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Calling Law Legalism,
and Looseness Liberty
is a Verbal Equivalent to a Riderless Horse
Earlier, in Ch. 1, we envisaged return to a topic in which the following appeared.
However the earth is to be consumed most dramatically, after the preliminaries, including that inherent and intrinsic preliminary, the coming of Christ for His people. After all, if His people are not to be consumed, they certainly will need removal. The garbage collection day approaches. Useless indeed is it to seek to be reserved on such a topic: it is as clear as the day is bright, clear with its own solemn dark tones, like a startling likeness taken in a dim light, because of projected illumination!
ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for correction ... (II Timothy 3:16). If John 3:16 outlines the Gospel in some essential features, so does II Tim. 3:16 its numerical namesake, outline some results of the unchanging God. ALL Scripture is profitable ... He may turn the symbolic preliminary portrayed into the final work portended as in Hebrews 7-10, but He does not change, and His ways are the same (Psalm 102, Malachi 3:6). It is for this reason, as He declaims, that His people are not consumed.
- One God,
- one sin criterion,
- one salvation donated,
- one Donor,
- one recipient - the contrite believing receiver of the gift of life through vicarious atonement of Jesus Christ -
- one swerving of many types but
- one deviation determinant: the word of the Lord.
The wheat and the tares of Matthew 13:24-30, so utterly diverse in kind as in destiny, are these to be taken to mean that all is one, and one is all ? or rather, that some are weeds and some are wheat, some are of God, and some of the devil! In view of the fact that Christ Himself INTERPRETED this to mean that some were planted BY the devil, and go to their appointed destiny, it is useless to be puny in concept here.
Some are devils.
DEVILS ARE A DEVELOPMENT:
USELESS TO SLEEP WHILE IT OCCURS
Some, then, are found to be devils.
The concept is unpopular, like examinations with many students. Garbage, for that matter, is unpopular too. However, in this case, we need to examine the queries of those who might object. They may seek to find some inconsistency in these things; but it is not so. Let us consider it.
Thus, a person might protest: I do not think it fair that the devil plants and rants in his own, and then has their destiny in flames. Fair ? Is it fair that sins smiles and smirks and jerks the cords of its advocates (some of whom call it righteousness, their self-appointed meritorious deeds! which does not at all help - Romans 10:1-4), and that it then should escape its exposure, assessment and end ? But, it might be persisted, IF THE DEVIL PLANTS ...? Why should some suffer because the devil plants!
So does the cultural octopus suck! It is determinist in concept, ignores the necessities that require freedom, its nature and scope, while these learned ones exercise it in criticising its absence, and then protest with the same liberty, liberty's demise! Such is the clinging and angry flesh of contemporary culture (cf. It Bubbles ... Ch. 9, Licence for Liberty, Predestination and Freewill, The Flashing Falls of Freedom, and Indexes under freedom and predestination).
Yet again comes the protest. Granted of course that we are free, except for our cultural harassments, our sinful proclivities and our studied ignorances, yes a vain people are we without God for our help (the devil can be a good conversationalist and knows when to yield, like yacht, trying first this tack and then that, in order overall to make some progress, which in this case is regress, his aim, away from God!). However, the wily way proceeds, there is still this ... problem. Why does the DEVIL sow these seeds. Are HIS seeds free ? and if bound, how is this justice!
Does however even the parable (and parables are often limited to their main thrust as a teaching unit, but let us bypass that consideration) state that the devil MADE the seeds ?
What is their origin ? this is the point. It is easy enough to sow seeds; but to get them ? That is different. Thus we read that some flower seeds have higher value per ounce than gold! Their production has been a subject of intense research, enormous preliminaries, real imagination in dealing with the available characteristics and so on. The planting does not determine what they are, but where they are!
Whence then the seeds ? We have studied predestination in Predestination and Freewill and in many other places, listed in the Indexes, such as Tender Times for Timely Truths 10, 11, and found that to predestination, foreknowledge is, as in Romans 8:29ff., the preliminary. This is found in the scripture at this point, in the logical sequence divinely provided which, if one should want to criticise it, one must study! Otherwise, it is rather like criticising the beauty of aspirant beauty queens, by studying abstract art forms, while the ladies pass, unnoticed by one's side!
