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Chapter 2 of Repent or Perish.
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These words, found in Luke 13:1-3, are taken from the declaration of Jesus Christ. It was one given where, asked what was the special sin which people on whom a tower had fallen, must have committed, or what their parents ... Christ replied this:
"Do you suppose
that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans,
because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless
you repent you will all likewise perish"
- Luke 13:2.
There are nowadays disasters and devastations, mass murder and mayhem, folly and fiasco of dauntless visionaries, whose vision is death, though they call it life.
London is like one of many cities in an allegory which we could map, on the face of the earth. Here, capital of the country which spawned Charles Darwin, with whom they visited the world, near where he studied, they are as the national centre which proceeded in his name, to MASK THE INVISIBLE. Small wonder Darwin became so blind to beauty that he mourned the decline. Imagining what does not happen, and happening to declare what is never found, with doubts and admissions he formulated a faith which is founded on nothing but blasphemy or unbelief or both, as if God were guilty of making a world by such means as he, Darwin envisaged; or as if he, Darwin could know it if He did.
How would a man be better than God, or see through the vile violences of his Maker, who with excruciating horrors in that model, invented a world by means of vice, viciousness and folly, where those who pride themselves on their being better, are better than God! How could you even know God when you were yourself a part of His violences and idiocies, while PRETENDING to be better, a cog in His mechano set, a unit in His atomic structurings, a pulse in His contrivances? Did He tell you? Alas, He has told something very different!
Will God create a world of madness by sobriety? Or will you be sober and He mad? Or will you be good and He bad? Can you have knowledge which He lacks? Or has God evolved? And by what system and who made it? Could you penetrate to the heart of the Most High, and tell Him? or are you part of this world and its ways, and have you come to even exist by the whole parody of surviving first, and doing the worst as the case may require? And if so how are you better? and if you are better, where did you obtain it? and if you are better than God, how did it grow? And how could anything be good if God were bad? Or are you enlightened while He is in the dark? Has His handiwork outwitted Him, left Him wallowing in stupidity and aridity and vacuity and outlandish follies which simply do not work, and threaten this benighted globe, while the world has such as you who both see and know better?
Better than God? It is no small assumption. It is to make of yourself your God, and to fail to have the advantage of being divine! It is to be your own maker, and to assess favourably what you have made, or your family or your school, your nation, your race or your culture, of which you are so fine a member! Do you remember the story of the publican (quisling tax-gatherer on behalf of the Romans, grabbing from your defeated co-nationals for gain, as administrator) and the Pharisee? This also is found in Luke. In 7:29ff. we see that many publicans repented and "justified God", being baptised.
What does this mean? It shows that they acknowledged their sins, in that being baptised is symbolic of washing, a sprinkling such as the Bible prescribed to "cover", formerly in blood but now in water, since the only blood that counts was that of Christ, now once for all shed (see Questions and Answers 11, 9).
But how did they JUSTIFY God? It was this: THEY had sinned, not God! They were RESPONSIBLE for their sins, not God. GOD had acted for their deliverance, not they! God in Christ had PROVIDED for their relief from the mischiefs of flesh, carnal imaginings, gainless profit and selfish advantage. Their insane putting of themselves in the cockpit of life, to drive the aeroplane of their selves as if they made it, making themselves the centre of operations and imagining and imaging what they would, clearly irrational and contrary to reality, was not the end. God had not created them mad and then turned His back on them. HE HAD ACTED.
CHRIST was the culmination of the action, and His salvation was the heart of the culmination, His self-declaration being the exposition of God, the manifestation of truth (John 14:6). As to that, they received Him for who He was and for what He had done.
Hence in acknowledging their OWN sin, they justified God. They did not blame HIM for their own faults, or the world's follies, but admitting their own errors, they acknowledged God, that He had provided not only the power to sin, a part of the power to love, something which arose by their own misuse of freedom, not as a gift, but as a molestation of His gifts: but He had provided equally the power of salvation.
