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NO LICENCE TO LUST
THE PRIORITY OF IMAGINATION
It is true that this is a moral dissertation; but it is much more than that.
The point is that human imagination can have a degree of liberty which resembles in thought motion, that of the birds, in cliff swoops and ocean rollickings, in level flying on the wave top area, in handling the winds in apparently motionless, seemingly effortless grace, by staying still in the midst of a flurry of wind, in darting like a dive bomber but with far more agility, to some spot on the earth, thence to swoop done, only to ascend like some stream of flame, to the heights.
Imagination ? It can cavort, contort, distort, it may reveal or conceal, it can jumble into a jungle the clearest concepts, and contrarily make out of a seeming jungle, filled with ambushes, a straight path. It may divine the meaning of something in a momentary leap, or ignoring facts, create new worlds never destined to move beyond the spirit of the person concerned. It can fly where there is no air, it can breathe life into things which appear inanimate.
This divorce from all things material, in the mental, is enhanced prolifically by the power of the spirit of man, for whom the mind is such an agile agency, for to the mind it can feed visions of truth and godliness, or abysses of turgid, sweltering air, like fog demented; it can grasp agilely in its arm, the work of a generation, then express its errors, or make devastating errors in the work of a generation, with equal ease. If flits, it ascends, it respires with reality, or despising truth, relishes the lie (II Thessalonians ). Whichever way it goes, it can disdain the wind of circumstance, depart from the constraints of culture, inventing benefaction or respiring with malignancy.
Its domain is understanding, its métier wisdom or its lack, just as bones may or may not have osteoporosis, yet it is without this that they manage their task far better! Further, it can achieve relationships or abandon them at the purely personal level, cut the tissues of friendship at a snip, or make placid the lake of peace between persons, with a sigh of penetration.
This is the surging reality
of the human spirit, allied to the manufacturing skill of the human mind, a
partnership intrepid, for good or for evil. It distances the things of matter
far more totally than a rocket into space, the earth; for the mode of operation
is entirely separated, the only relic of such things in matter, the brilliance
of its contrivance, that it should be at all.
THE LANGUAGE OF LUST
This very facility of spirit, this precise power of mind, is the basis of lust. As breathing is functional and natural to man, while breathlessness is the result of exercise, and has limits; so imagination is functional and natural for man, made in the image of God and so spirited in his activities, when divorced from the slush of mire and the impediment of cultural misconceptions. When, however, imagination is out of breath, no longer cares about the restraints of truth, but confuses freedom to rove, to create, to construct, with a limitless expanse, like some eagle, intoxicated with height and rapacity, which crashes oblivious, into oblivion without heed: then it turns to lust, and lust traces its path to death.
Thus to imagine a LIE, for a purpose, is a collision with reality, and the payment will come, unless mercy intervene.
To LIE for a program, to lie for a proposition, it is all the same: the payment will come.
It will come in inefficiency: not perhaps at first, as when Hitler all but captured Moscow before the Winter which in no small measure cost him the war; but if the lie be not relinquished, the payment will come at last, as when a few hundred thousand men were uselessly sacrificed at Stalingrad for the obstinacy of glory. It will come in grief, not perhaps at first, when the intellectual thief gains fame from the work of another; but at last, when his mediocre talent troubles him throughout his artificially boosted life. It will come in guilt and shame, not perhaps at the commencement, when the stealing of God's manufacture, his own life, for the purposes of pride and vanity, selfish selection of ends without reference to the owner, or submission to the laws of His domain, the thoughts of His heart, may seem a boost, honour, with a scent of autonomy irresistible, irrepressible. Yet at the end, it will come, when the judgment sits, and the IMAGINATION that the owner and maker could be effectually disregarded, becomes rather too obviously wrong.
LUST is the misuse of liberty. It is the point at which liberty becomes inflated with desire, not for its due deployment, in inventing new worlds of thought, of heart, of emotion, of understanding, but for its rancid and reckless abuse of its natural powers, in creating not for thought, but for life, liberties beyond the truth, in conflict with it and distorting its purity and grace.
Lust can be of the body, when procreation becomes a mere aside to the gratification of desire, such that child or adult, male or female, in marriage or out of it, things are done without the honesty of purity, without the love children need, which is their due and functionally effective pre-condition, without the concern for the next generation, or without the realisation of what is meant for male and female, or for love and pleasure.
