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Chapter 1
 

BEAUTY OF HOLINESS

Holiness IS beautiful, in the special instance that it is that of God.

Actually, before we finish, you should be able to see how it is so EVEN IF it is merely that of a person on earth.

I love beauty; but this is the best.

This is not in the slightest degree to minimise that of the soaring peaks, the massive canopy of Alps, in their picturesque aerial topography, the ocean grandeur in its Summer splendour or Winter sobrieties, yes or Spring's untiring tumults, nor the sublime sensitivity of floral artistry, allowing botanical arpeggios to display the combinations of subtle varieties and daring inventions of design, amid the torrents of colour, themselves like the caress of peaceful lakes, transformed into form in translation of depth, and orchid wonders, like woodland paths by the shores, moved into grades of poetical eloquence, delicious in their intensity, brilliant in their resilient and comely codas as they seem ever to reach a finale of magnificence, only to forget themselves a little, and in sheer exuberance of unbridled intelligence, shower the earth with more ... and more.

The world bursts with beauty, uncowered before the curse. If the scrubby, scruffy, sordid, the squalid and the morose are also to be found, so is the bathos of vice, like fallen cliffs sliding broken into the sea, the witless fury of ungoverned rage, whether of nation or individual, the grasping talon of tedious acquisition, the impersonal face of well-paid bureaucracy, when it turns mercy under its heel, and continues its outrageous defiance of goodness in conduct, as if spiritual slums alone held appeal, and ugliness of spirit were obligato in its puny and unpunished symphony of misused power.

Man is in his element; but there remains the solemn wonder of the glory of God about him, and the lessons of life are like unheeded opportunities, seen no less in the parodies of nature on man's restless vanities, all but vaudeville burlesques at times, than in its stern rebukes when it is turned this way and that, now mimicking, now exposing the artless seethings of human carnality.

But holiness ? It is to this as light to darkness, as the spirit of beauty to the shady arbours of cruelty on the surface of this tiring earth. On loan to man for a period, this earth is the stage whose Manager does not approve the bloated exhibition of self-will, like a seething octopus with arms only, and neither head nor eyes, nor does He esteem the deft jettisoning of the knowledge of God, like school books thrown out the window on the way home in the school bus.

The artfulness of man's dodging drudgeries of escape, like the pangs of exposed dentine in a worn tooth, invasive and merely needing remedy, are in their repetitive and fitful exercise, the mental part of the war on God, which the acquisitive ardours of man so often betray, and the incredible lust for control of all things, unceasingly exemplifies as now in this life, and then in that nation, in this book, in that spirit of the Age, the world chomps away on its exposed dentine anyway: the victim of vainglory and the very soul of the sordid. And how it hurts! How very much it hurts (cf. Revelation 9:20).

Repentance, be thou far from me! it chants in its defiled ventures, its ludicrous sorties into deep space, in defiance of its instructions, in careless indifference, making mockery of any vestige of intelligence in its own thinking as blinking it presses on, like a 'teen-ager on pep-pills, worn and wearing, thrilling to the unspeakable and addicted to the accelerator, doing wheelies of dust, before re-approaching that element in broken body and ruined mind.

Such things we have considered in their own light, or rather with the truth of God to enlighten their darkness, in such places as Repent or Perish Ch. 7, Biblical Blessings Ch. 7 and Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium Ch. 16, Scoop of the Universe 51 and Appendix I, Barbs, Arrows and Balms. It is now our need to look at the precise OPPOSITE to such things, but first you may wish  also to ponder Ephesians 4:17ff., and 2:1-12, with Amos 4 and Psalm 115:16.
 

