEN perhaps have been able to see the sort of the game the other
tended to play, realised the sort of weakness which you might find in a
little time, or even find ways of stimulating its arrival, and then have
a predetermined path for showing a new and unexpected initiative, so that
the weakness being duly exposed, as it were, for your tanks to enter, you
had a PLAN FOR THE TANKS thereafter.
The SECOND STRATEGY.
1) GETTING TO THE POINT
It is not so very remarkable if someone thinks; or if someone thinks ahead; or if someone thinks ahead with significant and probing depths to the thought; or with envisagement of possible developments; or with consideration for possible responses; or with insight into the type of events to be expected, or those to be inserted from one's own side, as a potential strategic development in any contest.
That is man.
He is not very clever in this sort of thing, most often, when it is GOOD things which are envisaged and sought, yes and even desired. Consult world history. The leaders are frequently ruffians, exploiters and knaves, incredibly selfish, or drugged with the dope of erratic doctrines, seized with the fevers of grandeur, cruelty or self-advancement, either in history as it came, or as it would come - a disease of the last century when dictator or president alike seemed inflamed with the memorial museum of one kind or another, in word or deed or both.
goodness is to be found, and marvellous examples of benevolence, heartiness
and insight, vision and love of truth abound; but they do not RULE in this
world. This is not the norm.
As John puts it, "the world is in the wicked one" (I John 5:19). That is where it finds the distress used as a substitute for the rest of the Christian, in spirit (Isaiah 57:19-21, 26:1-4).
Charles Dickens' Children's History of England is a dismal work in this regard. He is monumentally unimpressed, and one of this author's great contributions, for his part, is his impression. Few of the kings, he concludes, were anything that could be called ... good!
Let us however pursue an additional feature which Dickens' history here evokes. It is statedly for children, but with what language, and with what detail! As a lecturer-teacher in the field of English and Communication, at various tent-making assignments (Acts 18:3), one is MOST impressed with the sort of education which the children to study that book of Dickens would have required. It certainly is some indirect evidence for the author's observations of decades, that English teaching, with the bizarre philosophy of making English a servant to 'real' studies, has reached a nadir from which one can only hope that one day it may recover. It is not the cleverness of teacher or student, but the attitude which is in view.
Does it pay ? Does it lead to this career or that ? These questions arise as English is squashed without its heritage examined, its resources admired, its testimony to and from thought exploited or its finesse of style adequately considered. The glass and concrete style abounds, as if the invisible being for invisible reasons visibly removed, there is nothing to do but make what you want happen. This extreme pragmatism, merely one symptom of the death of the soul of modern man in what could be called the second dimension, the cultural additive to the essential condition: the symptoms of the moribund are exalted and disease of torpitude is hailed as cool, as health. It is like funeral music for the functionless society, which, having worshipped 'nature' as if blind, for so long, now becomes deaf to the music of the life of the heart of man, in words! *1
The resources of former generations become scenes of archeology, and words pass from usage because other words will DO; as if the Taj Mahal were to be turned into a 'functional' block of flats.
This, in terms of the means of expression, is naturally a function of the focus of expression, what man wants. When God is not that, the terminology appropriate tends to decay, the means of expression seem to diminish, and the wit of man is more and more bound to his will, his implements corresponding. 'Man' - this is a generalisation, to be sure, culturally, for he varies; but there is a spirit of the Age, and there is a combination of trends, especially in the industrially developing and electronically secure countries, which makes the generalisation one which finds no dearth of examples. Other trends exist; it is a question of the direction of dominance...
If then, the words and the means of expression for and of the spirit of man are declining in many ways, as other things, such as HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT FOR MONEY AND POWER climb into the cock-pit and grab the controls: this is not an accident. Naturalism, obsessed with impossible, irrational and unattested symphonies of the arrival of the soul (which it normally rather forgets anyway, in its insistence for some reason on the SURVIVAL of the body) is here having its heady love of the body, heavily exposed. It has seduced the spirit of many to the point that they love what is beneath their gifts, and misuse, abuse and ignore their gifts, like lazy beneficiaries of State aid, who inhabit new blocks of flats, and superintend their demise in a few short years of disregard, ingratitude and neglect.
fallen cannot fall any more ? Not at all. If you fall, you may skin your
knee and then get up.