Lust inflames; life realises.
Lust relegates truth to desire; life implements wisdom with delight.
Lust actualises disaster with thrust; life experiences reality with profundity.
Lust makes chaos; life provides order. But it requires its source for its specifications; its sentences of procedure, for its workings; and when these are abandoned, why there is lust, even in the least sexually excited, the least drug infected, the least slaughterous of politicians, the least aggressive people. TO HAVE your own life, to DIRECT your own affairs, to SECURE your own desires is mere lust. It is uncontrolled realisation of oneself, without realisation of the fact that oneself, the very matrix of meaning and selection, is a product of a proprietor, and that the world is so enraged and engaged in ways so brazen in ignoring these realities, that to join it in its ways, is simply divorce made manifest, from the love of God. Friendship with the world is enmity with God, declares James. It is quite simply the case.
Lust is in unbelief; lust is in disregard of God; lust is in mental machinations which revolve around oneself, or one's chosen idols, singular or plural, human or ideological.
Life is in the channels of chosen streams, in the pastures of provided paths, in the highways of holiness, where the mind of God, the companionship of the Lord, and the power of God to complete the work assigned, is the godly beauty of the way.
The language of lust is of the mind of man, out of his heart's imagination, and the concepts, principles and priorities are of this kind.
The language of life is from the mind of God, out of God's grace, and the concepts, the principles and priorities are of that kind. There is as much commerce between the one and the other as between the ice of mountain tops, and the fiery perils of nuclear explosions. The prince of THIS WORLD, said Christ, has NO PART IN ME (John ). It is not a question of degrees of atmospheric pressure; it is vacuum on the one hand, and life's proper pressures on the other.
"Therefore," says Paul, "having these
let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit
perfecting holiness in the fear of God" - II Cor;. 7:1.
Thus lust, associated with
uncleanness, is as much a thing of the spirit as the flesh. Moreover it is as much
a thing of the mind as of the spirit:
Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God,
because of the ignorance that is in them,
because of the blindness of their heart..."
Thus Paul in Ephesians 4:22 advises the Christians: "that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness."
With the old lusts gone, it is your MIND which is renewed. Lust is the unlicensed liberties which eat up freedom in folly, by corruption of the scope of invention, for the purposes of fraud, falsity and enormity, for godless exploits, whether set for self-satisfaction, personal ideal realisation or the oppression of others, alike, whether for self-gratification at one's imagined moral state, or at one's imagined (and perhaps all too real) misuse of power in oppression.
The term Paul uses, epiqumia, is, as Thayer points out, to keep the qumos turned onto something. The qumos is passion, angry heat, glow ardour. Hence a lively state of emotion, desire, thrust is devoted to some object, mental, spiritual physical, and this may be coveting possession, gloating or voting with the whole life, in a sort of possession or prepossession. What is sometimes thought of in this field constitutes merely the limitations of presumption.
Assuming God absent, indifferent or irrelevant, lust is not seen by the lustful to be relevant to its own endemic concept, as number would not be relevant if nullity were all that was in view. It often does not and cannot recognise itself.
When however, things are actually in view, then number can readily become significant. When God is in view, then UNDUE occupations, precisely in parallel with UNTRUE occupations, and OBLIVIOUS disregards of reality, can alike become lust simply because they arouse what is fitting in one respect, degree or aspect, for something which is other than this. Thus, what is due to God is made the possession, the focus of something else ... such as one's life; and that object of desire or dominion may be oneself, one's nation, one's profession, family, a combination, one's money, one's power, one's prestige, one's autonomy or virtually any other idol.
With some of these things, there is no evil as such, to be sure; but our topic is not evil as such. It is lust as such.
Lust is to be heard in the language of dedication, devotion, aspiration, ambition, priority, love, sentiment, when these omit God as the author and founder, the creator and saviour. It is the hollow language which like dry paper, old and long used, burns so freely with the lust of self's desires, whether direct or expressed vicariously through other objects duly SELECTED by the self, for service in the cockpit, singly or jointly, of life.