 

PERSONAL BEAUTY THAT IS NOT THE VANISHING MYTH
OF PHARMACEUTICAL APPLICATION BUT THE DOWER
IN GRACE OF THE POWER OF GOD

WHAT IT IS NOT

But what IS it, holiness ? It is not a plaster cast personality which stiffly accepts all that is enjoined on it, commanded by the powers that be. Such blinded obedience to human vainglory leads - as it has led - to unspeakable deeds that harrow the brow of history.  What better indications in the last millenium,  of wholesome heartiness and spiritual efflorescence than the fearless and unyielding resilience and persistence of a Huss, so humorously dismissed by those who DID adhere woodenly to mere authority, in his burning for being one of the most fearless, learned and Biblically enlightened men of the age! The servant is not greater than his Master, and as Christ put the matter, "But now you are seeking to kill Me, a man who told you the truth!" (John 8:40 cf. John 16:2). It was the truth which made Christ intolerable, and it is this which terminates the earthly existence of many, in His name.

Heading as rector, a new University in Leipzig, Huss, this marvel of insight and agile defender of the faith was merely betrayed in the Council of Constance which, with wholly unwholesome breach of truth, defiled the Emperor's safe conduct pass, which had been granted to Huss, and allowed the evil philosophy to have its fiery way. Indeed, the Emperor sat with the audience as this holy man of God was burned, the imperial puppet, despite his personal inclination, of Rome.

But to WHICH evil philosophy does one refer ? Why, this one: that heretics have NO RIGHTS, so that you can lie till you look like a recent excavation by an H-bomb, a deadly hole in the moral earth, and still be quite innocent. Yes, that was the moral charade for its outrage on Huss, its work against Christ: for their crime was not merely in burning him, but in committing to the flames, their own moral integrity in the  process.

What! you say, this is not human, this could not because it would not happen!  Yet has earth not swallowed up in its tornadoes such twisted wreckage of human defilement as this, to KILL what you promise to keep in SAFETY because you have the power to practise your diseased philosophy, and warring on truth, war on God! Cf. Micah 3:5). It was Christ who said it, which is truth itself, and said it of the devil:

"If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham... You are of your father the devil, and the desires  of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.

"When he speaks a lie, he speaks form his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

"But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin ? And if I tell the truth, who do you not believe Me ? He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God" (from John 8:39-47).

But was this not to the Jews who would not heed His words, nor make them a test for their conduct, a code for their behaviour, a rule for their minds ? Of course: but does not Paul advise us this: that Abraham

       "received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.

       "For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law; but through the righteousness of faith."

Truth is neither for sale, nor obtainable through slick legal moves, in re-definition. It requires both knowledge of and presentation of facts, in the presence of the God whose orientation provision exhibits the only perspective both valid and coherent, invariable and constantly self-confirmatory.

Immorality does not alter it, neither lust for power over the souls of men, nor the prohibition of their bodies, through flames or other means. No nation is exempt from its need, nor does heaven admit those whose lives persist in its defilement (Rev. 21:27), who belie all claim to being regenerated from above (I John 3:9, Romans 6). Even the most cunning of sophistries do not begin to beguile God. Not thus is holiness. Holiness springs from His presence as the rain from moisture-laden clouds, topping the mountains of faith. Life is free, but it is also real, and as in plants, what it is is exhibited by the affair of its heart: it grows as it has been begotten. Its fruit is no claim for its root; but its root is the base for its fruit. And that fruit, as in orchids by the gentle waters, has both reality and beauty.

Indeed, holiness does not lie, for indeed it is written, "Be holy as I am holy" (I Peter 1:16), and as to God, in His own splendour, He cannot lie (cf. Titus 1:2 cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms  6, Repent or Perish Ch. 2, Things Old and New Ch. 1 and Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium Ch. 16).
 

 

WHAT IT IS

Holiness is many things, but it has but one source; and before we consider a definition, let us see them exemplified, or exhibited at least, in some measure.

First there is the sense of COMPLETE DEDICATION TO GOD. This is NOT some super-saintly exercise in human glory, as if the sheer spectacle of such devotion awes the roughened human spirit and induces admiration into its so often evil ways. We are not, in the Bible, whose concept we are here seeking, talking of some human attainment, but of a certain divine quality, which may in significant measure imbue the human heart, and rejoice the divine agencies of heaven ... as for example, does the coming of one soul to the Lord (Luke 15:7).