You may however find in the dust, a discarded razor and start cutting off the rest of your skin.
So is modern man: without God, without covenant, without Christ, without direction, talking rubbish about non-direction while attesting the intoxication of the concept by directing thought to its defence, when it is defenceless and a mere submission and surrender of direction-finding equipment. Aborted in this cynicism, he lies in the dust, and mutilates - with the millions of bodies of the slain or disfigured whom he is fond of dismembering, his own soul.
2) THE SITUATION,
AND THE REBUKES FOR WRONG AIMS
It is still there. Aesthetics still exists. Peace may still be found. Beautiful deeds still sprinkle themselves like salt on steak; but they are not merely sedulously swamped by sullen spiritless poverty of soul, that flows in like radio-active rivers released from distant scenes, so that the solution is weak: they are being increasingly and profoundly disregarded, unless perhaps some glory for man or his thoughts is involved.
world is set in terminal disease, and the death-rattle is beginning to
be heard, in the absence of language but much more, in the definite, determinate
desire of very many teachers and students who follow them, to dismember
the language in its integrity, and merely use it to get things. If this
were followed in surgery, why, use a kitchen knife, it cuts. In architecture
? use glass and concrete, it stands. People can shelter in it...
Such a philosophy for a car driver would register as insane. If he failed to consult the road maps, it would indicate something perhaps rather worse, a suicidal tendency; and if it were done in a stark and heat-stricken land, where fierce beasts and dangerous sands abounded, it would raise questions of different kinds, none pleasant. The means of life and the continuance of the biological mechanisms, programs and procedures, as an aim, it is mere destruction of the guidance and goodness and meaning areas of the human soul, through loss of vital contact with its source.
What is it like ? It is like a vine plucked up by the roots. It shrivels; if it could think, it might wonder how it ever bothered considering before, the questions of leaves and grapes. Why, is it not still a piece of wood ? What, it might ask with shrivelled heart and mind, is the point even if it had these attributes, with all the bother they might involve!
Whether, however, in tennis or elsewhere in the affairs of men, there is procedure WITH direction, WITH strategy, or without; and within that, there is procedure with wise strategy, or without, understanding strategy or without; and within that, as noted at the first, there is the question of a SECOND STRATEGY, if you might need it.
Often nations and peoples, yes and churches have revived. At last gone are their formal dictatorships, their highly un-altruistic aristocracy, of the imperial or Marxist types, the former with more virtues and morals in this, that many of them at least in Britain, had Christ and showed it, like Wilberforce and young Henry VI, like the Earl of Shaftesbury; while in the latter case, this would be heresy even to SAY! In this the Communist case, morals have been kidnapped by the State, and are to mean whatever it decrees because it decrees it. For its part, it claims it is scientific, though how we could find what we OUGHT to do from anything which simply HAPPENS is a question without answer. (Cf. SMR pp. 925ff.)
It is a question begged, in a bowl of discomfort, when none can spare a coin. It is mere demand from the most impudent aristocracy, perhaps, the world has ever seen. That, it is too typical of the wisdom of this world, that the class-free society is the most classic case of class emphasis one can find in the annals of history. It does not, let us say it softly, even work. It does precisely the opposite. It has, at least, as much precision as that!
Again, the children of men may reform and be what they were supposed to be, a blessing and a difference, allowing by diversity of function, richness of result. It is often not so much the political system, provided it does not take over as 'god', but the WAY and the SPIRIT and the INTENT of it, that matters. Obviously, however, it is ultimately the spiritual dimensions in which it is bred and lives, and has its being, which matter.
Here lie motives, motivation, and from this comes nobility or inculpation. Here is the provision for directional living, and the RIGHT direction. As often seen earlier (see Index Morality), this is necessarily a function of nothing less than knowing the MAKER of the Universe, since mere prescription of desire, without total knowledge and relationship to reality in the design of man, cannot masquerade successfully as right. It can only use the word for WANTED, a very different thing. When the right thing is known, God is known: it is simple as that.