Assessment requires knowledge, and knowledge accuracy, unless one is to be dismissed as a dabbler, a dawdler indeed, if not a fraud. What is the characteristic to the point, of the One who has the foreknowledge, then ? It is so recently as in the Preface to the current volume that we were noticing this fact about Zephaniah's prophecy, concerning the divine will.
In Zephaniah 3, you see God expressing Himself in this way:
" 'Therefore,' He continues ..."
Therefore what ?
wait for Me, says the LORD,
'Until the day I rise up for plunder.
My determination is to gather the nations,
To My assembly of kingdoms,
To pour on them My indignation,
All My fierce anger.' "
It was and they did. God, of course, knowing, and not like some ivory tower intellectual, but in the full passion of love, observes the demise of hope in them, the routine follies of cultural occlusion, the shut-eye scenario which He so singularly addressed when on earth (John 9:39-41), in the case where the miraculous healing of eyes becomes occasion for the erratic desire of rampant religious authorities to remove, ostracise and sever from their midst, the man whom He had healed, who simply told the facts. What then did Christ say of such a form of conduct ? This:
IF YOU WERE BLIND, that is, if you had no way of knowing, who could condemn you! But you are sure you have knowledge, you are filled with theologically aristocratic certainties, based on traditions and creeds, not on the word of God which you ignore in its vast amplitudes of justice and mercy (cf. Matthew 9:13-14 and its relationship to Hosea so long before). You set yourselves up as experts, and as such is your judgment. You would be given help if you would accept it, but your helplessness is a speciality case, and it is this: that you do not KNOW and will not realise that you need help. Without appetite, you die. Without food you do not live. The food is here (John 6:50ff.), but you do not eat it! This is the sin which is your own judge.
That 'seed' - where then does it come from ? It is not the devil's prerogative in the Bible to judge righteously, but lyingly - as a liar from the first (John 8:44). It is not to him that any judgment is accorded as a right. He can and often does point out real faults, that require correction, especially if found in the people of God, since he likes neither God nor his people, and is a chameleon-like and subtle adversary. However the determination is not his: merely the exclamation! (cf Job 1). He can roar like a lion (I Peter 5), but then, lions are nothing before the Lion of Judah, and creatures cannot determine God!
The devil is neither judge nor CREATOR, for, we are told, this is the divine prerogative entirely (Isaiah 45:12ff.); and it applies to man directly. Thus NEITHER does the devil create the 'seed' or the persons concerned, nor can he judge them. He cannot determine the construction of the seed, merely of course, utilise it for his own purposes, as suffered by the wise depths of the will of God, who works all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11).
But how did GOD construct this evil seed ? Since He would have all men to be saved (II Timothy 2, Colossians 1:19ff.), and laments and seeks, expresses hope and yearns with a spiritual beauty so touching that nothing even in the magnificence of the tenderness of the vast magnificences of flowers can imitate it, and shows this repeatedly (as when, next door to judgment, we find in Jeremiah 17 His offer of an easy 'out', routinely ignored by the ... literally hell-bent people), His construction could be conceived as deterministic only by the same method as makes infinity zero.
It can be done, by words; but not in deeds! They are infinitely different. God does determine what is to be, but not deterministically, since determinism has no freedom. God is free (cf. SMR pp. 25ff.). He forces none to be what He would have all to avoid! Such a proposition as determinism (effete in any case, Repent or Perish Ch. 7), in the presence of deity, is to interpret by contradiction, which is merely to philosophise in God's name, by opposing His words and seeking then to cram them, by some sort of vicious play, into His mouth!
Thus there is nothing in the parable to give excuse. Indeed, as often seen, in John 15:21-23, the position could not be more decisive. IF CHRIST HAD NOT done and said the unique, the unequivocal, the direct, the inimitable, what was attributable to truth alone, then they would NOT HAVE HAD SIN. That is what HE said!
