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CHAPTER  5

WHICH BRAND, AND WHO WAS BRANDED!

News 318

The Australian, July 12, 2004

Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello, is reported to have made a call for people to keep the 10 commandments. He said, however, rather more than this...

COMMANDS GIVEN

BUT IN WHAT GOSPEL, GLORY AND GRACE

There is nothing amazing about that. He points out his concept: "I think the Judaeo-Christian ethic has been the basis of Western civilisation, and perhaps the contributions from the Greek philosophers, but that is the basis."  As to the Greeks, perhaps this is with apologies to the EU new Constitution, which in a May 2004 version was going to mention this, and not Christianity at all! (cf. Three Anzas, One Answer Ch. 5). Greece went, with its myths, and its philosophy held something rather better, but still, often was immersed in painfully inadequate reductionism, verging on the comic (cf. Deliverance from Disorientation Ch. 7, Repent or Perish Ch. 7, Spiritual Refreshings Ch. 13).

Thus it is to the point, what he says on this matrix function of such a tower of continuity, unlike the Twin Towers of the land of the Statue of Liberty, as includes in its penthouses, the 10 commandments.

He notes the importance of focus on faith and the 10 commandments, adding as core items implied, "respect for property, respect for your neighbour," adding, "I think these are universal values and I don't think we should be ashamed to speak about them."

To be sure, he is not mentioning the Christ of the Cross, which is the BIBLICAL CORE (Galatians 6:14) which is inseparable from Christianity AS ITS HEART, so that what ignores this, is wholly non-Christian, just as a man without a heart is not a functional human being. There is a thing called the Gospel, actually, without which even the apostle PAUL would be accursed, as he declares in Galatians 1. Being accursed is not much chop in religious terms. It is not very advanced ... Hence, without the Gospel there is, in Christian terms, NOTHING. What is the cross ?

Obviously Paul is using it in terms of its implications, as metonymy if you like, for it means all that the term  signifies in the interpretations and applications made in the word of God. In Philippians 2 you see the whole plan sketched out in terms impossible to misunderstand. Christ, the word of God, was in the form of God, and in nothing was inferior to God as such, equality being nothing to snatch at; but He made Himself to be available in the form of a servant, a a man yet without sin (I Peter 2, Romans 8); and acting for His Father (since He had been born into a virgin for this purpose, sent on this mission from eternity - John 17, Matthew 1, Isaiah 48:16), He was obedient, being perfect as a human being.

God as man, sinless, vulnerable, appointed, anointed, sent for a mission of the most profound mercy, He came to express radically the heights of revelation (John 14:9). That was not least to display perfect harmony with His Father, as men should with their Creator, and thus being wholly pure, to become wholly condemned, when received the guilt of sin vicariously, so that He felt the very alienation of His Father, as if He were forsaken (as Psalm 22 cf. Joyful Jottings 22-25, had predicted, and Matthew 27:46 exhibited in history).

This was a necessary part of the procedure, as SIN SEPARATES from God (Isaiah 59:1ff.), and in bearing it, either Christ was going through a form or in fact paying the penalty. Since it is the latter as foretold (Isaiah 53:3-6), and as confirmed (Galatians 3:1-13), hence it was necessary that this sense of being forsaken on the Cross should occur; and God who knows all, indicated in Psalm 22, centuries in advance, indeed a millenium, that it would be so.

As one put it, the soul of His suffering was the suffering of His soul.

As death was a disruptive, dispersive and judgmental thing, and God in love (John 3:16, I John 4:7-9,14), He put paid to death for as many as received Him (Romans 8:32), and those for whom He was in this way in a substitutionary sacrifice delivered up, are assigned to eternal life in heaven with God, this life beginning NOW (I John 5:12, John 6:47ff.).