When God is known, as He must for 'right' be known, and as He enables Himself to be known, not in the dim mists of final thought, but in terms of His own revealed and proclaimed truth indeed, and reached by faith with personal acquaintance, by His appointed Gospel way, and with knowledge from His propositional pronouncements, then direction is found. It is then and then alone that right known, from the absolute truth, subject to none, limited by none, distorted by none.
Man, then, is in a mess. It increases; and his power to improve on its depths increases, like naughty little boys given power, who can excavate a hole by using TNT while Dad is away or otherwise occupied; and by dint of much reading, do it better and better. It is not admirable; though you cannot help ... noticing it.
is important in such a case. You can simply rebuild, as after World War
II, and give lots of money, as the USA grandly did (and one does not in
the least minimise the expenditure and the giving side of it - praise
where it is due for what is due): but WHAT was it rebuilding with Marshall
and other aid, in Europe ? and WHY ? WHY ? WHY ? Was it to profit by renewed
to deliver the oppressed from ruin ? to stir the economies of many nations so that they could better fit themselves for their own living again, as the war desolations receded ? Doubtless these and other reasons played a part, here and there, in this and that leader or approach.
BUT giving is not the entire answer: it is what one gives, and why, and the DIRECTION of it and the STRATEGY of it, which is important. If physical LIVING is the aim, then the thing is indeterminate in direction, and the omission is fatal, as has by now been demonstrated in the Middle East and elsewhere to the point almost of observational nausea.
AFFLICTIONS IN THREE NOT SO EASY LESSONS
If living prosperously is the aim, WHY ? Is having much the end of man ? Then war shows its folly in a very few well-placed atomic bombs, and the environment guffaws, as it is desolated so quickly for time to come almost unthinkable, in this continent or that.
If living gently is the aim, in what direction of flow, of emphasis, and what of the nature of man, and the causes of infliction - and affliction, for that matter! And this brings us where we must go.
The AFFLICTIONS of man come from three obvious sources (this does not in the least preclude less obvious ones! but merely itemises what is obtrusive...).
First, there is the affliction of the spiritually, mentally or ideationally demented, who MUST do this and that, and do, and there are results which WILL arise. These are often highly paid and in positions of economic or political management.
This is man's own contribution to man, in this area, like those gentle nudges of Hamas, to tell Israel that it really has TOO MUCH land, and the Arabs too little, although the disproportion is already ludicrously in their favour, indeed to the point that a little more and Israel would not only be ALMOST indefensible, but in human terms, ALTOGETHER so. The world listens to such things, as if hypnotized, deluded, or denuded of powers of observation, and unacceptable levels of response are rebuked by nations which might have removed another country which dared to do 1% of this damage to its OWN people, or come anywhere NEAR so close to its own White House or Palace with deadly machineries of destruction.
Secondly, there is the affliction of 'nature'. Having been deified witlessly, it does not show much gratitude. After all, it is the same with children: make too much of them, indulge them and make them princes before they show any trend to act like it, and you merely threaten to corrupt them with too much notoriety before they are ready. Oak trees are wonderful things, but as saplings they are far from ready to announce their wonders. Hence natural phenomenon, not really worshipful, but our stage, become quite blatant, rather than latent, when they are regarded as the ultimate.
Imagine actors trying to work out the plot of the drama, from the construction of the stage; and if, indeed, they even went further and tried to work out how the wood 'arose' from the way the pieces were assembled, it would bring a sense of mental tragedy to the whole bizarre intoxication of thought and brevity of wisdom. There would be nothing noble about the Play, if this were the preoccupation of its actors! So is the case, in the main, among the nations. In fact, the sorrows of Revelation's depiction, come nearer and nearer, till the Victorian Age, in England in much so notable and noble, powerful and progressive in arts and refinement, comes to be a thing of wonder, like some Art Gallery.