It is found in the clean and unclean categories in the Old Testament (Leviticus 11), "to distinguish between the clean and the unclean", applied in Ezekiel 44:23 and more extensively in Malachi 3:18. In this latter case, it is seen in the entire necessity of impervious sincerity in dealings with God, who IS a Spirit (John 4) and who is to be worshipped in spirit and in truth, not for gain or to avoid pain. Cause and consequence must be distinguished here as clearly as in any other field. Love is not purchasable and is strong  as death (Song of Solomon 8:6), indeed stronger, for with such love Christ bore it and broke it (John 3:15-16, and see Ch. 2 below); and it is the LORD who is to be loved with ALL the mind and soul and heart and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5,  Matthew 22:37, cf. With Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength).

Holiness, then,  is seen near and far: in the holy ordinances, in the worship in the beauty of holiness, in the injunction to BE HOLY as He is. It is found in the uniting of the heart to His fear (Psalm 86:11), in the HOLY, HOLY, HOLY singing heard by Isaiah as the creatures in his vision (Isaiah 6:3), acted in an awe both splendid and active, in the purging of the prophet's tongue, with fire from the altar, where blood could purge in justice, the cost of injustice. There we read with this utterance, "the whole earth is filled with Thy glory", so that it is associated no less with an understanding of His creation and maintenance, intelligence and wisdom, wit and imagination, splendour and grace, forbearance and loveliness, even in chastening and in rebuke (cf. Biblical Blessings ... Ch. 7). In love He acts, and in truth He proceeds.

Holiness ? It is found in courage which transforms the simple into the splendid, as in David's triumph by FAITH alone, in the name of the Lord, against far superior power, in Goliath, in Jehoshaphat's moving transformation of battle into a sort of transportable praise choir, moving as he went by faith to meet the invasive forces, content in the knowledge that he was required so to act by the Lord, who alone would gain the glory in such an affair. It ended in a victory as clearly pronounced as any particle of praise (II Chronicles 20). As they proceeded to the battle, they were covered with the prophetic word of Jahaziel, "You shall not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, Judah and Jerusalem..."

Here lay a teaching even in the battle! It is faith which absorbs the salvation of God, for as to the work which makes it a grant, it is done! (Titus 3:4-7, Romans 3:23ff., 6:23, John 5:24, 10:9,27-28).

But let us return to the scene of conflict with Jehoshaphat, and taste the triumph. Series of the Israelites "stood up to praise the LORD with voices loud and high" in response, and even as they moved to confront the enemy which had come in myriads, Ammon, Mt Seir and Moab, "they began to sing and to praise the LORD" while divisions amongst their enemies left the field, at their entry, a site all prepared, a site of slaughter which no sword of theirs had to accomplish. So did the LORD teach them holiness, that whether in this way or that, one RELIES on the Lord. They had failed, in Jehoshaphat's earlier alliance with the wicked and murderous king Ahab of Israel, to be holy, but were delivered and the king rebuked by Jehu, who delivered this message on that previous occasion:

  • "Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD ? Therefore the wrath of the LORD is upon you. Nevertheless good things are found in you, in that you have removed the wooden images from the land, and have prepared your heart to seek God. "
  •  

The 'love' in question was ALLIANCE in common interest, in the very crucible of battle, and a casting of his lot with one whom the Lord had appointed to destruction. Jehoshaphat took the rebuke, changed from that particular error, like people at last leaving a fallen denomination and no more allowing sentiment to dictate their life's work, but holiness to invest them (cf. II Corinthians 6:14ff., Ephesians 5, Romans 16:17, II John, I Timothy 3 and cf. Separation, Ch. 7 in The Kingdom of Heaven ...).

 

SO NOW the Lord in this battle against Mt Seir, Moab and Ammon, a choice challenge to test faith, if it was present, gave them an illustration to be remembered for ever, of His power and what His presence means, so that in HIM ALONE they took the victory, in this later occasion. It was doubtless with something of this in mind, that King Jehoshaphat in this multiple confrontation surging into his land, declared to his people, "Believe in the LORD, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper."

