W W W W World Wide Web Witness Inc. Home Page Contents Page for Volume What is New
WHEN TRUTH JOINS HANDS WITH REASON,
and staring into the eyes of MERCY,
with PITY SMILES
What do you know ? they often ask.
I know God, His creation and my subordinate place, many following the necessities of logic, might reply (cf. A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 1-9, Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming Chs. 4-6, TMR Ch. 1, Earth Spasm ... Ch. 1, Secular Myths ... Chs. 1, 7, Overflight in Christ, Ch. 7)!
What then, the captious critic might pursue, do you know ?
Readily might the reply come to such a pursued query, without more ado.
I know at once that I am the property of Another, that hence I should be careful of its use, that is, of my person and all its attributes. Again, for the same applying to others of my human race, I should be careful of them, not seeking their diminution of stature of spirit, but rather to assist their development of talent and deliverance from needless violence.
Further, it is apparent that I should be equitable, since to short-change or bring duress to another human being is to disturb the property of God.
Indeed, I should be considerate, lest in my hurry or determination, I should NEEDLESSLY impede any fruition of dowered function in the members of my race.
However, it is less clear why I should (as in I Corinthians 11, Romans 15) bother to help those who misapply knowledge, are needlessly ignorant or deployers of wilfulness, arbitrariness or even celestial nescience, as they proceed on their divinely reprobate paths. Even if they are not actually involved in that, their works, if they merely lavish time on frivolity, why should I concur, or impede better activities for their sake ?
There is no reason but love.
Why then should a man love, in the biblical sense ? To be sure, a mother and father are normally disposed to love their offspring, though selfishness and exploitation are not unknown; but this by comparison with divine love, or even elemental love in the heart of man, deposited from God (Romans 5:5), is a flickering torch, however brilliantly lit some in their own ways may be.
WHY then should anyone seek to help another to grow, to understand, to forsake folly and live ? Why be patient to that extent, if wilfulness, needless super-sensitivity is involved, as when people misconstrue good things because of a tide of ignorance which self-discipline should remove ?
There can be only one valid reason, apart from mere emotional desire. It is this: that God is loving and has a mandate for all so to behave, each to the other. In so doing, He has come to deliver His doctrine in many times and places, binding all in one effectually testable and readily validated book (cf. SMR Chs. 1, 10, Overflight ... Ch. 5), and His life in one effectually tested incarnation, predicted, predicting, fulfilling all. Since my Creator and God is like this, it then becomes apparent, that reason alone cannot tell me that this is so, but only can serve, as in SMR Ch. 1, its office in leading me assuredly to the place where the word of the Creator of man, rests in the interests of man: in the Bible.
It is there however, that one learns that God is love, and
hence that in addition to being considerate, and reasonable and equitable, one
should be loving. THIS is the standard, the level of life, the nature of
provisions and the procedure for vitality. It is interesting to ponder what one
would be inclined to do if God were in fact other than this, but this is a
merely captious consideration, since our natural inclinations and our desires
for God have
this in common, that HE made them, and to Him they refer, whatever their
individual or racial distortion and consequent anomalies in space and time.
There are those who go so far as to say that if it were to the glory of God that
they should go to hell, so be it.
This too is captious, headstrong. SINCE God is love, and would have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (Colossians 1, I Timothy 2 and almost pervasively cf. The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 4 and SMR Appendix B), then to allow such a thing in stark contrast to God's revealed nature and desire, as if it WOULD BE or even COULD BE to His glory, is a gross distortion. Christians should realise that this is the LAST thing He desires, though as truth He is willing to bring it to pass if this is the lust of the love of man, in the face of truth, as He Himself discerns and declares it (cf. John 3:19). It is merely playing with words to consider whether one would be willing to go to hell because it seemed good to the creator, since in fact the Creator is validly on record, with unique verification in reason and history, that such is NOT His desire. Sovereignty has always to reckon with the SOVEREIGN HIMSELF. It is not some lever that madmen pull, or impute, but the nature of the control which God, in the midst of liberty, assures Himself in using; and HOW He uses it is in conformity with the nature of His Being, which being free is nevertheless finally what He desires, since He has no 'deposit' and no governor or guide.
Sovereign grace is a phrase; God is a personal Being. His sovereignty IS gracious, and His grace is sovereign; but HE is love, as I John 4:7ff. tells us.
If only people could disembark from the foolish fantasy ships of doctrine which like to make it all depend on man, or all depend on some meretricious and duplicitous sovereignty, contrary to His word in both cases, mere extremes which lack the uniformity with His word which such always incline to have. He does not SAY that it is His desire that ALL be reconciled, as in fact He does, when some key sovereignty is secretly controlling His will, and occasioning a lie! He is not man that He should lie.
GOD CANNOT LIE (cf. Barbs ... 6 -7, Repent or Perish Ch. 2, Sparkling Life ... Ch. 4), being the source of truth, and never in conflict with Himself or His word, as if His mouth forgot His arm or vice versa, or He could receive anything at all from man or the rest of creation, which was not His already. "Lack" means or implies a constitution conferred or limit of power, and neither being what is applicable to God, whom nothing CAN limit ( He could remove all creation by gainsaying it which He made exhaustively and maintains, and nothing can penetrate to force itself into His character in a similar way). He rules all, in ruled by none, and implements His will, which includes NOT using force for faith, which is a mere contradiction in terms.