As God cannot be divested of His own life, whatever form He uses, as to death, it was "impossible that he should be held by it" (Acts 2:24). In this way, the judgment by transfer of the guilt of those who received Him, using His pardon, was transferred in His death, and He bore it. Reciprocally,  the righteousness of this same Christ whom death could not hold, who was physically resurrected (Luke 24, John 20:24ff.), was likewise transferred to His saved ones (Titus 3:5ff., Ephesians 2:8 ... His 'having been saved ones' there), as II Corinthians 5:17-21 points out expressly. He was a ransom (Matthew 20:28) and paid the penalty required. He did more; He transmitted the standing before God freely that was His own, that is, righteousness was imputed and transformation was imparted.

Those who set their trust in Him, revealed from heaven, His ways and words written, His promises and predictions inscribed, His portrait conserved, His Spirit sent to live powerfully and with purging grace in the hearts of His people: these are saved from due judgment and raised into 'heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). In this way,  their lives are now those of people who are His friends. If they sin, they may be divinely disciplined (Hebrews 12), but that is the lot of children, and those who want to be His children, are of course happy to be treated as such. Those who are not disciplined, as He says, are like illegitimates; but we are speaking of what is legitimate!

This is in major substance, the Gospel. Without this, there is no Christianity. Now the 10 commandments are a selection of some of the things God commands us. You cannot become a Christian by keeping them, and all those things of which these are so choice a part. Firstly, all have sinned (Romans 6:23), and are hence under sentence of death, as the apostle proclaims. Secondly, the work is profound to redeem, buy back from the disruption which CAN even produce sin, from that sort of fallen nature. Christ alone has what it takes to pay (Psalm 49:7,15). HENCE, NO ONE CAN BOAST, as if his works got him there; and this is thunderously affirmed by Paul (Romans 3:23ff.), in highly dramatic emphasis. It is pursued similarly in Galatians 3,5.

 

COMMANDS, BUT WHOSE!

Hence the 10 commandments, though indeed vitally important to ethics, are wholly USELESS as a MEANS of becoming one of Christ's people. IF you are one of His, then these things are newly enabled, and the human spirit back of them, which would be committing adultery even by harbouring such thoughts in the mind (Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7), is now liberated so that sin is no more a lord or sovereign in the life. This excluding power includes conviction and then eviction of such things as pride, as Paul has made so clear in Romans 3. This it does as much as of any other invention of flesh: that specious setting itself up under its own soiled roof, with pretentious pomp and self-regard.

The commandments which are far more than 10, these are the cart; Christ is the horse. That is Christianity.

That is the Gospel. Without this, instead of Christianity, there is as Paul shows, CURSEDNESS.

It is not a fine shading, that; on the contrary, it is either an abyss, or the sublimity of salvation by Christ ONLY, ALWAYS (Romans 5:1-11, John 10:8,27-28, 5:24, Ephesians 1:11). Salvation from sin precedes even an understanding with which to please God (cf. SMR pp. 520ff.).

There is room for ZERO input from man to secure this; though he may of course, having been GIVEN it (Ephesians 2:8, Romans 6:23), work it out with fear and trembling, for it is then God who is working in Him, both to will and to do (Philippians 2:12ff.).

Hence it is for this reason, firstly, untrue that the 10 commandments are NOT exclusive to the Christian faith (and its Old Covenant background, which is self-defining in the Old Testament as presented by the Jews), as Peter Costello is cited to have said. They are different in perspective and setting at once.

They are different in format. Where else are they seen presented as such in basic documents which preceded the Bible ? They are different in formulation: where else is the God of the Jews to be found giving them, on His own, but where they come with OTHER terms which inter-mingle with these commandments to make an integrity, one whole in which they find a place, as does a cupboard in a kitchen.

Yet this is far from all. If no other God, for example but the Lord of the Old Covenant is to be worshipped, how on earth could any Islamic person follow THAT command, even if it were all in a book of his, rather than in the Bible, given by the Jews in its Old Testament! (cf. Romans 9:4ff.). They do not worship that God; they ignore or deny, or disrupt His whole plan of salvation as noted in some detail in SMR pp. 1080ff..