The issue is judgment, and the sin involved is therefore final, fatal sin, the sort that is the prelude to assured judgment by Him who IS the judge (John 5:19-23). It is ONLY when IN ESSENCE (in any way God elects to make, for He is bound by none, but keeps His own principles to perfection) the soul PREFERS darkness, in the face of LIGHT, the very light of Christ, we find in John 1-3, that it is condemned, and what is the criterion ? The preference for darkness is the criterion, expressed in the presence of light, and understood by God! If you want to look further into this, see SMR Ch. 8 at the commencement, Predestination and Freewill Section III, and Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 2, End-note 1 with SMR Appendix B, in particular.
However, irrespective of the work of Christian Apologetics, to show the glorious harmony of the concepts, the simple facts remain. THIS is the WILL and the WAY of JUDGMENT of the Lord, and HE STATES IT. Options are zero to the contrary.
Thus when we follow the scripture, in the way it defines itself, we saw at the first, we come to a problem residue, here as ever, that is zero.
in the process we have noted the cultural myths which love, for us as for
the ancient people of Israel as in the presence of Jesus Himself, to thrust
in philosophy and misconception from culture, be it secular, religious.
It seems almost anything will do, in this upthrust from below; but ultimately
it arrives through the determinations of the erratic spirit of man.
A SUBTLE TYPE
The truth by absolute contrast, stands so simple and blameless as did Christ. But let us look at an allied and far subtler error, which comes from the simplistic statues of cultural philosophy, and seeks to intrude its ignoble head into the affairs of the Christian, to make them muddied, muddled and loose.
Not so is the word of God itself. To this, then, we turn.
Here it is no more a question of seeking to find some fault in the WAY of God, by seeking to subsume it under the philosophies of determinism, but rather a movement to give an illicit liberty to Christians, even from the word of God which is their acknowledged master in Christ! (Matthew 7:24ff., Luke 6:46, John 12:48-50).
In this case, one sometimes finds an antipathy to ANY concept of law. We are free from ALL law, they cry, and believe only the New Testament. We have followed something of this subversive slip-stream moving away from the aircraft of Christ before (see esp. SMR Appendix D, and Biblical Blessings Ch. 3, and Appendix I, II and III, It Bubbles ... Ch. 9, Section 3).
However, today our concern is more limited. In one very popular book (in both senses) concerning Christianity as something better than 'religious' - a good point in general, in that it would divorce mere conceptions of Christianity from the teaching of the word of God itself - we find a surprisingly loose error, which like the loose girth around a horse one rides, can send the 'rider' towards the lower parts of the horse's belly at an inopportune time, instead of leaving him, admittedly under due constraints, ON TOP of the animal! Looseness can never be substituted for liberty; indeed, it is its very nadir! to continue the concept of tops and bottoms...
Thus, we read in one approach (in many respects a good one, but loose here) that having received Christ, such words as these: "now you need no longer worry about the Jewish laws and customs because you 'died' while in their captivity, and now you can really serve God, not in the old way, mechanically obeying a set of rules, but in the new way, with all your hearts and minds."
The "new way" is certainly
true. The possibility of a merely mechanical obedience, not in spirit and
in truth is assuredly there, as a common deviation. That the non-Christian
'died' while condemned by these laws, as applicable, and is condemned with
all others for falling short, is true. What is far less felicitous is the
you need no longer worry about the Jewish laws and customs..."
At best this is ambiguous.
If it means this: Because you have Christ, you are free from all considerations of obedience as a substantial feature of your Christian life, it would of course be ruled out by Romans 6:1-3, which is stressing the very opposite: "shall we continue in that grace may abound! Heaven forbid!"
But what of these Jewish laws ? Are they to be dumped now that we have 'grown out of them' ? Does that include the 10 commandments, so stressed by Jesus Christ ? Scarcely. Are these not however Jewish law ? Are we not considering the whole nexus of the thing in view, and are these not without doubt PART of it, and a very MAJOR part of it! So we are now to cease 'worrying' about Jewish law. Of course, if it were meant, that instead of 'worrying' we should embrace the power of God in our lives, made available by the Holy Spirit in the Saviour's name, because we now are His, and get on with the business of being so devoted to Christ that we keep His word, that would be fine.