In aeronautical language, it is like selecting yourself, or any other passenger of your choice, to be pilot, without rights of ownership or licence of proficiency, and with the certainty that neither the first nor the second is possible for any one of the passengers, oneself included. It is lust for control, in that case, as for power in others, or understanding, again in others. Power works good, when rightly used; understanding is a perfect marvel, when it starts with that which, in absence, entails lightness of mind and shallowness of spirit: with God. Control is fine when it is self-control in the interests of the laws of God, His principles and His will.
These things without Him, however, are children taking over the home, and ignoring the parents. Lust is like letting children rule when immaturity is a datum, and folly is demonstrable. Lust starts with the disregard of God, and it ends with the improper regard of creation, its nature, its individuals, any one of them, its ways. Put in a plane as a pilot, your task is not to imitate the engines, but to CONTROL and DIRECT them for a PURPOSE and a JOURNEY which it is not even for you to construct, merely to implement. The NATURE of the plane relates to the MODE of going, not to the direction! So the nature of creation relates to the environment of action, not to its direction. (Cf. Biblical Blessings Ch. 7.)
use the craft without knowing the owner or program is sheer lust. It realises
the self, it adorns the imagination's dizzy desires and is an expression of
autonomy, idolatry or a combination so intense, that atomic fires burning at
Chernobyl or Hiroshima, seem but gentle flames by comparison; for these merely
represent distortion of order in material things; but those, they are
insurgencies directly into the presence of God! (Cf. The
Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 8.)
CRESTS AND CREDOS OF LUST
One of the
greatest of all the waves of lust was reached as shown in Genesis 6, when the
world - having whirled its worst for some time, with aggressive conduct, self-realisation, environmental exploitation, disregard of God, pleasure seeking, and educative deficiencies all in such a state that it is hard to differentiate it from the contemporary society which faces us all, and engulfs many - came face to face with divine comment.
Let us read it.
"Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the imagination of his heart was only evil continually" (bold added).
The concept, in view of the word used for 'imagination' here, appears to be this: everything his heart formed, made, created, imagined, the things he produced, these were evil. In bulk, it seems, every one was evil: it was a pandemic of evil, a proclivity to use the imagination in evil so intense, so vulgar, so vicious, so endued with impudence of arrogance, or aspirations without limit or knowledge that it was like a set of screaming children, made idiot by indiscipline and stimulus, in some kindergarten. The mind is not in itself made insane by spiritual insanity, but can appear grave and even pompous in the deliberations of the blind (cf. John -41).
The flood eventually removed nearly all, and those who had long had opportunity to laugh at righteous Noah, who found grace in the sight of the Lord, could now consider the lachrymosity of the elements, weeping skies without cease, which replaced their own missing repentance in tears so destructive that the whole civilisation was wiped out.
Another of course occurred in the crucifixion of Christ. YOU KNOW NOTHING AT ALL, came the portentous, and in fact prophetic word of the priest who cautioned those misled into fearing that Christ would soon win the world, since His works were so powerful and compassionate, effective and unmarred, following the resurrection of Lazarus (John 11).
How dreadful if the whole world should be filled with the knowledge of goodness and mercy, seen in the face of the compassionate Christ, directly transmitting the love of God, the incarnate expression, definitive and delivering from death, of the Almighty!
What a tragedy for this splendid world if such a thing as that had happened! Clearly it was the religious duty of the high priest, Caiaphas, to make his declamation, that Christ should die, for survival is SO very important.
Does it really matter if what survives would be better dead ? if what is killed would be better alive ? Get the power, use it and get on with the delightful business of ensuring it is you who lives, your people, your ideas, your desire, and all the rest dies, good though it may be, by the sacred and greatest law of death: Keep alive and don't worry about what dies! It is better dead if only you are alive. Survive comes the cry! as the world dies in its self-inflicted ignominy of heart and lapses of spirit, the scent of doom its companion.
"It is EXPEDIENT that ONE MAN should die for the NATION," came the Mafia declaration, the priestly pronunciamentao, the impious piety before its time. Thus some of the mania of Communism had already arrived. The individual did not matter; it was the corporate body which was all. Do not worry about such trifles as justice, fair play, ethics, morals or truth. Just get what you want, look out for number one (the nation in this case, but name it what you will, if it be not God, then you are in the state of lust), and in this case, with all the pomposity of apparent morality.
Thus in this case, the decision was made. Christ must die.