It is impossible to keep the first commandment of the 10 commandments! if you follow the Koran. You fail outright on the first and great commandment, which is to recognise the SOURCE of the commandments not only as a god, but as the ONLY GOD, the God of creation, contradistinct from all others, the king of the whole earth on HIS OWN TERMS as God! (Exodus 20:2-6). Indeed, He is cited as the God who led the Jews out of Egypt, that slave pen!

In His own intimacy, and in His own prophets, and in His own word, specific, separate and authorised, He has done all these things, shown all these things, given this covenant, made these demands, shown this grace, and it is here and here alone that He identifies Himself in this exceedingly specific and utterly unique way.

Though so far from this word, so far from accepting even the Biblical plan of salvation which has soared from first to finish,  in the Koran nevertheless it is maintained that the Jewish prophets were from God. Thus it is apparent that Muhammad is in this contradicting himself at the outset, since his plan is wholly other than theirs who were the prophets of Israel (cf. SMR pp. 1080ff., More Marvels Ch. 4Divine Agenda Ch. 6). As to the God of creation and of Israel, redemption is HIS key-note; but it is far otherwise in the Koran (cf. Isaiah 44:6, Leviticus, Isaiah 52-55). With Him, it is either in by faith for ever, or not in at all, through failure to accept the grace of the covenant (cf. Isaiah 53:10, 51:11, John 6:50ff.). It always was so, and it always will be, since sin came (cf. Barbs ... 17, News 87, TMR Ch. 3, Hebrews 13:8, Revelation 5, 21-22).

The Lamb is always central, is the eternal word of God (Micah 5:1-3, John 17:1-3, and John 1:1, where there is only one God, Ephesians 4:4, and nothing else to select!):  for God is one Creator and one Saviour, and Christ is both (Colossians 1:15, John 1:3, Isaiah 43:10-11, 44:24-26). Sent from the Father, He atones in His own name, the triune God in action.

There is no question of brands, as if there were versions; for if one thing is obvious, it is this, that there is one Bible which for millenia has been compounded through the Jews, and there is one plan of salvation in it, which has been given by the writer to one and to all, and there is one Christ, who was to die at the time appointed and did, and that it is he who was branded with sin, and no other. His branding is as distinctive as is the divine insistence on His own word. It is impossible to confuse.

It is not only a question of someone seeking to impersonate and so blend the adequate with the inadequate, the evidential with the unempirical, the valid with the invalid (cf. TMR Ch. 5, SMR pp. 50ff. 65ff.); it is a question of shelving the Saviour, sundering the unity, being offensive about the blood of Christ by ignoring it, disparaging it, seeking in some way to countermand it. This is the direction of flow of those who flow away from God; it is the erratic way of those who flow because it goes, and seem not to realise the escalation of alienation from God such an imposture creates*1. Though many may not mean so to do, however, yet this is the way of it; and to this declivity, many culturally acclimatise themselves.

 

GOD speaks, His own words to the last point individual to Himself, and He sustains them; He verifies them; other counsel He frustrates. So He says and so it is found to be in detail of the most meticulous kind! (Isaiah 44:25ff.).

Therefore He is unavailable to be married off, tarried off, harried off; He is who He is and He has made it clear that through Isaac is His seed called (Genesis 21:12), till Christ, when through His salvation is anyone called (Acts 4:11-12); but there is no other word, no other covenant, but this bud-bloom Old and New, culminating in Jesus the Christ (Romans 9:1-6,25-10:9). This Jewish prophet, Isaiah makes it perfectly clear that this is the end of the line, this Christ, whose kingdom will prosper, grow and of it there will be no end (9:7). No other name has place, and any other name is therefore false.

It is One, one highly specific God who has revealed Himself in one highly particular way for one very good major reason, that His revelation bring hope, help, understanding, salvation, wisdom, communication and resolution of woes into joys and goodness, with friendship through faith, and goodwill through grace from Himself to men. He has done this total revelation once in one book, in one faith, with one plan of salvation, with one bevy of prophets for one redemption which is for one kingdom which has one Lord and one Saviour; and it is by salvation, which is the one path, and by no other.