However, the idiom 'not to worry about' something, tends to mean to disregard it, that it does not amount to much, or that it is not a really significant matter at all. In fact, however, the words of Christ are SO significant that if you do not set about keeping them, you do not love HIM! and that opinion ? It is HIS OWN! (John 14:21-23). Not 'minding' what He commands is a contradiction, a travesty, a truancy and a declaration of faint love at best! That is His opinion. Building on what He says is commended most dramatically, with the opposite course exposed as ruin! in Matthew 7:24-27, in a substantial portion of the Sermon on the Mount!
But what of the view that of course you keep what He says (imperfectly, no doubt, but with the most solemn intensity of intention, and God-given effort and force, by grace), but you still do not have to be much concerned with the Jewish laws ? How could this be when He Himself so stressed the commandments to the rich young ruler who sought eternal life FROM HIM (Mark 10:17-22). It was not do this OR follow Me. It was DO THIS, and then was the critical thrust: SELL ALL YOU HAVE and follow Me. Why did He not say the challenge at the first ? It was hardly a way of dismissing as irrelevant the things presented in answer to the question, although, to be sure, it was not till the end that it came for the WHOLE answer, only a preliminary.
Obviously NO KEEPING in itself brings eternal life, because at the outset, it is marred (Romans 6:23, I John 1:7-2:2). Hence Paul inveighs against such misconceptions (Galatians 3 and 5), most robustly, as led of the same Lord. Indeed as Paul declares in Romans 10:1-4, Christ is the end of the law FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS to everyone who believes. He has done for us what we could not do for ourselves, being sinlessly perfect, and prodigiously pure. As a mode or model of salvation, then, the law never could prevail, whether for Abraham or Moses, for David or Paul.
Always the prevenience of grace was present, as Paul so systematically presents the point, in Romans 4, stressing indeed that Abraham himself was saved by justifying faith just as we are, in whom Christ has been received. Abraham's faith, says Paul, "was accounted to him for righteousness", so that being fully convinced of the Lord's express provisions, he believed Him! Thus, "it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but for us also," says Paul, "it shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up for our offences and raised up for our justification."
Thus those "who are of the law" are not heirs; this, it is never the Saviour. In Romans 10 we see people "going about to establish their own righteousness": and being thus "of the law" as a mode or model for salvation, they fail. It CANNOT save for perfection is its presupposition. It points to the One who GAVE that perfection. Yet beyond all that, it was a matter of receiving the salvation of God by grace and favour (as in Psalm 32), knowing that you must trust in the mercy of God (as in Psalm 52:8). "Blessed," says David, "is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity..." Again in Psalm 130, we learn that if the LORD should mark iniquities, all would fail. David was of course operating right in the midst of the Mosaic covenant, which by no means annulled that of Abraham, but was a specialised supplement (Romans 4:11-16, Galatians 3:17). Hence his devotional procedure, and operation by faith through grace, in terms of divine mercy covenantally contained.
The law was an X-ray to teach the realities of righteousness and of sin, and to exact all or the reception through grace, as with Abraham. It made a sort of reductio ad absurdum of the legal option, for salvation, and forced awareness both of the standards of God, the declivities of man, and the necessities of mercy by grace, as with Abraham, to whom the promises for the whole race were at first made (Genesis 12)! The law did of course have requirements in its tutelary role, like a husband as Paul enunciates it in Romans 7:2ff.. These pass, that totally intensive, sacramentally extensive, sacrificially multiplicitous array that had the special research and the realism role.
To be sure THESE things, idiom or not, did not need to be worried about (as in Acts 15's pronouncement, and its later extensions such as in I Timothy 4:3-5, and I Corinthians 8-9, when the temporary transitional phase was over). To the functional fulcrum to focus sin, that symbolic and ornate ceremonial intensive course, one acts, if a Jew, as to a dead husband. As Romans 5:18 makes clear, just as by one man's sin, sin spread with its death penalty to the human race, so by one's man's righteousness (expressed to the point of vicarious death), free justification is available to all. Hence the law has no more role as the finger that points, since Christ has accepted the contumely it implies.