The doom of the people
whose decision that was has become one of the chief features of the history of
mankind. They of
It was so then, and for the Gentiles in large measure, it is so now. Then or now, in the crucifixion of Christ or in the crucifixion of His word (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 7) which proceeds apace, there is one thrust:
"Why do the nations rage,
And the people imagine a vain thing ?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
'Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.'
"He who sits in the heavens shall laugh,
The LORD shall hold them in derision.
Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure...
"Now therefore be wise, O kings,
Be instructed, you judges of the earth,
Serve the LORD with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
"Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him" (bold added).
Naturally you are blessed to trust in Him, since He is God; for otherwise (Jeremiah 9), this too would be blasphemy, the use of a creature in the role of Creator; whereas with Christ God indeed on earth, such trust is the most due and fitting, the very criterion of trust in God, since here was He in the midst, His face exposed in the format of flesh, to secure the formula of salvation.
You will notice also concerning this Psalm 2, that the progressive rebellion exposed and predicted by David, is not only for the day of Christ, though that pre-eminently, but for the whole WAY of Christ, coming right down to the time of judgment:
"You shall break them with a rod of iron.
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel" - v. 9.
that it covers the Gentiles also is clear from v. 8:
"Ask of Me and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession."
carefully observe this: it is the IMAGINATION or plotting of the people which
is a "VAIN THING". This is not of course because it IS imagination, but because the
imaginative propensity is directed in plotting in general and against the Lord
and His Anointed, in particular. It is imagination turned to lust, it is mind
turned to folly, it is reality despised, and the beauties of flights of mind
and spirit, turned into the ideational lasciviousness of lust for power, for
autonomy, for what is not your own, for rifling heaven, for ruining the things
of the Lord! It is progressive, moreover:
"Let us break their bonds in pieces,
And cast away Their cords from us."
them, then fling them aside. That is what was to be done, was done, and is in
the aftermath still being done with the laws and rules of the Lord. Do it in
mouth, do it in body, in mind, in spirit. Wallow in rebellion, work at it,
labour in it, do it thoroughly. Yes, it is so, and it is being done now with proliferation of mode and
profusion of episode; it is wrought more and more cumulatively among the
Gentiles, as formerly among the Jews.
The world has touched these things, the Cross, and the
word, and this saving medicine of immortality, Christ, God incarnate, His body
vicariously slain, victoriously risen, and this clean commandment of life
for your direction. This provision it has spat it out in many nations,
or distorted it, as in Romanism, where it has killed its
truth and many of its people;
aborted it as in Islam, where it has ignored its teaching,
invented new things with no evidence
It has used its truth in reverse format in Communism,
where the sinners, the people are to redeem, and the leaders are to be the
aristocrats, while many die, slaughtered in millions, a remarkable end for the
dictatorship they apparently have;
sundered it in the sects, which annul the form of the
founder, to mould it into some other person, the work into something of your
own, in part or in whole, and transmute the gospel into one more libel on God,
putting their words into His mouth as did the Jewish prophets of old (Jeremiah
lacerated it in liberalism;
deviously transmuted it in neo-orthodoxy, where new
definitions allow old phrases to be used and run amok;
nullified it in neo-evangelicism, where the phrases are redefined in absent action, by mouthing what is not done in crucial areas of purity and control, allowing syncretism to flourish and ever new deviations to arrive in time to prevent division or collapse*1.
The cross is too hard for many, and the commandments become not acceptable, or so only in part, despite the direction of Christ; for in parallel with preaching the gospel to every creature as in Matthew 28 and echoed in Mark, is this demarcation of the highway to tread: "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you," with the provision for this: "and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the Age."
And that 'observe' ? In Greek, it is hold or keep. It means get it, keep it, do it. Embrace it, have it, let it be in your grasp and keeping. It is not 'observe' in the increasingly popular sense, in some religious bodies, of LOOK AT IT, but do not bother to DO it, if it is contrary to the requirements of ecclesiastical diplomacy, denominational greatness or any other thing to be desired by the flesh!
As to the Cross the Lord took, and the word He gave, they are decidedly unfashionable. As if in some lonely defile, each one passing on his way through a testing place of extreme narrowness, one by one, the world in many nations and a bevy of religious bodies indeed, has tasted the gospel and the word, and expectorated their expectations, now languishing without; and now it is turning toward burning, not of its own desire, but of the conflagration of its own folly, in the terminal battles to come.