This word and this plan, this sending and this salvation, it is one and it  is not another. It was not to another. It is as it was, and channeled as God chose (Deuteronomy 7:7-8:1), to the nation He pleased, to show His praise and reveal His nature, definitively decisively, incisively, irrevocably and truly, without confusion or contest. The flow of words in that channel arose as He chose them, and the Christ on whom they consistently focussed is as the Lord forecast and history received, in all precision and in all power to the most minute detail. Hence no addition is permissible (Proverbs 30:6). Indeed, the world will be removed (Matthew 24:35, Isaiah 51:6), but not His words ( I Peter 1:23-25), nor His place (Ephesians 1:10, Revelation 5); and those born from His word by His Spirit will remain, because they are with Him (Isaiah 51:11, Psalm 17:15, 145:2, Ephesians 1:11).

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As to His words, collective in unitary estate (cf. Isaiah 34:16),
focussed on the Messiah (Isaiah 40:10, Ephesians 1:10),
mighty in salvation (Isaiah 63:1ff.),
never to suffer addition (Proverbs 30:6),
to be understood in spirit (Proverbs 8:8-9, Ephesians 1:17), t
hese are wrought for faith in a milieu of love, and a spiritual anointing of power.

His word and His works agree in one.
 

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Like one body, His word though unitary in scope and stature, is multiple in members;
singular in status, it is myriad in meaning, rich in reality and disclosure;
 

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close in context, it is pellucid in presentation.
 

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It is as divorced from the Syro-Phoenician and Middle Eastern religions of the present,
as from those of the past; it is altitudinous above the mind of man in its origin from his Creator
(Isaiah 55:9ff.). Seen in integrity, grasped in spirit, applied in precision, it is executed in mercy, interpreted in love, flashing with salvation, delightful to the lovers of God,
as photographs of a loved one, to the lover.

You cannot be selective about it: HE is the God who brought Israel out of Egypt. This is what the first commandment states concerning Him. It is He whose every word is to be revered, and THAT is in the 10 commandments as to who and who alone HE IS, and in Deuteronomy as to the folly of trying to add or subtract. God speaks: it is very clear that NO ONE may add. Since HE is God, infinite above man, that would be the imperialism of asinine autonomy.

Offences against His disposition can be punished with death (cf. Numbers 16,  Leviticus 10). He is not God in the abstract, but God in speech, expressive, impactive, declarative and self-defined. His is the covenant, the solemn, authoritative, celestially revealed word for man (cf. Micah 4, Isaiah 2). Breach of this revelatory covenant is abhorrent (cf. Psalm 55:20, Deuteronomy 29:18-20).

If anyone wishes to join this covenant, provision is there, but they do not make their own! It is on the EXISTING TERMS (Isaiah 58). The ONLY one to supersede Moses is the LORD (as in Isaiah 11, Psalm 45, 22, Isaiah 52-55, Deuteronomy 18:15ff.), and even He, as Moses declares,  is to be "from the midst of you, of your brethren",  whose will is to be wrought and followed, whose career is cited in detail in Isaiah, Micah and other prophets. ]

Israel and not another is set up to show forth His praise (Isaiah 43:21). Other nations will be under the rule of THIS SAME GOD (Isaiah 52:13ff., Psalm 67, Zechariah 12-14), and His Messiah (cf. Psalm 2 where they seek to avoid this), and if the Jewish nation is to be stripped (Isaiah 65:13-15), it is also to be restored (cf. SMR Appendix A, Ezekiel 36ff., Micah 7, Deuteronomy 32), ON the basis of the neglected Messiah (Zechariah 12:10), whom it had wrongfully scorned.

HOW is it to be restored ? Zechariah makes it exceedingly clear:

it is by repentance for their assassination of their own Messiah, indeed the Messiah for all nations (Isaiah 42:6, 49:6), and a drawing near to God on that self-same Messianic basis!