This of course is in no way to minimise its errors, but it is at last (it is time someone did it) to remember its graces, virtues, its progress in knowledge and its application of understanding in many ways, however blind it tended to be in others. It was a rising national age; but this is a falling one. That had faults; this is as a tiny colony of scurrying ants on a fault incline, one constantly raising itself up to a higher angle, as the febrile inhabitants write articles about the direction of things, and the end of the things once that direction is followed; and then say that it is really just one of those things, whatever these may be, and continue till destruction is their only remaining offspring, and the tab of their tableau.
The third affliction is divine. God is not pleased with pleasure as king, with pomp as prince, with pride as determinative and rebellion as a substitute for reason, with lordliness for logic (cf. Amos 4, 6, Isaiah 48).
Lordliness ? you ask. But of course! Man is lord of his life because he is lost from his Maker and decides to lord it over himself with all the hauteur of French aristocracy before the revolution, and all the blood of the French Revolution, when it became like so many others, the drench Revolution, killing its leaders in good Communist style, as if to show the way.
this is known from such sources as Amos 4, where the progressive divine
rebuke is made clearer, as if in a geometrical exercise; but the heart
is no mere geometry. God's cries to man, as in Ezekiel 33:11 and Matthew
23:37 and I Timothy 2 and Colossians 1:19ff., and in the Gospel as in John
3:16, are followed by His judgments as in John 3:36 and Revelation 9, in
Amos 4 and Jeremiah 25. Justice does not go on holiday when mercy is rejected:
God asks with meticulous mercy, WILL YOU DIE!
3) THE SECOND STRATEGY IN THE ETERNAL KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
LET US NOW
RETURN TO OUR COMMENCEMENT EXERCISE.
God who made us with the facility for thought, and the capacity to receive wisdom, is its source. Without Him, there is nothing in meaning, in knowledge, or in life (cf. SMR Chs. 1, 3).
He made us free, but sin has everywhere invented chains. (That is what Rousseau would more accurately have said.) The chains are not always of his own invention, but always at his own call; and when he calls, he does not always realise, like a mindlessly noisy brat, that he is doing so.
It may even seem just ever so slightly undignified, even in analogy, to refer to man as 'brat', but this is not what is being done. It is being declared that sin has a brattish aspect, and its results are often comparable too, except that mercy makes the result so subdued for so long, AT TIMES, that people tend to forget, in the midst of the love and mercy of God, that there are ANY results at all. Then talk of natural catastrophes and means of meeting social needs and so on, and go on provoking the catastrophes and increasing the needs like a compulsive alcoholic, unable either to stop or even to consider the effect of alcohol on the domain of his life; because, you see, it is part of his internal CULTURE (that so sacred word, which simply means what you are all up to, and inclined to do, and have been inclined to do, or are becoming disinclined to do, with nothing in the least sacred, except when sacred things were what you were doing - rather than sacrilegious!).
God enabled man to be a person; and that is what we are, persons.
imagine two great nations swallowing
Nazism's wholly unattested cultural rubbish, or Communism's wholly unscientific
reductionism, which explained nothing and was verified in nothing but in
the attestation of the fallacies at the first, in the results at the last,
of forgetting the very soul of man who made the theory! Imagine them embroiling
the world in World War II, and then Word War II, the Communist one, called
cold and very cold in heart it was.
Is this thought ?
or is to be found in the maniacal misuse of the mind of man,
either in formulating irrationality as a base for reason,
or assigning to this illusory nullity (cf. SMR pp. 284ff.),
its meaning, its origin, its outcome and its signature,
as if reason condoned omission as a ground of commission,
absence as a ground for presence,
evacuation as a method of coming;
or as if mankind could with any reason find ground for seeking most actively
to suppress those who could not agree with this fiasco of fanfare, with mindless torture!
Is reason to 'arise' from its demise or its absence ? Is energy sourced in nothing ? Is will found in vacuity ? Is oppression to be found in imagination as its ground, invalidity as its basis*2
and is hell to be despised while it seems its ways are already for some, on this earth!