Now following the Jews as if they were impressed with their example; and despite the warning which that notable people provides, the Gentile powers continue to ask for the same divine retribution, past all mercy, past all pity, which the Jews, for their own limited period, have suffered. (as in Romans 11:19-22). What God says is done, whether to Jew or to Gentile.
Notwithstanding, those of them who disbelieve, in the end, with those of the Gentiles who follow their example, will alike find the end of lust. It is like a rapid explosion instead of the warmth, slowly derived, of a hearth. The energy is then fitted for destruction, not construction. Indeed, it is abundantly at work already (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5).
But what is the credo of one and all, as the end approaches, in some of its more essential features, explicit or implicit ?
I BELIEVE, they declaim or despatch: in myself, my psyche, my ego, my nation, or the international whatever it is to be, of nations, or this world, or destiny, or programmed living, or in reconstructed genomes in which the creator of the first one is ignored, or in environmentalism, or in classes, or no classes, or in the due development of all talent, or in making everybody the same, in case someone should grow envious, or whatever new or old, inane or inept philosophy, position or condition attaches itself with appeal to the one enslaved by it. (The admission of the value of these things is not always so readily gained, but in the end, these are the values that are there, and there is no way to gainsay it.)
I DO NOT BELIEVE, they continue, in God Almighty, Speaker of Message to this Earth, Giver of Grace to those to whom He first gave Life, in being Responsible to Him, in giving ACCOUNT to Him.
I BELIEVE in one world, one company of humanity on earth, on solution for all, one place for all, governed by all, for all, from all, through whatever presidents, delegates or determinants seem best. (Indeed there is some truth in this, for the pit is not place to be!)
So goes the credo.
They never learn. It is the incontinent aspiration. It is the lust or bust syndrome, and its result is always the same. It is like a small child, not gifted with intellect, who must be told endlessly the same message; or more like a relentlessly rambunctious ruffian or buccaneer as large as life, but not with it. It is part of the disease not to listen, never to heed (cf. Roman 1:31-32).
(Cf. Lead Us Not into Educational Temptation! Section XI.)
THE THIRD CREST
The Final Thrust of Lust
We are approaching a third crest now.
The Lord flooded; He came; and now He is to return.
All things do NOT continue as since the creation. That sense of continuity so precious to the deluded, is mere propaganda of desire, language of lust (II Peter 3:3-4).
As Peter there says, this concept proceeds (or in fact, as he predicted our current pathology in this respect, some two millenia ago, would proceed - and it now does) from 'scoffers', and these were those who would "come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts." And what is the product of the same, visible to the eye of the prophet, Peter ? This: "... saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming ? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation."
That is the character of these 'lusts'. There you see the Biblical concept of lust in its flying, flinging colours. LUST is here simply the inordinate desire to do without God, expressed in the co-ordinated language of desire, and the synchronised concepts of delusion. The passion, life, ardency is concentrated on that which is not, with all the intensity belonging to that which is. This is at once, the folly and the drama of idolatry.
And of such a
preoccupation, as the NIV has it for Jeremiah 2:5: "They … have followed
idols and become idolaters" is rendered, "they followed worthless idols and
became worthless themselves" (Theological Word Book of the Old Testament,
Harris, Archer and Waltke). The concepts of emptiness, vainness, futility,
worthlessness, senselessness alike are to be found bound to this word, here
adroitly used doubly in the context. Thus in Deuteronomy 32:37,39, when
shall say, ‘Where are their gods,
The rock in which they trusted…
See now that I, even I, am He,
And there is no god with me…"
Of the denotation of the term ‘God’, there is ONE, for the term does not change; and when one looks for more, then the One who is, says of the ones who are not, "there is no god with Me!"
The gods which lack the advantages of existence,
them rise up to help you,
Let them be for your protection…" (32:38),
but they do not seem to hear until the noise is deafening, and
that not with mere words:
"There is NONE who can deliver out of My hand…" (32:39).
It is just as in Isaiah 43:13, and , the latter reading:
LORD of hosts has purposed,
And who will annul it ?
His hand is stretched out,
And who will turn it back ?"