They were not Darwinists, and this not only because he had not as yet managed to arrive on the scene. They justified God, not by blaming Him for the calamities, personal or national, processive or philosophic, judgments and warnings: but blaming themselves for their own sin, acknowledged the purity of Him who forgave sin, and His provisions.
In A Spiritual Potpourri Chs.1-9, and That Magnificent Rock Ch.1 as in The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, Chs.1-3, we show the IMPOSSIBILITY of the Darwinian concept, and any like it, of the whole organic evolutionary concept for the making of life and its basic forms and formats; as equally the necessity of the righteous God, by logic. Here however, our concern is to see some of the moral follies of the application of the truth to the personal life of man, to the arrogance and spiritual idiocy (Hosea 9:7, Psalm 53) when God is not justified, but people instead would justify themselves. Indeed, let us revisit the last named book, p. 100, and consider the matter a little further. We shall somewhat adapt it and let it appear indented below. Perhaps it may not hurt if we toss it this aspect this way and that, the better to appreciate what may be obvious to many, since it is for many, critical to life itself to realise what is happening.
To create liberty is
its results can be strong. It implies the possible expression
of things contrary to Him, blatantly or wantonly; and it enables
the securing of persons in His image, who can love and respond
to Him, to each other and to trial, test and reality. (Cf. Job
1.) Liberty is readily understandable, and for my part, intensely
desirable, a massif of life, profound like the heavens, deep like
the lakes, a magnificence in His image, astonishing to the mind,
stirring to the heart, enlivening to the spirit.
To let such liberty play
'God', however: that is something else; and since He lives, it
is He who is God, that infinite all-surveying Spirit, so that
the confused whirring of contrary procedures and principles as
the status quo, in the established pattern of what lives and relates
to Him, would compromise Him, contradict His speech, annul His
provisions, would meld with His plans, meddle with His life-projects
and master the performances of Him who knows all things - unless
He acts to invest it with His being, to qualify it with His power.
And He lives forever.
Indeed, He who has created liberty has known its exercise and provided for its abuse, His principles upheld, His procedures ample, His remedy for this foreknown development, in place (see The Everlasting Gospel, Item 17, Barbs, Arrows and Balms), so that His people are within its hold, His enemies within its control and His plans perfect. At the direction of His word, which brings authority into the melee, all is accounted for without remainder, and the love of liberty with the liberty of love, His own sacrifice the make-weight, His own Being the source and the focus, is consummated in a redemption which leaves the original liberty a mere preliminary here perfected (cf. Hebrews 12:23-29).
Further: Death indeed
is not apt for the Almighty whose life made it all, whose knowledge
sees the end and creates the beginning, and who is always as He
would be, nothing delaying or compromising: the "I am"
behind all that grows and goes. Ever what He would be, He is without
end, as without beginning; and as to death - it would be... a
But not for Him: who being
always what He would be, and knowing all things, subject to no
plans for Him (for there is none to make them),
all depending on Him - has no change. Plans are from
Him, not for Him. Things of process change, limited, conditioned;
but the Inventor of process, for whom all process which moves
on the way somewhere is creation, He does not change and arranges
all things after the counsel of His own will.
Neither does He change
for the better, being always what in all knowledge, is
best; nor does it occur for the worse, lest being the best, He
acknowledge it was not so, who yet knows all. Both change and
death are simply self-contradictory for God, but those who contradict
Him, it is they who will change.
But some may want to leave
God 'alone', or simply disregard Him, discount or even deny Him.
Will they then instruct us in their 'truth'? Let us quote
again, this time from SMR p. 101:
It is unwise and indeed
the utmost in arrogant presumption if derivative man, with unmoored
mind, man who does not accept the specific, identified and rationally
necessary revelation of God, comes to pontificate on `truth',
on the reality of things.
Will a conditioned or
limited man, reacting and being able to do only what has been
given him to do, erect himself as a founder of truth, a source
of criticism of the God who made his little mind ? Will a cog
discuss the design with the designer ? Will a man without the
revelation of God, tell Him what it would be ? Will man show God
His own mind!