But HOW did they go forth to battle, and in what approach did they proceed ? First, as you see in II Chronicles 20, the King outlined the justice of their cause, and the propriety of seeking divine assistance in view of their commission from Him, and their restraint in times past with the enemy. Secondly, they were fortified by the word of God, which covered their case, in this instance through the prophet who spoke, as in those days before Christ coming consummated in short time, the canon of the word of God (cf. SMR Appendix  C and  D). Amazingly and of great exemplary force is this, and indeed it is central to our subject. We read of the king BEFORE THE BATTLE, this choice point:

  • "And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness as they went out before the army and were saying, Praise the LORD, for His mercy endures forever."
  •  

Thus the beauty of holiness is close to the following aspects of living:

 

bullet 1) It is relevant to the most intense practicalities, even to the threatening of life,
and the meeting of hostile confrontation
from multiplied enemies
(as you often see in the Psalms of David).
 
bullet 2) It relates intimately to the concept of heeding and trusting in the word of God,
as it explicitly covers the case.
 
bullet 3) It coheres with NOT FEARING BECAUSE you trust Him, according to His word.
 
bullet 4) It involves a LIVING RELATIONSHIP with Him.
 
bullet 5) It is allied to praise, not merely for what HAS come, but for what one is by His word,
will come; because GOD IS FAITHFUL.
 
bullet 6) It involves ACCEPTANCE of the word of God, even when many are hostile to it,
and seek to disappoint it.

 

HOLINESS then was to be seen in this wonder of faith, wrought in Israel, in the days of Jehoshaphat, in a confrontation which both tested whether the King had learned his earlier lesson, not to ally himself with the ungodly, and the faith in the living God, to proceed according to His words, and not in the complacency or indeed the squandering superficiality of one's own thought. Holiness there came like a refreshing rain, like a sapphire in its intensity, like washing in its cleaning, like a torrent in its praise, as if all nature could not meet it, but only behold it.

It may lead to life on this earth, or to death, but in either case, with the glory of God in the heart, the power of God for the purpose, and the plan of God, eminently exemplified in Christ's crucifixion (cf. Acts 2:23), performed. It comes like a torrent from God, and bringing refreshing even in drought, it provides the joy of the Lord, which is strength (Nehemiah 8:10). In the profundity of purity, the divine wonder is not broached in mixed motives, but revealed in hearty correspondence with His wishes, who being love, is loved in the very heart and kernel of the being.

It is seen in the face of Stephen as before the enraged Jews (Acts 7), he was martyred, just as later the Jews in such numbers would themselves be extinguished on this earth, by such evil actions as no less accounted for the funeral without solemnity, of Huss, at the hands of that other religious rioting. And that ? it was  the calamitous killing of the inquisitorial power of Rome, that secular squalor of debased secular Rome, continuing its religious calamities like a car engine turned off, but still stuttering, still seeking the  glory where it is not to be found*1, in the most unholy Holy Roman Empire, which seemed to sneer at blood, as if it were a plague. This of course, did not include its own.

Holiness is found not in such declension of the human spirit into murder, such arrogation of the judicial powers of God, such distortion of the merciful grace of Christ who has set the stage for this particular act in the history of mankind, the Church Age, stating that His kingdom is NOT of this world. That fact, He indicated was the reason for something. For what, then ? for what!
 
 

AS SEEN IN HOLY ENACTMENTS

It was the reason why His servants did not fight EVEN WHEN HE was being taken for crucifixion for the crime of being God on earth, and with this unbelieved, a folly so profound and fatal, one reason why,  in the profundity of His wisdom and love, He turned it at once to account, praying repeatedly, Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing! So was He signifying the mercy which the murder enabled, in this, that  with heart of  forgiveness, He BECAME the sacrifice for sin. If murder was the means, even His own mercy, inextinguishable in offered grace, could, would and did act for redemption, PROVIDED THAT there was repentance (Luke 13:1-3) which assuredly is not to be found in the exhibition of a murderous spirit 13 centuries later!

Holiness ? It is to be found in Gethsemane, where with vehement cries, Christ besought the Father if by any means that sheer immensity of horror consisting in the advent of sin like an invasive plague into His being, as a penalty which ONLY HE could bear, and ONLY LOVE WOULD BEAR, might be avoided: Yet with this proviso, that IF THERE WERE NO OTHER WAY, then, yes, even for this He was willing (cf. Hebrews 5:7, Luke 22:40ff.). That, it is holiness.