God says and He does. He speaks abundantly and does abundantly. All His words are for test; each happens, to the pith, to the point, to the precision that makes history a monument to majesty. He happens suddenly or slowly, now or later, in its setting, in its pattern, as He clearly directs in word, so in deed (Isaiah 41:21ff., 48:4-6).
what happens to prevent it.
what the false gods have to attest them.
their substance, their name being different by the device of human … lust!
therefore is the object of this furious, spurious, inveterate veneration,
dignity, honour, worship, high regard, for direction,
the summation of purpose of the deluded, who do not worship God,
the ONE who, being in existence, is infinitely far removed from ANYTHING
which is not in existence such as the actualities of the idols of the astute, for profit
(II Peter 2:1ff.), or of the numbed for pleasure or fear.
Then infinitely again is He far removed from anything merely finite which is in existence.
To be wrong
by a double infinity is no joke. The results are not either.
Play with fire by all means, if you must, for you may live; but play with the living fire
and there is no geniality about the folly of it. Third degree burns would be a joy by comparison.
The false god then is nothing. Such a god is as the Bible repeatedly depicts it, a 'vanity', an emptiness. The results however: these are not nothing. The interested parties in the delusion are not nothing. The deceit of the spirit of darkness, the adversary, which UTILISES the folly, this is not nothing (cf. The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 8). But what is it like, this falsity of devotion, dedication, direction, purpose in life, or actual worship indeed ?
It is like being obsessive about pushing down a pedal on a bike, in the sure and certain assurance that it was the accelerator of a racing care; or perhaps more aptly in our present generation, the pushing down of the accelerator of a tank, thinking it that of a push-bike. There is a certain disproportion in understanding, which makes the repetitively appalling results easy to understand.
Results accrue like Autumn leaves, in similar shades of yellow, cowardice on issues of virtue and truth, and red, in issues of removing what is in the way of this exalted race, or that, in its primary passage to the idolatry of survival. Love of a 'truth' evacuated of Him who is the truth, is a forlorn pretence. Love of a truth evacuated of His self-declaration is merely a delusive pretension, without warrant, evidence or authority, a glimmer of imagination on a summer day, not the winter of judgment according to the One who having made, knows what to make of all things, when the time comes (cf. SMR Chs. 1, 3, 5). It is just lust.
Alas all things are far from continuing as from the creation. Pain and death, suffering and ignominy, ignoble deeds and little hearts have scattered their ways in history as if it were a rubbish receptacle, in oblivion of the greatness of spirit, the wonder of heart, the choiceness of grace in the hearts of so many of the Lord's own people. It is He who attests Himself by such means, and many more. But what of the defalcations with His name, and without it ? The results have had turbulence, as when cross currents create a whirl-pool. Its movement is increasing, its stomach not repressed.
There have been episodes
innumerable, deliverances like
The peace of God remains where it always was and will be: in God, and with Him, with those who are His (Isaiah 27:5, 26:1-4, 53:10, 55:1-4). The principles of God remain as for millenia, where they have been, in His Book, His tested, verified and demonstrable book, the Bible. Its pages turned, collate with history happened, as a watch with a clock. The promises of God remain as always, sufficient, efficient, exciting in their adequacy, demanding in their purity, overreaching all opposition. The people of God continue, their fakes and substitutes proliferating, but their charter unchanged, and substitutes innumerable as ludicrous as ever. People are warned about fakes from Jeremiah on (cf. 23:9-29), and from long before.
What DOES continue unbeautiful, highly mutable, except in this, that its presence is indisputable, and that as since the creation, or soon after the first, is this: sin in man. It continues now, however, is victoriously changed circumstances, for the penalty for it is paid for all who receive the same, and the transfer is made where as it were, the hands of faith are placed on the head of the Lamb of God, who was slain. This surpasses the creation as the sun the moon, and is no mere continuance!
· What remains
· beautified in love,
· glorious in peace,
· is what arrived with little delay:
· the gospel of grace,
long announced even from the embryo of affairs in
· then in symbol and prediction,
· then in substance and salvation in Christ, and
· then in proliferation through the nations, and
· then in culmination in the disposition of all things according to the prophecies that went with it.
It is God who remains, and His word (Zechariah 9:6-7, Isaiah 40:6-8). He and His word, these do not change. Immutable their changelessness is glorious.
But as to the things apart from God, inglorious, not victorious, filled with disputation, implication but not consummation, their continuance is as dust. Immemorable, its day is limited.