How bright do you have to be, to notice the discrepancy is infinite between such assurance and such a basis, such delusion and performance, such concoctions of thought, and coherence, such empty vanity and the due contributions of causality, such dismissal of reason given as reason for dismissal! How COULD millions follow the unproven, the disprovable and the irrational, to impose on millions loss of live or peace, of tranquillity or agility, of power to walk, or power to have children; or provide for them destruction and poverty, of which the state of Africa now is adequate attestation.
Things COULD have been used for different aims, with very different results. Yet man aims for ... this or that un-magnificent obsession, which is flaming for a few years, then a fallen devil for the rest of history.
He has the POWER to disprove these things; but repeatedly, he does not use it in PRACTICE till their evil work is done.
He is RESPONSIBLE for what he does; and God elects to discipline him; but also to appeal, to provide and to hand down His second strategy.
What is that ?
It is known as the Christian Gospel, because it is from and in and through CHRIST Jesus, who died as predicted and when predicted and for the reasons predicted, the purpose predicted and with the result predicted (cf. SMR Ch. 3); and because it is good news, which is what 'gospel' is.
There is no logical reason why God should want to be loving or merciful or pardoning, or to delight in giving. It is a matter of this and this alone: WHO He is. He is the beginning and the end, without whom, naturally, nothing else would have had the wherewithal to be; and He is eternal, since without this, He would have nowhere from which to come; and WHAT He is eternally, is precisely this, JUST and MERCIFUL. So His word (cf. SMR Ch. 1, Repent or Perish Chs. 2 and 7) declares. In justice, He repays, but quietly at times, and only when massively and finally provoked without reason and with evil intent, does His judgment prevail mightily as in the Flood which so many love to ignore (cf. The Other News 1). And ... if you will excuse the intrusive form of syntax - just as God predicted would be the case as the Age came near its terminus, this deluge they would love to ignore. This is the case in this current syndrome of events, wholly parallel to that predicted for our terminal velocity in history (cf. Joyful Jottings 8, Answers to Questions Ch. 5).
SINCE man did not elect to follow, there was another plan that would interrupt the vexatious end that could have been invoked. Rather another plan, long prepared (Revelation 13:8) was brought into operation from the God of love and mercy, truth and justice (cf. Benevolent Brightness or Brothy Bane Ch. 87 ), mercifully, the only One there is. This did not entirely debar the disaster sequences - mitigated by divine patience, but not dismissible by the divine justice, in the end: for such an omission merely fortifies evil, reduces truth and makes captive of reality, to endless grind and twisting, in deplorable depths that produce nothing but a sort of mental and then social and biological vomit from the tension. Yes, indeed, God had another plan. It controlled the result, but did not deny it; it met it, but did not sidestep the issue.
Now consider: we were looking at tennis players. We saw that one could envisage, if gifted enough, the sort of plan and play of an opponent, and devise a plan which, when the first one was foreseen in thought as failing, would constitute a second and new approach which, being unexpected, could take the match, and win it.
This is for mere man! Even he can do this .. With God, however, the entire comprehensive understanding which comes from entire comprehensive construction and entire oversight of the derivative spirits of man from the engineering activities to the cognitive actualities, and indeed of the spiritual dynamics, far beyond the insight of any author into the characters in a book: it is so great that it is a very straightforward matter for Him to provide a second plan.
What is a further result of His unique position as author of ALL that is NOT GOD - the rest, is this.
He foresees (more than champion Lindrum might, the final placement of the billiards balls to result from one stroke of the cue) what is to be. More than that, He knows what He thinks of it before it happens in the world of simple historical fact. Again He is aware of what MEETS HIS OWN SPECIFICATIONS. God, He is: "I am who I am," He declares (Exodus 3:14) - later condensing to this, "I am"! That was HIS NAME! By this, the people in Egypt were to KNOW Him!
He is underivative. It is marvellous that He is kind and compassionate, giving in fact the base for our own qualities in these areas, when we are not obsessed or invaded or paraded by the sergeant-major, SIN, or is it the Cardinal ?