It is by returning to the Lord, this same Messiah who died in that same day when it was foretold (cf. Highway of Holiness Ch. 4).

It is to be restored then (cf. It Bubbles ... Ch. 10, Great Execrations ...Ch. 4),

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as a criterion of revelation via the word of God written (cf. Ezekiel 37:28, 38:23),

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given to them (Amos 3:7),

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for which service it was chosen (Isaiah 43:21),

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and then as a component of the saved,

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through the issuance of that word,

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in Jesus Christ, whose salvation is not optional but NECESSARY (Acts 4:11-12),

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without which no man can see the Lord.

 

If He does not save, the soul is still alienated from God, and this is by divine revelation, not only observation! (Ephesians 4:17-19, 2:12).

You can make up a new religion, but it will be yours, not God's; and it will have neither the antiquity nor the power over the ages, to meet the case for man, whose sin has from the first been a rupture and a confrontation with God, which led to death from which salvation alone can deliver, so that the word concerning salvation was issued first in Eden (Genesis 3:15). Otherwise, there would be nothing but devastation of a reviling and revolting race; but God chose mercy not desolation, and to become desolate on the Cross, in order to be just and the justifier of the one who believes in Jesus the Messiah (cf. Romans 3:26).

The religion of God is for export, not import, and the export is ACCORDING to the covenant, not into some other pseudo-divine realm with its own laws, ways, thoughts and ... mode of entry. Moreover, Moses WITH his 10 commandments, set much more, and when he set it, it was already in the context of the historic revelation of God in Eden (Genesis 3:15), which he recorded from the mind of God.

These commandments are but PART of a texture which is NOT to be added to nor departed from in any point (cf. Deuteronomy 4, 12).

Thus in WORSHIPPING NO OTHER GOD BESIDE ME, as God requires in the first commandment of the 10, the Islamic host are failing at once, for this which is prohibited, it is precisely what they do! They do not even have this book; they do not even have this salvation, without which there is NOTHING! They do not have this other prophet which is to come to the people (Deuteronomy 18:15ff.), and be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:1-3) and work miracles in Galilee (Isaiah 8-9,35), whose kingdom is for ever without any interruption or inter-regnum (Isaiah 9:1-7); but they have another, unlawful, outside the scope of the word of God, contrary to it in idea, in plan and in entry to the divine.

The Islamic innovation some 2000 years after Moses, 600 after the Christ who came in His appointed mission at the appointed time, it is another God in setting, in scripture, in redemption, in plan of salvation, in Messiah and in method. If however a man or woman is to follow God, then obeying HIM is obeying not only this word or that, but KNOWING Him and so seeing in perspective what He has wrought, and acting in the right spirit in application of justice and mercy, understanding and grace (cf. Jeremiah 9:23ff.).

It is indeed FIRST necessary, we find, to KNOW this God and to understand Him as the prophet declares, so that he who "glories, glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises loving-kindness, justice and righteousness, in the earth; for in these things I delight, says the LORD." It is in HIM ALONE we glory; and everything else is to be seen as derivative from this triune God (cf. Isaiah 48:16 cf. SMR pp. 532ff.).

No, Mr Costello, it is far from true that the Islamic faith has a part in THESE ten commandments, which are integral to the body of the faith in the Old Testament, as a wrist is to the body. There is NO liberty to depart from the body, but all is as found in it. The God who declares them KNOWS they cannot be kept, because of sin; but gives a redemption which makes it natural to love them, and so transforms the situation (Ezekiel 11, Hebrews 8).

 

COMMANDS, BUT WHERE!

Even if they were so to be found in some Islamic book, it is far too late. In both the Old and the New Testament (Psalm 32, cf. Barbs... 17, TMR Ch. 3), to take them over, would be as if to behead someone; for they are an expression a procedure in life, not the way you get it, which is by sacrifice, by pardon (Psalm 51, Leviticus 4, 17:11, 32, Isaiah 52-53) in a transforming new relationship with the living God (cf. Ezekiel 11:19ff.).