This beautiful feature may be seen in the trust that looks upon the lilies of the field, as one is adjoined to do in the Sermon on the Mount, and perceiving aptly the power and glory of God in such encapsulation of beauty, so prolifically produced, conceive the fact that when one trusts in such a Being, then the mere provision of MEANS is not the difficulty. It is far beyond mere means. It is a matter  of His purpose (cf. Romans 9:29ff.), diurnal and eternal.

What then ? It was, as it is,  necessary to KNOW GOD (John 17:1-3), and then TRUST HIM. That is holiness. HIS is the beauty, and His environment is the very profundity of understanding, its increment joy, its heart at rest.

It appears likewise in courage, character, longsuffering, forbearance under provocation, fearlessness for the word of God when killing is the so multiplied consequence of not buckling in the face of the tyrant. In the face of that devil whose various ministers trade truth in this way, or that, for convenience, vainglory and power (John 8, Isaiah 14, Revelation 12:11), it stands unafraid, valiant for the truth. (See Jeremiah 9:3, cf. Isaiah 59, where the challenge and the divine response is seen! its culmination is still to come in power on this earth, and that day draws near as shown in SMR Ch. 8, Answers to Questions Ch. 5).

It is found in brotherly love which first acknowledges that divine Father without whose regeneration no man is  part of the heavenly family (I Peter 1:23, 2:9, I John 3:1-9), while with it, each is enmembered with all the other believers in one body (Ephesians 4:4ff.). It is in such an arena of divine blessing, in much listed in II Peter 1, that are seen  things which appertain to the divine nature expressible in that creation called man, first made in the image of God, and then defiled and defaced, able to be transformed through redemption into regeneration.

Indeed, says Peter,:

  • "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness: through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust," II Peter 1:2-4.


Again, says the apostle, "if you do these things, you will never stumble" (II Peter 1:10). This is the way in which there walk those who have found that Highway of Holiness (Isaiah 35) which is implicit in Christ, explicit in His word, where each deficit is covered, but each advance is ensured through the power of Him who though there be chastening for a season, yet brings joy in its peace to the purified heart (cf. I Peter 1:6).

These are the sorts of things apt for the everlasting kingdom.
 

Let us consider something then of definition.
 

  • Holiness in man is that total consecration, responsiveness to the divine spirit of God,


that keenly sensed and significantly pursued love
of the meat and meaning of the divine commands,

and above all, their Author,
that spiritual embrace in the beauty of duty, rendered above all to God, in the very knowledge of God, wrapped in the peace of God and shining with His paternal radiance of heart,
which falls before God in humility and adoration,
and arises in cleanness of spirit and purification of heart,
to follow Him in Christ.
 

  • It is HE who is the paragon of it all, the exemplar who is likewise its eternal seat,


the very personal expression of God Himself.
It is His life which exquisitely purveys it, the settings of His drama which uniquely expose it;
it is His responses which attest it, His face which sheds it like the rays of the Summer sun.

 

There is on the one hand, the holiness of God, that incorruptible, that intensely brilliant knowledge and power which in purity never languishes, in wonder and invention never tires, where wisdom is never derelict, where grace is full of unutterable surges of liberality, where personal artistry and loveliness never wilts, whose bloom knows no Autumn, and whose endurance no limit.

On the other, there is that derivative, that reflected holiness which may be seeded, developed and grow in man (II Peter 3:18), combined with knowledge, that of God, worked in the more it is worked out (cf. Philippians 2:12-13). WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION, Paul exhorts, for it is GOD WHO WORKS IN YOU. In what way does God work in the Christian heart which, having responded, is now in correspondence with the Maker ? He does it in two ways, notes the apostle, God works in you BOTH TO WILL AND TO DO.

There is in this ABIDING, this close inter-relation between a converted, created man, a regenerated, pardoned disciple, a movement like that of wind on the ocean waters. In the deepest reaches of the sea, it moves the man. He sees what he loves, loves what he sees, even if as at Gethsemane it involves sheer cliffs of difficulty, because he loves the one who provides it, trusts in Him and indeed, delights in Him (cf. Psalm 37:3-6).
 
