AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH - January 15, 2006: GALATIANS 1
FOR THE DIVINE REDEMPTION OF THE HUMAN LIFE
I THE VERY INTRODUCTION 1:1-5
Paul speaks to the Church in Galatia, at once declaring that he is an apostle NOT from man, for no mere man sent him, and not through man. It was not an administration decision of some human framework: it is through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised His Son from the dead. This is the point, and there is no other! The nub – the Lord is good; the crux, Christ crucified; the power, the resurrection of His body; the life, the inseparable connection of the redeemed with the Holy Spirit.
PEACE and GRACE he announces to the Church from Father and Son, who gave Himself for our sins: not that we should continue as before, not to supplement our lives, not to give us success or prosperity on this earth and from this world, which lies in the wicked one (I John 5), with the dominion of the prince of this world (John 14:29ff.); but for something far other. It is to DELIVER US FROM THIS PRESENT EVIL AGE. That is what the apostle declares.
This Age ? We are in a concentration camp of culture, philosophy, false religion and power hungry manipulators, deceived men without faith, whose contortions, extortions, inversions and perversions of spirit, mind or body are an exhibit of vice, of evil and of faithlessness, but scarcely a parade of virtue. We need DELIVERANCE from it, its thoughts and its pollution, of which the air is merely one result. In Britain, the latest for that once mighty Protestant power is this, that a body for deviant sexuality is seeking that children as young as 7 years of age are to be TAUGHT swear words, and perverted sex. Scotland Yard is making premises available for the group seeking this, namely LGBT, acronym for 'Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender'.
What then if this should come to be, as the next step following the addition of married quarters for same sex couples in the British Army, what if this child invasion also should come to be ? Hitler’s coup was rejected; but this seems well on the way to entering those beaches, to giving in.
The child as it grows, in such environments is being taught, not merely educated, and made a site for what is foul, what is anti-sublime, what is debased, what mocks sexual function by the tone and manner, as well as the overtones of the swear words, sexual, religion-based or parallel, as if the function of education were to INSTIL attitudes and approaches of wantonry, not to promote overview, understanding and wisdom.
Is the 'voluntary' use of language, attitudes and and unnatural sexuality alike, to arrive before the powers of critical thought are well developed ? Is this not close to devil worship, where a very child is made the repository of cynicism, abuse of life in word or deed or both, by inculcated meanings and approaches as if to say: eat poison or grapes, it is all one and it is all there for you to do!
By contrast, what is natural concerns the arrival of INTIMACY in bodily relationships between man and woman, together with intimate fruit of the same in more children, to be brought up for their good in the same loving, intimate, kindly and concerned manner which is inherent in the whole array which constitutes gender, pro-creation, sexuality and conception of more of this amazing trilogy, this kind, this mind, matter and spirit, this divinely created and endued design, called mankind.
Perversion thus becomes a poison, like anything unnatural. Sexual misuse and abuse, all condemned so clearly, in whatever form, is one exclusion zone for the kingdom of heaven (see I Corinthians 5-6, I Timothy 1:10). While any may fall, to stay fallen is the sign of a dead tree, not a living one. The righteous may fall seven times, Proverbs declares, but the Lord raises him up (Proverbs 24:16). Consider King David, exemplar of righteous living, but exhibit of a sudden fall, from which he arose, pardoned (Psalm 51). Raised up, he arose, and standing for the Lord, abounded.
II THE HEART
OF THINGS, THE GOSPEL OF GOD
AS CHANGELESS AS TRUTH ITSELF - 2:6-10
As to this British development, it is ONE mode of being felled in a fallen world. From this the Lord died, says Paul, to DELIVER us. In Galatia, they were getting other ideas. Add to what Christ did, become kingdom-through-obedience people, not kingdom through Cross, or try to wed both of these, and have illegitimate children of the spirit and of the mind! Never!
The Lord did not spend the purity of infinity to cover us, in order that we should add our imperfect works, presumptuously to His payment (Hebrews 9:12); for He has already purchased everlasting redemption, which comes freely (Romans 3:23ff.). HE justifies! Where YOU come as RIGHTEOUS, He quits His saving offer, because HE is the truth, and the truth is that all have sinned, and there is no other name (such as your own on the Honour Roll) by which ANY of mankind in his fallen state, may be saved (Acts 4:11-12).
So did the people at Galatia have another Gospel, a changed message! Marvellous, amazing, says Paul, like some white ant eradicator who finds on the very next day, a new colony festering in the floor boards! THAT, it is no foundation but failure! There IS NO OTHER GOSPEL, he declares, adding that if HE or an ANGEL were to publish one, one or the other alike, that party would be ACCURSED.
It is precisely like a chemist adding potassium cyanide to aspro, and thinking it a good mix, while killing the patients. Wise guy, and wicked tormentor, and so accursed: that is the point of the analogy here! Another means of knowing God than the one God has provided in divine grant ? Heinous!