What comes in the SECOND STRATEGY must therefore conform to what He is. That is for Him to display, and He has done so. He is who He is, and all He does is according to this reality. Our own strategies tend to do the same, when we are not pathologically minimised or confused, through lack of God in our lives, so aborting and short-circuiting our normal derivative dynamics, and making us less than clear.
then of this second strategy, the therapeutic one ? Its quality must be
HIS; its brilliance will be HIS; its EFFECTIVENESS will be HIS. It is known,
since time is merely an interruption of man's power to attain, which God
invented, whose power being unlimited, knows no breach or intrusion.
It is all known as if it is read before, in a record. "All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account!" (Hebrews 4:13). Thus you see how many of those called infra-lapsarians lapse in not realising the greatness of God, as if at the fall of man, He did not know and have it all ready before the earth was made (indeed we were chosen to be His, who are so, before the earth was so much as in existence; and He knew not a mere plan but its very eventuation! - Ephesians 1:4). But the superlapsarians in their statements can give perhaps the intimation that it is all a lordly exercise in such style that man suffers in order to show the glory of God, from the outset, sin apart. You might argue that God knew of the sin and hence this was not an intrusion, to be sure, but simple therapy for foreseen fall.
However, the tendency with these, as with loss of knowledge in the infralapsarian sort of position as a vulnerablility, is the loss of love. It tends to appear as a grandiose scheme of an aristocrat, not greatly sensitive to the result; and this in a way quite starkly contrary to the compassion and suffering endured in Christ on the cross, also eternally determined (Revelation 13:8). The point rather then is this, when one looks at all the scriptural provisions, and considers the greatness of God as it is, and is revealed indeed to be. IN LOVE God foresaw, and did not despise His own suffering or the results of sin, in terms of the wonders of love where it could be met.
When time is dismissed, the results will be eternal. It is so now; but then there will be no place but the eternal place, to be given in its time (Revelation 21). Then time will no more be a barrier, but an implement. In the meantime, the results are being DEMONSTRATED to one and all, in this world. The mercy is present here as it was in the first in His heart, which does not change; and the elect are manifested here as they were in the first in His mind; and the results are made clear here, as they were in the first in His knowledge. Of course He knew; and of course He who knew, knew with love, since that is what He is! (I John 4:7ff.).
Hence neither a lordly superlapsarianism nor a diminuendo infralapsarian position, as often found, expresses the situation. GOD KNOWS ALL and FOREKNEW ALL and LOVED ALL (I Timothy 2), so that He planned for all after the fall, before the fall; and He knew and composed the SECOND STRATEGY of the Gospel, not merely before it was called for, but before creation was permitted (cf. Isaiah 51:16 cf. Spiritual Refreshings fo the Digital Millenium 15 on this). When man was down and hopeless, there was the lift, the elevator to heavenly places in Christ. If man is too proud to take it, so be it, the stairs end in the swamp. You cannot climb to the stars that way, far less beyond them!
God knew what He would do before man found what he had done; and God provided from the outset in the protevangelium (Genesis 3:15), the plan; and then in the Cross, that result of such prophetic ministration and divine counsel, of so many historical preparations and preliminaries, and that cause of such godly sorrow and grief in Christ BEFORE HE SUFFERED IT (Hebrews 5:7), Indeed, He did it! (as forecast of Himself in Hosea 13:14, Ezekiel 34, Isaiah 40:10). As incomparably superior - as in knowledge, since all things are known to Him, even all His works from the first, and He is able even to DECLARE the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), in detail: so He is also as more tender - in solicitude, than any could conceive (Ephesians 3:17-20). He WAS it from the first, and He knew it to the last.
So do we find in the word of God the resolutions of what divides, and the instructions of what disheartens. We ALSO find the Gospel which delivers. Read Isaiah 61:1-2 and rejoice, but do not forget the last particle of that statement*3.
Is it then your strategy, first or second or even later, to ignore the SECOND STRATEGY OF GOD, known to Him from the first, and the ONLY strategy for man IN SIN. THIS is the only remedy. This is the divine reality. It is here, in His word, that lies the solution to every moral, practical and logical conundrum, and nowhere else (cf. SMR Ch. 5, Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 11). God does not change. It is this or not nothing.