 

REALISATION IN RECIPROCITY WHICH IS YET RESPONSIVE

This is the WORKING IN YOU TO WILL. Then there is the next step, BOTH to will and TO DO.

Like an athlete off the mark, you then, as a disciple and friend of Christ (John 15:14), proceed into the doing. Naturally, or rather more precisely, supernaturally (but there is a certain reciprocity in the very nature of sainthood, as the one looks up to the other, and the other down to the one), there may be considerable sharing.

As illustration, read Jeremiah, especially Chs. 1-15, for his discourses with the Lord! These flamed upward amidst the solemn calls of duty in the deliverance of a people, who yet would not be delivered, although their non-deliverance was in a certain sense a divine deliverance, not of their rebellious bodies, but in lessons to all time! and SOME like Daniel, that holy captive,  were delivered, triumphant in affliction ... and their fruit endures!  In the end, however, whether in patience or in an outward prevailing, with heart in which God is hallowed, and life which He embraces, the holiness of God comes rather like the rain on the dried earth, to refresh it. It is in HIM that one's fruit is found (Hosea 14:8). It is to Him that it matters, and in His garden the garlands of of divine authority and have their own place in the testimony of history to the ages (cf. Ephesians 3:9-10).

It is especially in Hosea 14, in this garden allegory, that you see the environment of holiness, and that it is a thing of beauty indeed! Nor is it any accident, but rather the incidence of divine wisdom, which shows us in the preceding chapter, 1t 13:14, the inflexible divine decision to bear and brake death for man, as many as would receive Him (Hosea 14:2). But let us pursue the botanical blessedness in Hosea 14.

Garden bowers are its correlative; perfume is its expression; and it is found by the living of life in His presence, for His purpose, in His cleanness, through His pardon, in terms of His wonder, in the very shadow of His eminent magnificence, enabled by His wisdom, kept by His power, in that sheer sublimity in which the more one is abased into reception, the more one is raised in apperception. For the fertilisation of faith, and the showering of truth, with the seed of His word, all lead to a pang of glory, an invasion of this earth in its sins, by the glory of God in its cleansing holiness, its alerting brilliance, and its triumph of teaching, so that one lives indeed as a child of God. Willingly received, it is abundantly blessed to man (cf. Psalm 104:24-35).

But in what dedication of parenthood is it shown, in what consecration to the deliverance from desecration, is it perceived, now in the mental realm, now in the physical, now in the interchange of personalities, in what moulded marvels of friendship and in what longsuffering enterprises of faith is it to be found. It is the mellowing of the natural in the light of the supernatural, and the empowering of the weak in the presence of the strong, willing to DRAW its strength not from natural appetite in its lust, but from supernatural impetus in its thrust, that provides that peculiar strength which is admirable, that clean living intensity which makes the ungodly say, as one medical doctor once exclaimed to this author, "I would love to know what makes you tick!" - or such words.

It is the watch of God, watching for Him, and waiting for Him, whose wonders are intrinsic, often extrinsic, and His alone; it is the cross of Christ, once the payment, forever the purchase from it (Galatians 6:14); it is the resurrection to life eternal (Romans 10:9, I Cor. 15:1-3, Luke 24), it is the truth in Him alone finding its feet and foundation, since it is HE! (John 14:6, Isaiah 28:16), it is the love of God, without impediment or impurity (I John 4:7ff.), it is the LORD who makes one 'tick' (Jeremiah 17:7-8, 9:23); and a most harmonious experience it is (Isaiah 26:1-4, 40:26ff.), even if the watch needs cleaning from time to time (I John 1:7ff.), as is the way with clocks.