The moment one considers that God LACKS power, or encounters blocs or blocks, one is putting Him in some universe of limits and controls, which is by definition contrary to the Almighty the Creator.
It is then, and remains amazingly simple.
One should in any case be considerate, and reasonable and helpful to others as they seek to deploy the equipment God has given them, since all is the property of another. The next question: How far should one go ? We saw there were limits to what reason would suggest, for initial fidelity to the Creator's ownership; there would be questions of legitimacy of vigorous use of talents in this or that direction, readily arising. When however God speaks, and indeed acts, then in the empirical reality thus illumined, the nature of God thus being able to be known, we should love as He is loving, in order to live in some correlative sense, in company with Himself.
Yet HOW could this be done ? It is high, it may
seem almost impassable, like some narrow cleft in vertiginous and altitudinous
rock. It is necessary, in order to act in the way of the Lord, to KNOW the Lord, since it
is not mere action, but a spiritual reality which is in view. HOW could you be
so loving ? HOW could you understand how to be so ? HOW would you know what was
the wrong purpose,
one which should NOT be helped, when spiritual realities were merely surmised, without vital help to discern ?
At once, of course, you know that to murder is presumptuous folly; to steal is irrational unrealism, assuming your power is to ignore that of others, duly used; while it is but legitimate humility before the Maker to be kind and to seek to interpret wisely and graciously, what others do, and assist them to find their way when they are lost is the path of life. Obviously, if they act unwisely and presumptuously, it might be because they do not KNOW God, or that in some wayward moment, they have fallen, not being God but being mere creatures, into sin.
In such a case, when one has found what God has said and done, one should clearly seek to inform them; and then enters in the whole field of fishing. If someone is TOLD, then resentment, odium, dignity, reaction, resistance for the sake of pride and so on, may guilefully enter, and a person may even become worse than before. If someone is NOT told, then ignorance and peril mix, like two sections of atomic material, radioactive, making up a critical mass for detonation! What then does one do ? What would a doctor do in a parallel case where cancer is in view ?
He would in some cases be most careful lest a sensitive disposition and an imaginative heart allied with an unstable spirit should lead to various emotional storms and adverse reactions. Yet he would normally not scruple to give the datum, since a failure to do so would be presumption in general, as if the person concerned would not be allowed to know that he might PRAY, or seek THIS OR THAT cure, in time, however untimely the doctor himself might consider such things to be in individual cases, because apparently fatal.
Thus there is a need transparently obvious, yet one requiring grace and wisdom in its MODE of operation, to tell others who do not know God, how they might find Him. Since freedom is a gift, there is an obligation NOT to FORCE such knowledge where it is not desired; just as there is another to seek opportunity when it may be freely told and studied. This is the art of fishing, as noted by Christ to His disciples, and more than noted, made a focus for learning, not to manipulate, but to fulfil the gap in the lost, in their being found (cf. Matthew 4:19).
Since God is alive, and seeks for men to be alive to the source and deliverance, indeed the salvation of their lives, HIS co-operation with any seeking to inform, that is, to bring the Gospel to people is to be expected for those who know Him. For this, they learn to WAIT on Him (Isaiah 64:5), and to meet with Him, through the promised action of His Spirit (Romans 8:9, Ephesians 3:16).
While FORCE is ALWAYS out, since it is in the realm of faith, a futile bifurcation and an anomaly from the first, yet vigour is not. You may need vigour with some trout, and WILL with most sharks, when fishing ...
It is similarly implied from these basics that one must realise that the people to be INFORMED are sick, dead in heart in the sight of God (Ephesians 2, 4), and have a destiny which, without the fountain of mercy being discovered, looms infernal; and more specifically on its rejection when it is to be found, is the confirmed consequence of reigning sin. Yet however great the sin, the profundity of mercy can handle it, since the deity of Christ guarantees the LIMITLESS character of His containment of sins deposited upon Him, and the limitless LOVE which desires so absorb such, having paid the price already, sufficient for any and all, as I John 2:2 shows, the preposition being 'on behalf of' rather than 'in place of' in this case.
Therefore such people may need to be informed, as one might inform a testy patient that it is now dinner time, when her appetite is jaded, or his spirit is low. It is rarely easy; and in the end, it is a constraining necessity where grace and courtesy are yet present. In this present world, such objectives are to be entertained with relish, some graces to abound despite the erratic fire of the misinformed, the mischievous and the rebellious. Yet this points to its coming culmination and consummation, guaranteed alike by the power of His word and the purity of His work in Christ.
What then ? Reason points where revelation unfolds; and reason, running into queries of HOW FAR, finds in revelation the answer, "love bears all things" (I Corinthians 13): but it NEVER severs from truth, or substitutes force for its delightful name. Love is what it is, what it is both pronounced and shown to be, and the religions of force or even manipulation, these are foreign to it.
In such a world, one spinning on such axes, indeed one to come (Micah 4, Isaiah 2,11, 59), illuminated with such dazzling light, where people may walk in the Spirit of the God they know, then all priorities, all questions, all discernments are met; for there is nothing too hard for the Lord. The recklessly feckless, the irrationally proud, the ferociously self-assertive fade into the red sunset of blood no longer spilt, and truth joining hands with reason, and dancing with mercy, staring into the eyes of pity, smiles.