Will a limited and sinful
man without knowledge of absolute truth, even as a perspective,
say that something is absolutely true, or work on bases and ideas
as if they were valid and worth arguing from, when he does not
yet have the knowledge of absolute truth, on which to start and
on which to proceed: either not knowing God, or if knowing something
of that, not believing it; or in any case, not having access to
this absolute truth in the mind of God, who speaks when He will,
as He will...
The case is hardly improved if man does not believe there is such a thing as absolute truth, while making various statements in which such a property is assumed to inhere, or presumed to be possible! Surely the Primary School student is scarcely guilty in his first beginnings of such enormities, through sheer immaturity, as beset the mind of mature man, through rebellion. (Cf. SMR Chs. 3-4; pp. 292-315, 934-936 esp., infra.)
But some may say, I neither deny God nor affirm ANYTHING. But this is self-contradictory. In so stating what you are and are not doing, you are indeed making 'meaningful' affirmation, and as shown in SMR Ch.1, in so doing you invoke logic which in turn requires the God who has made both it and you.
IGNORING, DENYING or EVADING
GOD is alike useless and irrational. REPENTING is both necessary
and provided for, BY GOD. The publicans justified God, do you!
or are you His critic by ignoring what He is and has done, not
responding to the most complete and staggering attestations which
he has provided in Nature, in the Bible and in Christ!
(See The Aviary of Idolatry,
Highway to Hell, The Everlasting
Gospel, Generation of the Dispossessed
- Barbs, Arrows and Balms; Magnificence of the Messiah
- Biblical Blessings; A&F Schools
- A Spiritual Potpourri.)
We could go on, for where
can one stop with perfection. The Bible, the Creation and the
Lord Jesus Christ all speak with one voice. Sin speaks with quite
another, whether in the judgments Nature has received (Romans
8) or those which man successfully pleads for, from the Almighty,
although He is all but incredibly patient (II Peter 3:9). As to
the judgments on this world, they roll up like a crowd to a circus
at the booming of the drum, and the drum? It is the sins of this
world which neither diminish nor depart, its failure to repent
of its wooden worship of nature, like the fallen Israelite parties
of old (Jeremiah 2), of the world and of themselves as altogether
the greatest there can be, or at least satisfactory and acceptable
to anyone anywhere: and IF NOT, where then is their repentance!
And if so, where then is their Lord? NOT in their hearts, or else
they would be His and say so (Romans 10:9).
Will you then justify
GOD or justify YOURSELF? And if yourself, then you are your own
cause, your own centre and your own power, all manifestly absurd
if reality is in view, fantasy and pride in abominable distortion!
Publicans did better than that.
Let us then think again
of London. It was a type of topographic allegory, but it is not
without a shadow of reality which it casts on the world.
London, then, the capital
of the nation which was famed for Darwin, the land or site of
his fame: what in our allegory does it represent? What of it?
Here is the
But there, it is there that there is provision for repentance. It goes on in Isaiah at once:
The sprinkling is the
cover with blood, once portrayed through that of animals, now
in Christ whose death is signified by the blood, whose cover by
the sprinkling, whose pardon by His substitution of His own life
for that of the sinners who repenting, not only 'justify God',
but are themselves justified (Romans 5:1), for He the Lord, died
By contrast, look at the
superior strutting of being BETTER than others as shown in Luke
18, where the PHARISEE and the PUBLICAN both went to pray, and
the former rejoicing at his superior estate, the latter downcast
without even lifting his eyes, since his awareness of his shortcomings
before God and man was like a mountain on his head. One asked
God to have mercy on him, a sinner; the other thanked God that
he was not as other men. The PUBLICAN, public folly though he
had committed, went away JUSTIFIED RATHER THAN THE OTHER, declared
Jeremiah tells us this
"Yet you say, 'Because I am innocent,
Surely His anger shall turn from me.'