It is within, to be sure, this resource (Colossians 1:27, "Christ in you, the hope of glory"), but it is one which rests in God Almighty Himself. It is one moreover of RECOURSE to One above, as if the sender of the reconnaissance drone were to make some pilot wonder what could possibly make the low flying drone so 'clever' or so 'manoeuvrable' or 'dedicated' to its work. It is the waves sent from elsewhere which are impelling it, and it is the plan of a master at base which gives it such grace, such place and such achievement in space! "WHEN," says Paul, " I AM WEAK, THEN I AM STRONG!" (II Corinthians 12:10).

Let us change the imagery. It is when in poverty of spirit*2 he is able to receive in his evacuated readiness, the will and working of God, that like a branch in a vine, he is moved to fruit.
 
 

NOTES

*1
The aftermath of Huss is illustrative in our field. Thus there was warm friendship between the Bohemian, Jerome of Prague, studying at Oxford,  and the famous, eminently learned English reformer, Wycliffe. (It is interesting, as with Shakespeare, to consider the cause of the various spellings of his name, as if eminence did not suffer mere singularity!).

With Biblical truth restored to Bohemia, in no small measure, through Anne of Bohemia, this fire would spread. Together with the eminent academic, Huss, these men popularised the Gospel in their land. If Richard II's wife helped spread the flaming simplicities of return to the Biblical faith so successfully stressed by Wycliffe in his scholarly and protected role in England, to her native land, these men fanned the blaze. Their very eminence and scholarship helped its acceptance, as they moved in places of privilege.

When the papal wickedness triumphed in one more murder in the breach of faith with Huss - interestingly a sort of personal extension of the breach of THE faith by the papal powers - it led of course to further work of murder, indeed mayhem. The pope, promising 'indulgences', that type of moral monstrosity designed to lessen or remove 'temporal penalties' imposed by the church - and they could be vast - or  to remove some of the time to be spent in mythical purgatories (SMR pp. 1040, 1052), one more extra- and contra-Biblical invention of control, urged on, like the owner of some bloodhound,  the armies which would serve him, to crush the Hussites.

Authority from Christ for such massacre was zero, indeed brilliantly contravened by His DEMAND that Peter put up his sword, drawn in His own defence, and His PRINCIPLE DECLARED to Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight..." , John 18:36. For some other kingdom then the pope fought. Slaughter was prodigious. It did not seem to matter to ordained murderers.

This however was just large-scale murder. We do not in this country regard serial killers as less blameworthy, but rather more so ...

It has no other name. It helped to train the Czechs in every wicked way, and in time, when the Cardinal in Poland had opportunity to influence the king of that land, the crushing evils of papal political interventionism led to a rejection of the concept of union between Poland and the Czechs, something which was seen as endangering the Romanistic rule, for it would by this time have savoured of a union of lands recovering from Rome, into the Protestant faith. In this, yet one more interference of the politically motivated papacy, at work where it had no mandate, and contrary to the mandate of the faith, there was broken what might have been a strong country, one leading in Europe in the faith, and investing its future with strength, which alas, through the rejection of this union, became weakness.

Poland which refused the union, suffered perhaps the more terribly in what was to come.

Whether, however, the beauty of holiness is seen in a land adopting Christian things (not with force but with acclaim), and prospering, as despite excesses, England did in almost precise proportion to her fidelity, or degree of it; or in a the martyrdom of those who stood though their country forsook both them and the Lord: yet it is to be seen in the purity of truth, the sincerity of spirit, the flame of energy, the strength of resolve, in the courage of conviction, in the objectivity of the faith, in the profundity of the God in whom they trust, whose it is. It shines in its beauty, if anything more in the faces of the falsely accused for Christ's sake, like Huss, like Stephen, than in the ceremonies of the civil order, when it seeks to shed light on the faith, by its own conformities. In the land of uprightness, it is the uprightness, not its appearance, which matters, and it is God who gives it freely (Romans 6:23, 8:1-16).

An interesting book in this area of Poland, is that of R.K. Mazierski, A Light Shines in Poland; but alas look at how it was crippled, divided, invaded, disposed this way and that, with corridor, with crushing in Warsaw, in exterminations, in killing of its officer corps in such abundance in Hitler's days. It still needs the same light as it always did.
 

*2
For poverty of Spirit, as in Matthew 5 and elsewhere, see Questions and Answers 12.
 

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