LET GOD BE GOD
LET CHRIST BE CHRIST,
NOT PIECES OF BREAD OR UNCRUCIFIED MASTERS
NEW WINE FOR NEW BAGS,
NEW LIFE FOR NEW PEOPLE
Let us begin with a consideration of Mark 2:19-28
Here Christ's challenge, as always, is a treasure,
since it leads from truth to truth.
ďAnd Jesus said to them,†
Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. No man also sows a piece of new cloth on an old garment: lest the new piece that filled it up takes away from the old, and the rent is made worse. †And no man puts new wine into old bottles: lest the new wine should burst the bottles, and the wine be spilled, and the bottles marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.†
ďAnd it came to pass, that He went through the corn fields on the sabbath day;
and His disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.
"And the Pharisees said to him,
Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? And He said to them:
'Have you never read what David did, when he had need, and was a hungry, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?'
ďAnd He said to them,
'The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.' Ē
FOR ORIENTATION, LET US PONDER ELEMENTS FROM THE ABOVE
Let these words sink into your hearts.
Christ is New in Presentation, Joy Shouts at His coming, but Sorrow
The person who comes to Christ in reality and spirit is made new (II Cor. 5:17ff., John 3, Titus 3:5), and it is only then that the Spirit of God moves clearly and cleanly in his ways, guiding, girding, enabling.
- Without this change within, patches merely tear, hopes are simply dashed, but with it, there is a proportion, the power and the place matching perfectly.
Similarly, the new wine, the power and presence of God in Christís name by His Holy Spirit, requires new people for its coursing and for its full force and favour to be appreciated.
- Again, commandments must be understood in their spiritual sense, not merely in clumsy superficiality. For example, the showbread in the temple was a SYMBOL of the love of God, the light of His face constantly looking on the people, whom He would teach, follow and consider, providing, like bread, for their needs.
Naturally, since THE SHOW BREAD in the Temple was a symbol of spiritual things, it was kept for spiritual domains, and could be eaten only by priests. However, when David, fleeing from hostile and nearly demented Saul, needed food and came to the priest, there being need for his men, was not the symbol (the bread) available for the people ? If it showed something about God, could it not in case of need, DO IT!
There is even more in this symbolism and happening with David. Christ is the express image of His Father (Hebrews 1:3), and He came and showed the Father to us in His words and ways.
Since God is love, would HE not therefore make HIMSELF available, just as the bread was, so that we could Ďeatí Him, that is take our lives from what He did. This is precisely what He pointed out in John 6, where after having fed the 5000 as an indication of Godís power and provision for those who truly follow Him, He then told them that HE was the bread of life, and HE had to be Ďeatení. The words that I speak, said He, are SPIRIT and they are LIFE!
In other words, the MEANING was that He would give His life for those who would be His, and on HIM and His being broken, would they be healed.
- THEN, in claiming lordship over the Sabbath He was showing Himself able to act in terms of GOD HIMSELF, since it was HE who appointed it. Here is deity in action, preparing to substitute the day of REDEMPTION for the day of CREATION, as the greatest work of God, while retaining rest, now heightened in its perception, for it came not now alone in the Old Covenant, in preparation, but in the New, in consummation.
Thus it came to be, that when HE died, the REST that HE supplied by doing once and for all† what had to be done in His sacrifice and breach of death itself in resurrection, became the index for the new DAY of rest (I Corinthians 16:2, John 20:19, 20:26, Acts 20:7, Revelation 1:10), not only commemorating creation, but now the new creation. The day and the way are now new, for it is the New Testament, and lingering in the shadows of the Saturday of the Old Sabbath day is merely rebellion.
Why is this so ? It is because God's greatest work of the new creation from the desecration on the Cross, and the power of the resurrection, persons indeed drawn from many nations, is now manifest. Intolerable is any attempt to turn back to the pre-Cross era, as if deity in flesh, Christ on the Cross, the redemption divine, were an additive, and not the centre (Gal. 6:14).
Power has pulsed once more, and the new man in Christ is created (Colossins 3:10). Neither is formalistic facade nor reckless wandering from the word of God, the way to God: but rather faith in Him according to His word, and by this is made new the person whose lineage is now spiritually from God, through whom He works, far from the ceremonial pretensions (Isaiah 1), and the functionless speechifying which is no substitute for faith. As He speaks, and as Christ spoke to the Pharisees, so He is: penetrating, clear, clean and indefectible, sharp as light, intractable in truth.