LUST continues; licence is not granted. For those whose minds are upon it, who do not see the sunset, or the dawn, or notice either at all, lust shouts as ever: it is the dulness of its pain, the filth of its imaginations, the sodden brightness of its pretence which remains; but not for long is this to be.
.Unlicensed driving produces many
results of which the following are to be expected:
1) multitudes of accidents.
2) mischiefs of ignorance.
3) broken dreams and bodies.
4) tangles with authority, here God.
5) peril to others, duly licensed, in view of the inept follies of the unlicensed.
6) promotion of the sense of unruliness by example.
7) strain on resources.
8) useless waste, both for the unlicensed and for victims.
9) impenitence and presumption, or tragedy and grief, or both in layers.
So the world speaks in lust, bathes in blood, cries with hunger which so many seem not to notice, in their secure lands, the peace of which is merely temporary. It seethes with sedition, for having lost the peace and place with God, it knows not authority, so that nation strives with nation, part with part, region with region, tribe with tribe, false religion with false religion, till stark raving madness seems the spiritual condition of the beauty creamed, the rich, the potent, the self-assured, as they continue oblivious of the realities which were stated, have not abated, until they are so sated with themselves that the loss of liberty which abuse always at length must bring, will come suddenly, like an aeroplane crash (cf. I Thessalonians 5:1ff.).
In one moment, behold, the clouds, the champagne, the music and the view, the assured destination and the luxury of reaching it in pleasurable circumstances. The next movement - down and out!
Then on to judgment*2, is the undoubted progress for this regressive race. The other option has never disappeared. This is a joyous day. Do not wait for the grief. Christ took the grief that kills the spirit, bruises the heart and dislodges the program and the principle that makes for peace (II Cor. -21).
It is an offence of the most prodigious proportions to ignore it.
It is folly in spirit to the uttermost, to disregard.
It is not merely a good opportunity missed; it is life so toyed with, so exploited and seized, and so concurrently with theft of its provisions and misuse of its potencies, that it is degraded beyond all sight, into the sightless shadows of interminable ruin. It is that some starve when the cost of any dinner that might be desired, is already borne; and they insult the host with devious behaviour, offensive indolence, even at times insulting His generosity, whose prodigies are ... not to their taste!
The world writhes, though
many ignore its cries. It cries. It wails. Its sore points are like arthritic
joints. Its great places have dark clouds. Its insensitivity is its darkness,
its furies its artillery, turned upon itself. Each pain is a promise fulfilled;
each pang attests the truth of the Book of the Lord. It is not that He likes to
afflict the children of men (Lamentations ), but if there is persistence in
the lie against the Lord (Isaiah 25:15-16, II Thessalonians ), truth in the end, invades and
judgment attests what is the conclusion of the whole matter (Romans 2:3, Acts
17:31*1). Symptoms shriek; but the 'doctors' are otherwise engaged.
Alas the collapse that is prevented is often that of the tradition-bound or the denomination-preserving, of what is dead already; and what is the promoted, the inception of forbidden collusions, in collision with the word of God.
'Survival' of denominations and leavens is sometimes rather like the survival of diseases, when the aim subverts the cause, or the continuity of the temporary becomes the foundation of the actual. They can elect for some compromise to prevent dissidence or division; but what matters is not unity beyond the word of God, but within it (John 17 cf. Let God be God Ch. 12, The Desire of the Nations Ch. 5 including Appendix ).
It can be like moving foot and mouth disease afflicted cattle to a neighhbouring country, so that it too might be joined in the agricultural community of disaster.
In earlier days, much the same was found in form versus function with the Jews, as Isaiah 28:13ff. declares:
"Inasmuch as this people draw near with their mouths
And honour Me with their lips,
But have removed their hearts far from Me,
And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men:
"Therefore, behold I will again do a marvellous work
Among this people,
A marvellous work and a wonder,
For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.
"Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the LORD,
And their works are in the dark..."
Such formalism is excoriated in II Timothy 3:5 where it is a signal of the end of the Age, allied with the varied multitude of other indexes (Answers to Questions Ch. 5).
However, when you follow the precepts AND the power of God jointly, for after all the COMMAND to PREACH the gospel is allied to the PROMISE to provide from His own accompanying PRESENCE with you, what is His desire for the purpose, form becomes functionality and he who bears his seed weeping, comes home in the end, rejoicing.