To all this, one is dead. To its sanctions in symbols, one is dead; they no longer apply: from its sacrificial multilplicity, one turns away. But has one also lost one's hearing, being alive from the dead ? (II Cor. 5:14-15). The point is this: "that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again." Of course it all comes back to Him, as life is now directly from Him; but when that is done, do you again return to listless lovelessness, and ignore the word for instruction, so given and so maintained, as if Christ had never spoken, or God mutated! Will you love Him but not His mouth ? Heaven forbid. Liberation is not to be loveless, but the more loving; not to despise the word of God, but to keep it. The free gift is of life, not of autonomy. It cancels all sin, and presents fulfilled all righteousness. All the complex machinery Christ fulfilled, is no more. The principles remain; the practice is perfected in Him.
But what of the rest ? The law of Moses was by no means ALL a matter of law-intensive constraints, tutorial terrors or symbolic legal requirements. It includes principles and it includes prophecies. If its lashings are covered, its lovings are not cancelled. God has not ceased to be wise. Are all these Jewish law things to be disregarded ?
Of course not. The word of God is profitable for instruction, all of it. It is the Lord Jesus Christ who analysed the matter with precision, exhibiting the precision of the law on the one hand, that it could be so analysed, and the certainty of it on the other. ALL will be fulfilled, He declared, to the jot and to the tittle, to the least part and particle, in other words (cf. SMR Appendix D). It will not pass TILL ALL IS FULFILLED. Those who keep it and teach it, even the least of the commandments will be called great, and those who fail least, as detailed in the Appendix noted.
Is this to continue past His own death and resurrection ? But of course, for Christ Himself gave the relevant time frame for His observations: "Till heaven and earth pass away..." THIS IS THE CASE.
Very well, then, since Christianity is Christ's religion, and He is the Master, let us realise that if we want to perform His will, or criticise it, it is all one in this: THIS IS WHAT IT IS. It is not something else. It is not a matter of being saved BY KEEPING the law at all; not in the least part or particle. It is not in the least a matter of disregarding the unfulfilled parts of the word of God, either, no, not a part or a particle of it, wherever it be found. Once again, BOTH extremes are quite wrong. Till heaven and earth pass away, the law remains either fulfilled or operative. It NEVER WAS a method of salvation in terms of keeping commandments, but rather an exhibition of the impossibility of being saved that way, forming an interface between conviction of sin and attribution of mercy.
Thus neither 'works righteousness' which seeks entry by performance, not by "by grace ... through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God" - nor scapegrace disregard of His word once you ARE saved, applies. In Ephesians 2:8, just noted, you are referred to as having-been-saved people, and what are you to do ? We are to remember that we are ourselves God's workmanship, and to be CAREFUL TO MAINTAIN GOOD WORKS (2:10-12). This latter, it is not the ticket for entry. It is the heart that has entered, which receives, which responds to the love which enabled entry by loving the clean commands of God, and not at all by making a practice of a defiant daring that clunteringly short-circuits them in any way.
What monstrosity, to SAY you love Him, and not do the things that He said! (Luke 6:46 shows this apostrophe in effect from the very lips of Christ!). What does He say ? He says what we have just seen in Mark and Matthew.
God does not cease to be holy because man is saved; and man saved, does not cease to be able to learn of that holiness, nor does he grow automatically forgetful of Christ's command, "Be holy, for I am holy", which He applied from the OLD Testament! Thus if there is a day of rest commanded in Exodus 20 BECAUSE God made the world in a given way, this is not fulfilled.
God does not cease to have made the world in a given way, because we are saved. Quite the contrary, it is because we are saved that we are "renewed after the image of Him who created" us (Colossians 3:10). THIS is the new man, not some super-sanctified impossibility who runs riot from the revelation of God, and ignores as passé the things that are not past: it is he who finds inscribed within him, the eternal word of the everlasting God for man on earth. His heart is receptive to it, his mind is keen for it (as in Psalm 119, II Timothy 3:16).