In our dealings with Christ, as His people, therefore, let us realise with whom we deal, His power and compassion alike! He is both fearless in word and deed, and always confirmed. Even when at first sight, some fear He is attacking what is right, He is in fact illuminating, bringing to life the light of truth, so that not forms but facts, not figments but spiritual functions should proceed. In this, He does what He has always done (cf. Isaiah 1, 59), and in so doing, He is as He always was.
NOTHING in the Lord changes: if it is challenge, He meets it, if it is blindness, He awakes it to faith, if it is doubt, He confronts it with truth, if it is death, He breaks death, if it is life, He provides it eternally, so that like His word, it never fails.
Since there is none like Him, it is imperative for one and for all, to avoid the slithering and serpentine suggestions of flesh, which neither does nor could do what He has done, and to LET CHRIST BE CHRIST. The duplicitous and the suppositious alike, are but vain. Reality is its own attestation.
AN APPLICATION FROM HISTORY
HOW THE RECEPTION OF CHRIST AS THE BREAD OF LIFE HAS POWERFUL CONSEQUENCES, NUTRITIOUS FOR ALL, IN SPIRIT
How wonderful is the new life and the new freedom in the Spirit of God, to feed on the faithfulness of God, to relish His sacrificial love given once for all at the utmost, in death, His marvellous power shown once and for all in His resurrection! Truly this is for the taste of the new palate in the new person made in the New Covenant by the new work, now finished, of the Cross. Its power stays till the Ďbread of lifeí (John 6:48ff.) comes once again, to deliver His people and to judge this world.
It is wise not to starve in the interim! It is necessary to eat NOW, and being strengthened, to FOLLOW now in the ways of love, life and grace, fearless and fortified in the Spirit (Ephesians 3:16).
Having received Christ once for all as Lord and Saviour therefore, let us constantly be RECEPTIVE, to His word, for those who continue or ABIDE in His word, said He (John 8:31), these are truly His disciples. Those made new, love what is true. Let us ponder one example of this.
This resurrection power (as in Ephesians 1:19, available for His work), was strikingly shown in the persistent fidelity of Tyndale who, seeking to honour the Lord in terms of His word, and to have it available to all in England, actually secured the type-setting that went with what he had newly translated of it. Carrying this precious tool with him in Europe, when it was clear that the Bishop of London has no interest in having him translate the Bible, Tyndale assiduously rendered and printed, printed and rendered.
Translate it ? Was a new translation still necessary in Tyndale's day ? Had not Wyclif and associates translated it into English over a century before ? Yes, but price of forty pounds in those days scarcely made it practically available! It had to be copied by hand. Further, it was merely a translation of a translation, being from the Vulgate. Now from the Greek would the New Testament be rendered, and this Tyndale tirelessly sought to do, fleeing when pursued, ahead of the enemies of truth, whose Romanist persecutions were death and dearth alike, to those whom they afflicted.
What, in the name of a CHURCH,
withhold the word of God in understandable form ?
when it is necessary to abide in it ?
and become MASTER over souls, taught traditions, against the whole force of Mark 7:7ff.: what cruel mockery of names is this!
Truth is to be forwarded, not affronted; presented, not burnt, made available, not so covered with tradition that a ship in such a state would not only need early dry dock, but would sink first before it could even reach it. If the original is not available, who can test ?
If traditions are bound, who but Christ need be consulted, who condemned precisely this MANNER OF APPROACH, as in Mark! If MASTERS are involve, to give or withhold the word of God, how then is Christ the ONLY Master (Matthew 23:8-10); and if such commands over the word of God are to be in force, HOW on earth are those doing so, 'brethren' under ONE Master, even Christ (cf. SMR pp. 1032-1088H which covers many such issues in depth). .
Did Christ have to be interpreted by the Pharisees, then, for the benefit of the people in His own day ? Certainly He was, and their very masterful 'interpretation' did not in that case lead to His burning, for He was not a book, but to His crucifixion, in order to suppress His words and the 'danger' they were felt to bring.
Such silencing brought devastation from Rome in 40 years! Such ultra-divine wisdom led to destruction. Such pompous presumption, then as now, leads only to slavery, when men, acting as if God, and in this case, as if able to create Him in bread, when if this were true, He would have committed suicide at the Last Supper in breaking the bread, usurp truth and provide fiction. This alas has no nourishment. It is the word of God, that is needed, and faith in Him according to it, not in men! What then happened to Tyndale in his pure pursuits of the word of God for the people of England ?