Not that the 'nothing', as Jesus indicated of Judas, is nothing at all; but merely nothing that is, that works, that endures, that is capable, competent and sustainable. When Jesus was affirming of Judas that it would have been better for such a man not to have been born (for him), it is something which follows. What does this mean ?
It means this: that judgment is something. Man and his world are seeing it rise to a crescendo like the wail of British sirens while the enemy planes wafted over to their own destructive devices. The world itself will end in nothing, being burnt up (II Peter 3, Isaiah 51:16); for to it belongs the nature which is to be replaced, the name of polluted. When the play is over, the struts no more needed. But man, he will not so end. His shame, if he aborts mercy, is his own and his guilt, it is preferred, for its despatch is provided for, in that profound and perfect second strategy of God (Daniel 12, Mark 9). Judgment! It is NOT that God did not think of it at first; it IS that man had to be given opportunity NOT TO NEED it; yet, being reduced by his own fault, he comes now to the point where he needs it, and in the divine counsel and compassion may have it. The Gospel, this also he may have, and have it: NOW! The one is here; the other comes. It comes in manifest stages on earth; it is completed after the play is over (Acts 17:31).
The Gospel ? the second strategy ? The world chooses to do without this, being otherwise occupied (John 14:30). But God chooses to allow any to have it, any church, any individual in any race. There is nothing aristocratic about that. I WOULD ... but you WOULD NOT! we find in Matthew 23:37. HIS compassions see past all the disease of man's soul, and HE is able to redeem ANY. To want it otherwise is not to have it. To invent or add or subtract is merely to reject what is your dish, the gift given, the decree declared, the provision for pardon. You do not invent God or what He says, except perhaps where your mind has gone, or will becomes so overbearing that you forget who and what you are. That is where you run into Galatians 1, Isaiah 8:20 and Matthew 5:17ff..
NOT to have God is the ultimate HAVE-NOT, and it is not historically induced, merely historically attested. He is as near as hands and feet, and His word has anointed the earth for millenia, as invariable as the sun, and more so, for it changes, but He does not. What is your strategy ? The delicious folly of irrationally preferred and voluntarily constrained blindness ? or light ! In spiritual things, God is as far beyond Turner the artist, as infinity from minus infinity; and more: for these are but computational modes, but He, He invented computation for a world He also invented, as we know it. His beauty is the source of it all, while man's sin has an wholly unaesthetic conclusion, to match it.
I, said Christ, am the light of the world! (John 9:5). He always has been and will be for that which is to be (Revelation 21:23); but the world, it will not always be!
are ancient words, there is the ancient ensemble, and the modern world
is just the same as when it was first created, except for this, sin entered;
and it now needs evacuation, not vacation, according to those ancient words
which direct history and offer protection to its denizens. It will be evacuated,
by virtue of the ground itself, departing; but the ground of salvation,
this never departs as long as it is taken, and may be taken!
"Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
And look on the earth beneath.
"For the heavens will vanish away like smoke,
The earth will grow old like a garment,
And those who dwell in it will die in like manner;
But My salvation wil be forever,
And My righteousness will not be abolished"
See Barbs, Arrows and Balms Appendix I,
Stepping Out for Christ
Chs. 7 and 8 ;
Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming Ch. 5.
*2 Cf. That Magnificent Rock Ch. 5
Isaiah 61:1-3 starts with glory and ends with judgment, when the glory is discarded:
Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound,
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
And the day of vengeance of our God..."
To be sure it proceeds: "to comfort all who mourn..."
In the interim there is judgment in terms of vengeance. The concept is that since man has defied, defiled and malpractised with the body, mind and spirit given by God, and added to this, his derelictions towards his fellows, who should have been treated as one would like to be treated, his capricious conduct towards his God, in negatives or contrived positives which seduce the spirit of man to what is not there, by distortion: there is a result.
Kindness provides mercy; justice demands sentence; mercy points to the only way, the Christ who could bear such a burden of disparity, between man and the perfection justice requires. When for all this, it is rejected, then vengeance is provided, the force of truth in collision with the impudence and impertinence and self-rule, in the hold of sin, with the need wholly removed and the desire its own condemnation, for it is of itself alone.