The sabbaths were part of a whole system of testimonial and symbolic provisions, and these as a statuesque, multiply expressive set of conditions are of course past, having being brought in as by a tutor (Colossians 2:16). The whole paraphernalia of symbolism is past; but the principles are not past*1. Tutors do not educate on false premisses, however much the struts may be temporary in some things. Things structural and not symbolic are not abolished because the tutor is gone. The house does not fall because it is built, but its fundamental principles are the more sure, being made more certain. Rest long before Christ was in view (Psalm 95), and God's people could know it (Isaiah 63:14).
God has not changed. God's people have not changed in the rest they find, the invigoration and the delight in Him (Isaiah 40:26ff., 30:15ff.). The rest of redemption, depicted or paid for, does not start after centuries, but was the common attribute of those who, like David, waited upon the Lord (Psalm 23).
Nor for that matter are Paul's prescriptions about sexuality, homosexuality, divorce, fornication, or uncleanness of spirit and mind, at all passé. The word of God stands. The requirements of the law were kept by Christ, down to the last prescriptive prophecy and sacrificial considerations and concerns, not so that the word of God might lie and rot, but that the pictorial presentations should be executed in realities, and realities abide, as the word of God does, for ever (I Peter 1:24-25). This Christ did, saying, NOT A JOT will pass till ALL is fulfilled: yes, till heaven and earth pass away. They have not done so as yet.
Obviously, if the LICENCE rather than LEGALISM approach were to be used, NO LAW could be accepted. Since Christ's MANY laws are accepted as from the Head of the body which is His, then ONE of these concerns the nature of the other laws, unfulfilled, and hence you end where we began, with ALL the word of God, except what is fulfilled. Hebrews is most clear on this, and expounds it with precision and fulness. HE has borne the redemption of transgressions made manifest under the law, to secure eternal redemption from the curse of the law; but never is it stated or implied that He did it in order that gutter kids of grace might run about the place, ignorant and uncaring of the principles of the word of God.
Thus in Matthew 9:12-13, we find Christ USING the OLD Testament (the prophets section) to make a fundamentally spiritual communication, rebuking not those who kept the law (for this is in the law, or the law and the prophets, sometimes summed up as "the law"), but those who IGNORED it.
On what topic was this admonition directed ? It was on the nature of mercy and grace!
Now all these things have
been largely considered before (e.g. in Biblical
I, II and III, It Bubbles ... Ch. 9, Section 3), but our present interest is to set them together with these other elements we have been considering in this volume, as expressions of the cultural suckers of the octopus which obtrudes.
Obtrudes ? An octopus ? Yes, and especially the suckers, but of course it also intrudes, and protrudes. Thus not satisfied with seeking to suck out hell from the doctrine of the Bible, there is the desire to suck out either the total grace involved in any salvation,OR the utter obedience which is NOT a condition but a desired EXPRESSION of salvation, OR BOTH, invading the zealously loved word of the living God! The effort is thus to make cultural pap, people in whom the fear of God is absent, who are themselves and now here, now there, do not concern themselves with such matters as destiny (with or without Christ), or keeping (or perhaps even thoroughly KNOWING) His word, or GRACE (both saving and sensitively reciprocating in devoted love), or the words to which His word directs us, elsewhere in the Bible.
If however, the subtler snare does not work, we are left with many who quite directly do not avail themselves of the free gift of salvation and try to earn the gift. It would be as if William Penn, given Pennsylvania by the British monarch, refused to take it, and set out to buy it on instalment as a Bank clerk: being most fruitlessly zealous - for he could never buy it by such labour, as well as pathologically insensitive to the word of the Lord which, to follow the analogy, had only one way: it is GIVEN.