Eventually, two notable things happened, to enable the rest which Christ brings to come near to the people, not that this annulled the commandments, but it brought their meaning near to the heart in a fallen Age. The meat and meaning of rest is within; but the occasion and provision is without, as on the day of rest, which does not change because men defile it, or lack faith.
This we see from early times, in Exodus 20:8-10, where its occasion is statedly our creation in the past, not events in the future, and as to this, not only has the provision of a day of rest not changed, but it CANNOT change, since both the past and its application are in history and in the word of God! Christ did not come to annul but to fulfil, and there is no fulfilment of creation! It happened. (Cf. Biblical Blessings Appendix II and III.)
The word of God solves all such things, allowing one to rest in Christ, the way of rest, and providing the day of rest for His nearer devotion and service. It is this which must rule, and ruling, gives rest to the believer who, being shown the way, comes to Him whose it is, and in His mercy, delights to follow Him. Yet there was little rest as far as Romanism in England was concerned!
First, the Bishop of London acted vigorously, hating the dissemination of the truth, of the word of God, as if any could POSSIBLY do worse than trying to turn bread into flesh, when Christ in John 6 made it clear that "My words are spirit and they are life", and that indeed He personally was returning to heaven!
Would Tyndale's testaments come into England ? Very well. Unknowingly speaking to a friend of Tyndale, he commissioned the purchase of the New Testaments so arrived from Europe. A good price is needed! was the challenge. Yes, he would pay. He did, bought them up, burned them in a public ceremony forever significant of Romanism's approach to truth, since it is notorious for affirming constantly its failure to change from its past councils and traditions, even to this day, as in Vatican II itself; and the Bishop felt good for a time, it seems.
However, the money going back to Tyndale, allowed a new edition which stormed into the Kingdom of England, the truth reinforced by this pagan presumption which effectually had provided for the new inrush of the word of God! So does God mock the mighty! (cf. Psalm 82). Romanism's arrogation of the power of God by banishing what it will when it will, and its insistence on ITS word OVER God's word, so that this is binding, this remains, whatever changing circumstances and discretion may occasion. Co-operation there is collision with the word of God (cf. Romans 16:17). Liberty was bought at extreme cost; its languorous dissipation is unworthy of such a history.
The second occurrence was this, that Tyndale met an intriguer, a false friend who, Judas style, betrayed him by having hidden motives. Becoming close to the printer, this character affected pleasantness, but leading Tyndale into a narrow lane where he had, again just like Judas, positioned guards, he pointed him out to them, so that for the third time just as with Judas, he was placed in the hands, quite directly, of those who arrested him. Left in a cold and horrid cell in a castle for a long time, he eventually, amid the most saintly behaviour, was strangled after being left to suffer sickness. This was no violence from those interested in truth, who were pursuing it, but from those who explicitly were intent on one thing only, SUPPRESSING IT.
Despite this, in a very few years, one Miles Coverdale, who had worked on the Continent with Tyndale on the translation into English of the first five books of the Old Testament, was able to bring out a translation of the whole Bible, and before long in English, the Bible was authorised, Tyndale again being victorious, but this time posthumously; but the word of God did not vanquish posthumously, for it is never dead, but lively ever (Hebrews 4:13). It is never removed, obliterated, or chained.
Men die for it, in Christ's service; men slave with it, to bring it to the people, and despite enemies who even use His name, it prevails, the dead traditions merging in every unclean direction (cf. A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 17), while the word of God remains, itself alone inviolable, indefectible, testable, verified to the uttermost. It is so powerful that all but incredible endeavours have been made to suppress it, in the subtlest ways, as likewise to obliterate Him whose it is, but neither has availed.
It continues to be a witness till judgment come, and its pangs are already at work in the suffering creation, according to His word, so it is (Answers to Questions Ch. 5), precisely in our own day, and what a wonder of fulfilment abides here, that the prophetic word, just as Peter declared, should be a light in a dark place. The light however that surpasses will soon arrive, ensuring then as always it has been, that to the jot and tittle all the word of God is fulfilled (II Peter 2:19).
The word of God itself, was the issue. It always is. It always prevails, for God Almighty has in it the redemption which brings rest to the soul, the righteousness which brings peace to the brethren, and the cost analysis, which brings Christ to His place, Redeemer Divine, only Saviour and just Lord (Galatians 6:14). As Paul here says, "God forbid that we should glory EXCEPT in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to us and we to the world."