The way you get there is by blood (cf. Hebrews 9:12-15,22); the way you live is by His word, not just some of it, but all of it concerning character, communion, worship, adoration, thankfulness, praise, understanding, wisdom and whatever other things He indicts for godliness (cf. II Peter 1 here!).

The endeavour of Peter Costello, therefore, to form some kind of extended 10 commandment synthetic stylisation is wholly contrary to the evidence, both in simple fact, and in meaning, composition and impact. That these commandments MAY be used in great style is true; that they have been; but it has been far more than the 10 commandments which have so been used, for they have been used, as they are, in their SETTING. The MERCY of God, and the SALVATION of God is as much part of the context as the COMMAND, and it is impossible to use the one without the other.

The 10 START where all revelation ends, with reference to God Himself, the particular, historically revealed, decisively indicted God, whose words are His own, neither toys nor items of interest, but signals of arrest, gracious divulgement and divine detail.

If I write a letter to my son telling him to accept my cheque for $10,000 and to study hard, keeping his heart clean and his will fresh for divine service, and one were to report on this, then it would be wrong to signify the gift without the work, or vice versa, or either without the spiritual situation in which they are placed, the fresh will and serviceable attitude sought in the midst of the gift. It would be doubly wrong to omit reference to the gift. It is trebly wrong when the gift, in the actual case of man to which we are looking, to omit the gift when it transforms the agent, his understanding and his capacity in spiritual things.

It is, in actual historical fact, the case that ALL of these things were an EXPLICIT part of the Britain from which Australia drew its chief initial input, and very much of its law. Emphasis on law, without its context, however, can readily lead to a sense of frustration, for if law is all, or chief, then to name but one point, those who by dishonesty, in this or any other generation, are now rich, simply continue as such. Mercy and love require some consideration of more than law, of the integrity of heart and purity of spirit, which even LOVES. Law helps to regulate; love to consecrate and communicate.

Indeed, Christ called out two commands, one from  Leviticus 19:18 and one from Deuteronomy 6:5, as the CHIEF ones, when the context of salvation was brought into sharp focus.

The 10 commandment undergirding concept throughout the world, or even in three religions, therefore, is far from realistic whether in practical terms, in written terms, in perspective, in plan or in total significance. As in one of Norman Mailer's books, one character pointed out, if one remembers, a hand that is no longer PART of a friend (after, for example, he has been blown up by the enemy) is different. It does not really LOOK like him or his any more!

The VALUES OF TRUTH accordingly, a phrase attributed to Costello, must not be allowed to become ambiguous. Truth is the word of God. There is one God. One has a Son. One alleged God does not. There are not the same. One has a free salvation; one has not. One sent His Son, His only begotten into in love to the world to save sinners. The other had no such Son and did not so send Him, and that not only because there was none noted to send, but because there is no plan of free salvation to administer, constitute and create. He is not having any!

 

THE GREATEST OF THESE

Enthusiasm is great; truth is greater. Law can be excellent; but faith is wonderful. Faith in your own heart or mind is nonsense: without absolute truth there is no way for you to know it, or who or what you are; and with it, you must find truth as it is, not as you think, for that is merely your projection. Faith can be good, but faith in the divine OBJECTIVE GOD alone is either sensible or wise. Faith in what is not the ultimate can ultimately lead to your own just destruction.

It is no use derogating the uniqueness of God by trying to pass off His ways or words into some other realm; it is even worse trying to ignore His salvation when seeking some community of righteous concepts. It is useless to work and walk by law, for grace is needed where disease is rampant, the case on this earth; and and it is even more so where sin against the living God is SO GREAT that many are ignoring who He is, and the evidence of His word, in order to follow something, whatever. This is the heart-set of idolatry, and idolatry, that is an ultimate sin. You throw away the map, and make roads out of your own heart.

As Ezekiel put it, they set idols in their hearts (Ezekiel 14:7). What does the prophet say of this ?