Compromise with actual realities in the word of God, for the sake of synthetic substitutes for actual teachings in the Bible, and actual obedience to commands which it gives is like putting arsenic with aspro. It may dull same pains, but creates greater griefs. Juggling diplomats are as far from the apostolic testimony, when it comes to the truth and requisitions of the word of God, as a brothel from a leprosarium. One smites with disease, the other seeks its overcoming. Read Acts 4-5 and see, when the issue is the truth! Read again Jude, when the issue is the Gospel. Read further Matthew 5:17ff., when the issue is what is written, and while about it, try Matthew 4:1ff.!
As to the "marvellous work and a wonder" noted above in Isaiah 29: we have studied this in Ch. 2 above, with its parallel at pp. 44ff.. Indeed, this word is quoted by Paul in I Corinthians 1, where the association is with this datum: that the world by wisdom not having found God, its brand of 'wisdom', God by His 'foolishness', wiser than that of men, has brought forth truth to those who without the pomp of pride and pretence, receive it. How foolish His love seems to the unlovely, and how wise their greed and lust seems to the loveless! But it does not work, except to ruin. The Corinthians treatment ends with this: "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men..." (I Cor. 1:25).
In fact, Ch. 1 of I
Corinthians provides one of the most splendidly ironic passages in the Bible,
and this like a knife penetrates the hearts of some, to expose as if by X-ray,
their need to return to reality from the ephemeral dreams of nullity which fail
as if by memory, and ignoring God, flounder as if by rule (cf. SMR Ch. 5, pp. 422Eff., S1ff., Ch.
3, Repent or Perish Ch. 7).
It is not long ago that a lady noted in a newspaper's column for letters, how appalled she was to think that she had been taught in a Presbyterian church that God saw everything, knew everything.
Great was her disdain at such ignorance.
However, the justice of judgment, if not by now apparent, is not jaded by that fact! The capacity of God to judge is now so manifest, that even the riotous can be comforted. Mere manufactured creations of MAN can count billions a second, in operations, and data bases; and even from this little product called man, whose breath is in his nostrils (Isaiah 2:22), there comes by diligent application, what can store information in quantities like sand particles. Speed rushes through myriads of items, and cases can be studied by the billion with ease in ever increasing computers, themselves hard at work in such ways, for no great time at all in human history.
Such we find, and so the power grows more obvious, most quickly. It is power long resident in man, in a universe long the housing for laws and principles, symbolic and physical, which allow such meticulous treatments to proceed so robustly.
If, then, man can so act, what can the CREATOR of man do! If man has now such a lust, thirst and preoccupation with data, working his statistics this way and that, finding his explanations and summonings the facts to the bar in micro-seconds, what then is to be thought of the power of God, who made the very mind of man, who invented its logic and made possible its functionings, so much more limited than His own. In this, He is like an author with the characters in a book, but here the One of whom we speak, it is the one who made the trees for the paper as well, and the universe for the trees!
Effortless ease is before us when we consider the infinite Creator's power to judge. This so long stated as a FACT, then challenged as to feasibility by many who had no conception of the infinite powers of the illimitable God (cf. SMR Ch. 1), is now verified by the potencies which man is himself discovering. No difficulty whatsoever is now to be found in the retention of unlimited data, its organisation, its application, its evaluation!
This, it is clear even to the creation called man. When the aweful presence of the living God is in view, darkness scatters, and mere process itself is a thing of nought. With God there is no waiting, for all things are before Him: for whom power is uncontainable, purpose is without delimitation by obstruction or interference, who speaks and it is done.
The CREST of such judgments is seen not only in the exposures of Psalm 2, earlier and later phases, but in the express ruin of the arrogance personified, in the devil's messiah, the man of sin in II Thessalonians 2:4,8, just as it was seen in other preliminary canters, as in Isaiah 14:13ff..
The prince of this world
has many formats of delusion, many features, many developmental strategies. The
lust itself however is comparatively simple, sustained and cited for judgment
utter, eternal and complete. It has leaders and followers, the prince of this
world in the former category (John ), wholly divorced in mind, temper,
spirit and task from Christ, as He declares. Defamation, insinuation,
extemporisation, self-aggrandisement, desire for deity are his movements; ruin
is his end, vanity is his mind-fill, and arrogance his proud exterior.