For all that, the devil may become greedy, desiring BOTH to make them strain at gnats and swallow camels, trying to do this and that as if life would depend at all times upon it, while yet passing over Ephesians 2:1-12 and its free gift, as in Romans 5:15, 6:23, Titus 3:7ff., as if sight had never occurred to their eyes: thus acting with an arrogant servitude which falls foul of grace. To adorn it, the evil one, for susceptible parties, might even have them TALK of grace without receiving it, PHRASE the gift of God without taking it, WANDER in careless paths, ‘liberated’ from all thought of doing what they are told by the Lord in many ways (Luke 6:46), strive discontentedly in some things, listen to the ‘authority’ of man, and then WONDER why their lot is so stressful.
If there is a silly error for confused sheep, be sure it is about and around. Culture invades the spiritual premises, rather like the airplane of September 11, seeking to 'take out' the towers of grace, or of obedience, or of destiny. Mutilations innumerable proceed, while many follow these wolves and the confused collection which often follow them, mistaking wolves for sheep dogs. Confused rhetoric makes it almost seem enlightened and spiritually mature to ignore the express commands of God, and with shameless semantic distortion, would have it a trap to keep the word of God, as if this were even unsavoury; or on the other hand, would have it that it is a shameless shambles to accept the free gift of God, and you need to be sure your fruit warrants your having faith, which is a contradiction at the outset, of any salvation by grace, for works would be its effectual condition!
No adequate works, no actual faith. What then are you TRYING to do before your faith is 'approved' ? Work. On what basis ? The hope of having an approved faith. So what is a condition of the approved faith ? Works. This is Pelagianism in Calvinism gone to extremes.
upon confusion comes as now this, now that element of degraded culture
tries to force the Gospel or the word of God or the grace of God, or the
laws of God into some folly from which people must flee, only to find themselves
being devoured by doubts, uncertainties, and such a departure from the
living God and His grace so sufficient, and His word so ruling, that you
even get cases where someone of long standing as a 'Christian' , can say,
"I cannot say that I am saved."
Children can understand far better than this; but the octopus sucks and his beak is nasty, hard and harsh, his eyes are large, engulfing the lost, hypnotising the unstable.
Yes, calling LAW LEGALISM and LOOSENESS LIBERTY IS the verbal equivalent of a riderless horse.
VAGARIES OF RIDERLESS HORSES
and the VIRTUE of the VICTOR, CHRIST
You NEED a rider. HIS is grace. He accepts you by grace ALONE. He saves you for His stables by GRACE. He receives your accession by faith. He seals you for faith (Ephesians 1) and so you obtain an inheritance which does not pass away (Ephesians 1:11, I Peter 1). When you KNOW Him, these disgraceful degenerations from grace, and distortions of the work of the place for those once saved by grace, as if we were little gods beyond all teaching, or receiving the lessons of man in the place of the clear and unchanging word of God: they move to fade away. It is only necessary to find what is written, to recover from being so smitten. If you are confused by culture and its suckers, ensure that you keep away from its tender mercies. It is not merely a disadornment to the word of God: it provides the supple anti-spirituality of the prince of this world, which passes away, and is as good a basis for belief as a dust can.
What further has this to do with Christian Apologetics ? It serves also, not only to exclude confusion which confounds, and to show the consistency and practicality of the teaching of the word of God, and the slithering, synthetic substitutes for it which being merely human, COULD NOT BE HIS; but it does more.
It shows this, that false teachers will abound, and those who are accustomed to a FORM OF GODLINESS, without its power, taught amiss, made merchandise of, will be many. These things and their brethren, are like the stars in the sky, but black. They are. They were to be numerous, a veritable flood (Matthew 24:24, II Peter 2, II Timothy 3). They multiply like some mad astronomer, casting out figures and finding people to wear them. Do not follow these things; they too follow from the word of God, being fulfilments; but as such, they are the least to be followed, since they fulfil the foul, exhibit that which is condemned.
The false religion, the fraudulent teaching, the impatience against the same old truths of grace and obedience, not as options, but the one for salvation and the other because of it, this is the exhibit of itching ears. These too were predicted ( II Timothy 4:3. cf. I Tim. 4:2).