"Thus says the Lord God:

'Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations. For anyone of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who separates himself from Me and sets up his idols in his heart and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, then comes to a prophet to inquire of him concerning Me, I the Lord will answer him by Myself.

'I will set My face against that man and make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. And if the prophet is induced to speak anything, I the Lord have induced that prophet, and I will stretch out My hand against him and destroy him from among My people Israel.

'And they shall bear their iniquity; the punishment of the prophet shall be the same as the punishment of the one who inquired, that the house of Israel may no longer stray from Me, nor be profaned anymore with all their transgressions, but that they may be My people and I may be their God," says the Lord God.

"The word of the Lord came again to me, saying:  

'Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it. Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,' says the Lord God."

Therefore, though this word of God was to theocracy called 'Israel' in that day, it is only in the form and format that the difference is; for the ATTITUDE of God is that of His heart, which never changes (Psalm 102:27-28, Hebrews 13:8, Matthew 5:17ff.). Until the last jot and tittle will He perform His word, however long it takes, into eternity. God is personal and speaks. Does not Psalm 94 remind us that if we can speak, cannot He; if we can hear, cannot He!  Does not the artificer of means in a realm He created, know the things to which the means are set for the inhabitants of His created realm. If they need an ear to hear, then the Maker of it all can Himself hear the more readily, needing no equipment, but having all wisdom to device for the design He makes.

Righteousness ALWAYS exalts a nation, and sin is always a reproach to any people. It was not for nothing that Britain and the USA rose to super-power status when Christianity moved most freely in their midst, and most substantially. It is not that you do it to get places, for the Cross is not that sort of place; and you have to take it up and follow Him (Luke 14:27ff.). It is however true that if a nation follows what is right, it brings blessing and strength, BECAUSE it is right, adept in reality.

Selfish constructions apart, this is the result of doing it as it should be done. In practice of course, the world being what it is, much may be lost in seeking to show mercy, to endure hardship, to overcome evil with good, to serve Christ with love and to aid people to find Him and grow in Him. Christ ? For His part, it cost Him His life, since HIS love was willing to endure the Cross that we might so much as have ANY relationship with God, other than that of enemies, commandments or not! (Ephesians 2:12, 4:17-19).

What is the good of a command to a dead heart! Going about to establish one's own righteousness was always a vital pit for those who preferred form to reality, whether Jew as in Isaiah 1, and Romans 10, or Gentile as in II Corinthians 11. So yes, let us rejoice if some of the law of God is in our laws; but neither imagine that this is all the law, or all the perspective, or enough of either, or objectively shared in its context and construction, its mode and its understanding, with what is other. Law is wrought with hearts for hearts, and the heart of God concerning law must first be understood, if one is to keep the law at all.

Otherwise, in the wrong spirit, the right law becomes an instrument of debilitating thrall, not a dazzling exhibit from an exhilarating throne (cf. Acts 15:10). Moreover, it must not be shared out to gods who have nothing to offer in the way of evidence, as if the God of all evidence (cf. Isaiah 41, 43, 48 cf.   Let God be God Ch.   6  ) were to be 'politely' mixed with what assails His word, rejects His Messiah and seeks submission to a god of another kind entirely.

Actually, God so LOVED the world that He gave, and the pinnacle of giving lies in its equal necessity, His only begotten Son as Saviour and our Lord. To love Him as such and as He is, and to receive Him as such, and to love one another, this is the foremost. Only then is the scene set, the scenario understood, the sympathy evoked, the faith focussed, the law beautiful, the Gospel given, the word of God grasped;  and the only God there is, the Creator of all, the only one validly attested or evidentially verified, only then is HE, the living God served.

The law alone is like a whip left around, without the Father's heart, hand or purpose; it is like a car left around, without the driver; like a ship in harbour, without the reason for the voyage. Worse, combining charts is like chartering a vessel to fish the seas, and combing the oceans in some perspective which confuses the issue and ensures that those following it are enticed into confusion.

 

 

NOTE

*1 See Biblical Blessings Ch. 9.