What, Paul is demanding: Are you to produce new gospels for me to present to God in order to persuade Him that you are good at the invention of new gospels, to dicker and bargain, to barter and negotiate ? Is this what you think ? asks the apostle. Do you conceive of me, then, as seeking to persuade GOD to your ideas, or YOU to God's truth, which does not change, as God does not change (Malachi 3:6, Psalm 103, Hebrews 13:8). An APOSTLE, even Paul himself, an angel, ANY ANGEL (such as Moroni) which preaches (as that one does) another Gospel is accursed. Such folly kills, it bypasses the truth, puts lies for truth and misleads if it were possible the very elect (Matthew 24:24). It was to come, and it has come, and in Galatia at that time, it was waving tiny arms of sin.
So, you think it relevant to make me a negotiator with God in order to please you and get you a different gospel! IF I were to seek to please man, I COULD not be the servant of Christ. Paul is SENT by the Lord, who died and rose again, not supple in spirit to man who fell, and now falls again!
Thus Paul shows of the Gospel,
that its origin is divine,
and ministers are limited to
presenting what it is,
SOURCE OF SUCH TREASURE,
AND THE CHARACTER OF THE CHANGE, NOT OF GOD, BUT FOR MAN
The nature of the Gospel is supernatural as to origin; it is divinely donated, as it proceeds from the works of God who planned it for man and paid the price for it. It is nothing at all to do with mankind as to source and origin. It was not TAUGHT, it was not BROUGHT by man; and it is not in nature after the HEART of man! Use Paul as illustration. He himself, as a persecutor of the church, had misplaced zeal until, a zealot among zealots, he excelled in the religious company of Judaism.
Yet when God in His good pleasure, profound mercy and inimitably certain decision took Paul, the Paul whom He had in mind from the first, and whom He took to Himself by grace; when He chose to REVEAL Christ to and in Paul (cf. Matthew 11:27 - and Christ WILLS to reveal the Father to those whom He takes, just as His Father has foreknown them - John 6:65), He had a purpose. It was that Paul might PREACH this Gospel to the other nations, the Gentiles. At that, Paul proceeded to make his way to Arabia, and returned to Damascus, and only after 3 years went to Jerusalem and Peter.
There, as we are DV shortly to see in Galatians 2, he found nothing new, nothing different: the Gospel of the close and intimate disciples who had seen Christ physically resurrected was the very same as the one which Paul preached, all being in the hand of the Almighty. ALL preached His one truth as revealed to and for man, in that definitive expression of Himself, Jesus Christ, God incarnate, who came to die at the appointed time. just as Daniel had predicted it; for He did not come in secret, but with a public display of prophecy for centuries and of works in His ministry, with that miraculous flurry and power and wonder which was one of the distinguishing marks by which He was to be known.
How amazed were the disciples, who glorified God that the former persecutor of the church was now a preacher of the same Gospel, in harmony and unity with the brethren who had followed Christ!
The singularity of the Christ COMING, and of THOSE WHO KNEW HIM, now becomes a multiplied singularity; for what they SAW, and found, is what was REVEALED to Paul: and the one God gave to new and old, one message. It was of one Gospel, of one Lord, who in one act, provided salvation for everyone who receives Him in truth, according to that Gospel (Romans 1:16).
There is nothing else. There is need for nothing else: the ONE GOD has given the WHOLE TRUTH for man in His BOOK, the Book of the Lord (Isaiah 8:20); and the Gospel is the narrow but necessary way by which man may come, and receiving the Lord, receive with Him all that He has said over the millenia, in that Bible of His hand. No jot or tittle of this divinely inspired word has ever failed over all that time, nor will nor can it fail: for God who has spoken it (I Corinthians 2:9ff.), cannot lie (Titus 1:2ff.), knowing all things, needing nothing, and giving freely in His changeless truth, first His own word, then His living word, His own and only begotten Son, who implemented it.
Thus whether it be the CULTURE of man, the PHILOSOPHIES political or other, of mankind, the false dreams of false religionists, or the temptations of one's own heart, the desire to disobey or to have a liberty as if a car wanted to climb a light-pole to see what life was like at the top: it is all trash. It is truth or trash - and with this one must proceed, like someone who knowing the rules of the road, and being registered as a driver, has no interest whatsoever in trying 'something else', whether 'wheelies' or other wantonries.
As Christ put it, "My yoke is easy and My burden is light," (Matthew 11), and as I John declares, "His commandments are not grievous," (I John 5:4).The troubles that come from disregard of the truth are like self-induced tsunamis or typhoons. If you do that, like Samson, then you import complexity; but as you abide, the Lord provides rest for your soul, the destiny of His own eternal life and the peace which passes all understanding, in the very original of love, in the very depths of lovingkindness and the heights of compassion. HE never leaves nor forsakes His people ... not even Jonah!
But why worry about whale-sharks' interiors, if that was Jonah's fish: it is better where the free air of eternal life comes in purity in the oceanic expanses of divine love, as you obey Him, not sin, His will and not your own, His joy your treasure, His riches your inheritance.