What then is our empirical finding for this end of the Age (Answers to Questions Ch. 5) stage: it is this - If it is divergent from the word of God, it tends to be most popular. The case seems amazingly so, and the sects in particular seem to love to give their blood to the suckers of the octopus, and encourage others to do the same, often decrying the substitutionary atonement, and giving their own works as if comparable, or devaluing it, or denying the salvation by grace alone so that they can set you some man-made, devil-wrought works to follow, from them your mentors. They add to the word, or subtract as if it were their very own.
They treat the word of God as a basis, sometimes even adding whole volumes, as if Revelation 22's termination of the words of the covenant, prohibiting any addition to THESE THINGS, were expressly for the purpose of subversion! Now all this is precisely what was foretold, and hence to the Christian is no breach of rest, but rather a provision like a tea break, for refreshment. While it is a defilement, it is part of the prophetic program; and there are those even here, who may be torn from the flames, with compassion (Jude 23).
What then can happen ? Some will try anything, it seems, and then are hurt.
Then when the suckers have been at you for a while, there is the itch, you know, from the foul poison of the contact. That can then increase the disease. It is not pretty, II Timothy 3, but this is where such things lead. That is how it was to be; and how it is. Do you watch, then a road map in order to take a dangerous, unheralded route, because some do so ? Far from it. Watch you way, and as Christ put it, Watch and pray!
The secular myths to save yourself, your world, your will, your life, your dignity, your self-esteem, your force, your hope by violence, plasma coated or other, in the religious sub-category of the secular, the man-made religion, or this present but unacknowledged, they have this in common: there is no basis, no validity (cf. SMR pp. 92ff., 100-101, TMR Ch. 5, SMR Ch. 3), no point, no sustainable purpose; and there is a sort of hinterland of half-forgotten ideas, ideals and hopes, which meeting like cross-currents to the North of New Zealand, where the oceans merge, make waves but little more.
The confused combinations are one of the predicted invasive forces which will herd away many goats who thought they were sheep, alas, but when the man is made in the image of God, his insistence on his own way is non-excludable. His insistence on his own world is now quite rapidly removing the likelihood of its continuance, as also predicted (Matthew 24:22), whilst his individual position is wrought somewhat sooner. The man who disbelieves is condemned already (John 3:18-19); the world is on its way to an extinction also.
There is however a difference. It is life which is extinguished, all hope of eternal life in the mutilated garbage recesses far from the Lord, where His mercy being scorned, His grace derided or polluted, there is no more hope. With the world, its hopelessness is to be seen not only in its trends, but in its travesties of truth, in which lies the grace which would make it another place.
It is no sorrow to see it go; for it has been the harbour of many pirates, many receivers of vast praise, for as Christ put it, that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination before God. The words of the deceased are not like living ones, but more mutable mutterings. The words of Paul in I Corinthians 1, regarding the wisdom of this world are being seen fulfilled not only in its fallen and fastidiously inept philosophies (cf. SMR pp. 422Eff.), but in its falling and insidiously corruptive politics and its writhings in war and worryings for the future (as also predicted in Luke 21:25-26).
So goes this world.
However there is for the individual a more desirable case.
The beauty amidst all this divine singularity of long-range prediction, currently becoming an experience for mankind of short-range, near-sighted, half-hearted, mean-spirited folly, is this. The DAY OF SALVATION is not yet past (I Corinthians 6:1-2).
The world can go where it is going, and in any case it has to wait for the return of the King, who was crucified, resurrected and is to exhibit the glory of God on this very planet before it is all finished (see Sparkling Life in Jesus Christ Ch. 10, and SMR pp. 502ff.). YOU, the individual, however, should appeal if you have not done so already, to that coming once crucified King, for His salvation: not something that culture has concocted, but the free one which He has given, and receive His word like milk and meat, to live by it, in Him! Notice Matthew 4:4: Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God.
you are a Christian, how beautiful is the bread we eat, brother, sister!
Let us eat abundantly.
See It Bubbles, It Howls, He Calls... Ch. 9, section 3.