This cross, it is not papal billions, or pieces of bread! It was not in the private place, nor is it, but in the public domain of Calvary. Nor is it philosophies (cf. I Corinthians 1), which similarly seek to seduce it, but it merely smiles and despises defections, encouraging all always to return to Him whose it is, and so loving Him, keep His words (John 14:21-23). Philosophies die like the deranged, in chains and indeed, in their cases, often with contempt.
They cannot stand. Men pity them or despise; they come in glory, depart in shame. Christ comes in humility, works in wonder, dies in shame vicariously, predicted victim to bear in love the shame of man, and arises, His word intact, intractable, immutable, true for ever, unharnessed; and happy he who in the Lord, rests on its rocky stability (cf. Matthew 7:24ff.).
Christ is the calling of sinful man, and ignoring Him removes no sin, but augments it (John 3:19); and His words insist that the word of God be followed (Matthew 5:17-21), even declaring roundly that here the mightiest fall, and the least is exalted. Finally, let the saints of God, the believers in the Lord's Christ (Luke 2:36ff.), and not some other, remember John 15:7 (cf. 16:25-26), for with God NOTHING shall be called impossible.
Abide in Him, follow His word, and find in practice the love of God which empowers, the power which is that of love, and the truth which sets free from the ways of man, in the service of the majesty and humility of Christ. If you suffer, does not love suffer ? If you are faithful, is not love faithful ? If you fail in something, is not God merciful, and does not Christ cleanse from all unrighteousness (I John 1:6ff.).
Nothing is omitted in the Christ who IS Christ; and nothing is found in the christs, false ones as predicted in Matthew 24:7, 24, false prophets who misuse His name as do Romanist and Moslem alike, neither glory nor honour nor truth nor a destiny in deity; for where Christ is not present, neither is the way, and where there is no way, there is no end in the beauty of His presence.
Of Him, it is written in word (Hebrews 1:12), as it is indited into history: "You are the same, and Your years will not fail." Again we read (Hebrews 8): "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever." How many have been the new christs manufactured by philosophy, coveted for theology, branded and broken, supplied to fallen churches and sneering cynics. Yet they do not endure; they do nothing, have nothing, accomplish nothing, are tested in nothing except there be failure, are mirages of the mind, millenia too late, suitable for those afflicted by them (cf. SMR Ch. 6, Ch. 10).
It is men or Christ, God as man; it is man's words, be it those of 'churches' which bellow without submission to His written word, or actual Mastery, or of philosophy, or God's word, which focussing ONE ONLY CHRIST, suffers no other. To be born to die in AD 30, this is a strong and difficult task for those who affect to be the christ (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4); and to find a substitute for the Bible, which alone has ruled in truth and indefectibility these more than three millenia, this too is impossible.
ONLY ONE THING is possible concerning Christ, and concerning truth (cf. SMR), and this, it is the testimony, unchanging and standing while scientific theories and philosophies alike change like the tides, which endures. You cannot invent one three thousand years ago, instead. There is nothing else but this; and in it, nothing else but Christ, and in Him, nothing less than rest, and in that, nothing that can maul peace, of which He is prince.
There is no other Christ. LET CHRIST BE CHRIST.
It is not for nothing that Simeon referred to the babe in his arms as THE LORDíS CHRIST! (Luke 2:26). Nor is it for nought that Paul warns of the other Jesus, the other Gospel, the other spirit, all of which are not other (cf. Galatians 1:6-9), but freakish failures, where men make what has made them, and become asinine in their pretension (cf. Romans 1).
Men can make what they will, but God has sent, will send and has indicated the sending of but ONE (Ephesians 1:10). This manís Christ, or this bodyís Christ, made of philosophy or bread or arms, it is mere abuse of terminology. The only one who matters, is the One who earned the name, and mixes His deity with NONE (Luke 6:46), will return Himself the same (Acts 1), and judge according to the truth (John 12:48-50). There are no options with God. HE IS, and says accordingly, I AM, and again, Before Abraham was, I AM! (John 8:58, Exodus 3:14). From Age to Age the same, from people to people He is the same Judge, the only Saviour, the One who did what it took, and took what it required, whose word rules, whose royalty is attested, whose deity has invested in man, what none other can pay (cf. Psalm 49:7,15).
He who works at the level of God, speaks at His level, is accorded His own name by Him (Psalm 45), who has done what none other is equipped to do (Hebrews 1-2, 9 -10), this is the Lordís Christ, gift of heaven, cure for earth, judge of those who despise His mercy, grace of heaven embodied in the beauty of holiness.