Behold, I will plead My case against you,
Because you say, 'I
have not sinned.' "
In Australia, as is the case in many other countries, we have had the Gospel
so much, the Christian institutions, the 'preferred religion' in Victoria at first, in the very Constitution, being declared as Christian; we have had the fruits of His goodness
so long in
so many things that the current wildness both
in many Bible-suppressing
churches and elsewhere, that this question must be asked.
Is THIS result after SO
MUCH FOR SO LONG, not as extraordinarily insulting and provocative
to God, blind and feckless for this people, as it was for the
Jewish people in Jeremiah's time!
Moreover, if there is
any difference, it is not helped by the fact that this, our own
Australian people, like much of America and Europe, has had CHRIST
preached to them, while the Jewish people, though profoundly covered
with His graces and testimonies including the prediction of His
coming, have not had so much preaching. It is nevertheless true
that LATER the nation of Israel became involved in His acute rejection
at Calvary, just as this nation seems now to be moving in the
same direction with His word and ways, with His visible testimonies
indeed. History is not yawning, but watching as they ponder.
But let us revert, and
contemplate the case of the publican, that is the quisling tax-collector,
and the Pharisee. Where are they fitting in, who having o much
for so long, now so treat Him! It is to be observed that it is
one thing, like the Pharisee, to thank God for being better than
other men: something not impressive to the Lord as we have seen.
It is however another when it is taken even further. And
is this not done when the pleasure or predilection felt is this:
that one seems better than God! or that one
is ignoring Him, or disdaining Him
or even caricaturing Him as in organic evolution, Communism and
Romanism (see Aviary of Idolatry,
"Barbs, Arrows and Balms", and SMR Index).
It is then, at least in
principle, that the real acme is reached in terms of the syndrome
of superiority. The spirit of it, however, in each case, is so
strong that doubtless only God could distinguish. Formally, however,
the modern much-preached-to Gentile case is provocative! Forgiveness
is certainly, and with astonishing grace, available; but to ignore
even that, this is to engage the ultimate (Hebrews 2:1ff., 12:18ff.,
John 3:15-36). Hell yawns as if in anticipation at such folly.
But it is not to be desired, being the stuff of evil and the terrible
mismatched tartan of depravity confirmed by desire.
God is good and the failure
to repent and receive His salvation is no pleasure to Him (Ezekiel
33;11), and in the face of the cost of Calvary and of sending
Christ into the world (I John4:7-10), it is a blindness*2
and an assertiveness that then leaves the national dictators with
their private parallels, of which there are therefore many. It
is not pretty; and that is WHY its results are not becoming in
the end; for judgment is according to truth, the truth of the
God of truth, in whom alone can truth be found, and from whom
it is applied in judgment. That His judgment has been pre-applied
in and to the Lord Jesus Christ is the one magnificent reality
in the midst of this world's perishing course, which continually
moves further into the domain of the forecast disestablishments,
both in space and in people, which are the just rebuke to its
arrogance in the face of the One who created it and ballasted
it with blessing.
What then is to be done?
EXCEPT YOU REPENT YOU
- was the thrust of Christ's remarks on the tragedy of the falling
tower, shown in Luke 13. It is not that you cannot suffer if you
are a Christian, but that if you refuse Him, then your suffering
is monumentally meaningless in this sense, that you are like the
chaff that the wind blows away (Psalm 1), whereas the Lord KNOWS
the way of the righteous, the justified, those who, rightly 'justifying
God', are themselves justified by grace, receiving pardon (Titus
A BIBLE READING TO
THE POINT - Isaiah 59:14-20.
*1 Cf. Isaiah 59:14-15,
as to the provocation, and the divine sequel in 59:16-19, as to
judgment; noting that in Isaiah 51:16 is the preparation of the
remedy, 51:6 its endurance and power, in 52:13-53:12 its mode,
and in 55:1ff. its offer. Here the scripture also implies by revelation,
and concerning revelation, that to which we have reasoned
in terms of His manifest, divine nature. God has assuredly SPOKEN!
Isaiah declares in the Lord's name: