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THE LIVING GOD -
living in his life
FIRST: THE LIVING GOD -
1. The Grandeur of him who lives
It is not the case that God represents a symbol, a form, a proposition or a principle, a tradition, a cultural object, an intellectual quiddity or a moral preference. God is alive.
HE HAS such principles as He pleases, such moral codes as He devises and requires of all, such power as none can restrain and such wisdom as knows no end. He is the living God.
It is true that He is
immutable (Psalm 1102:26);
that His ways are
everlasting (Habakkuk 1:6); that He is
invisible (Hebrews 11:1-3), as becomes the One who made eyes (Psalm 95:9); thatHe is
invariable (James ),
invincible, both in Himself and in His everlasting Word (Hebrews , 1:1-2:4, Psalm 2), by decree, by total triumph and irresistible executive power ( I Corinthians , Isaiah 43:13), by judgment (Matthew -22, John , Romans 2, Revelation 20), by the power of an endless life (Hebrews ); that He is
impregnable (I Timothy );
immortal (II Timothy ), having indeed even for His own children "abolished death and brought life and immortality to light";
and that He comes as One
expressive and declared in His ways (John 1:1, 1:18, 8:58; Psalm 138:2, Jeremiah 33:20-22, Matthew 24:35, Isaiah 34:16, Ezekiel 33:30-33),
explicit (Proverbs 8:8),
available in His incarnated and eternal word, Jesus Christ the righteous (Acts , Philippians 2, I Cor. 3:21-23, John 16:15,28, 17:3),
unsearchable in riches (Ephesians 3:8), as in judgment (Romans ),
marvellous in lovingkindness (Psalm 63:3, I John 4:7-10, John , ),
magnificent in deliverance (Psalm , 34:6-7, 50:12-15, Jeremiah -23) Ephesians , ),
incomparable in performance (Luke 1:37, Genesis 18:14, Jeremiah 32:17,27, Ephesians 1:11, Psalm 139, 72:18; Matthew 5:17-19, Isaiah 48:1-8, 41:21-23, 43:8-13, 44:24-26, 45:20-21, 46:8-10, I Chronicles 29:11-18 *1),
energising with strength (Isaiah 40:28-31, Ephesians ), and
fashioning in beauty of holiness:
equipped with salvation through faith alone without OUR works, in His Son, because of His being perfect and perfected (Titus 3:5-7, Romans -28, Hebrews 5),
executed once for all in the format flesh, but
imperial in resurrection (Ephesians 4:8-9, Colossians 1:19-23, Luke 24:25-43).
With all worlds and time His creation, and all formats His possession, transgressions His to weigh, death His sentence and its breach His prerogative (Hosea -14, Isaiah 26:19, II Timothy 1:9-10), contained by His power and expressive of His sway: He is
triumphant in life (Philippians -21, I John 1:1-4, , Acts ,31-32),
and will come as
ultimate in judgment, to apportion to shame, as well as to receive His elect who have come to His salvation and received it (II Tim.2:13, II Thessalonians 2, Daniel 12:1-3).
Indeed, He is
irrepressible, this same Jesus Christ, Lord of Lords and King of Kings, delight of His Father (Isaiah 41:28-42:1, 49:6, Matthew 17:5), once dead but now alive for ever, returning in light to judge by light (Revelation 1:19, 5:6, Matthew 7:21-23, John 5:19-23, 12:49, Matthew 26:31, 25:31-46, I Cor. 2:7-9, Revelation 19:12-16).
Equally, He is
morally impervious (Psalm 145:7, 33:5, 11:7, Hebrews , Psalm 50:21) and
irradiating in light, so that His people find such an excess and bounty of light that they can live clearly by it (Psalm 27:1, 43:3, 97:11, II Cor. 4:6, Micah 7:8, Isaiah 60:19, John 12:20-26, Rev.22:5).
Yet all this, his grace and gift, does not reduce but rather exhibits the extreme force and entire brilliance of His vitality (I John 1:1-4, Revelation 1:8):
· for He needs no change, who is always holy and complete, knowing all, all-surpassing without blight, defect or need for growth, for of whom should He gain the rights and privileges to grow!
for He is
boundless in energy and
consummate in all His aspects (Psalm 89:1,5-8, I Tim. 6:16, 34:6-7, Psalm 145:17, 18:30, , 19:7, 119:96, I Peter 1:7-8, James 1:17 , Jude 24-25, Revelation 5:9,12, 7:12, 11:17-18, 22:5, Micah 7:18-120, Ezekiel 1:226-28, Jeremiah 16:19, Isaiah 11:1-10, 44:6-8, 43:10, Matthew 5:48).
Having made light as an instrument, He says through His servant David,
· "They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house; and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of They pleasures.
· For with Thee is the fountain of life:
· In Thy light shall we see light."
Infinite in understanding (Psalm 145:3, Ephesians ),
incommensurable in comprehension, and likewise
immeasurable in faithfulness (Romans 8:30ff., Isaiah 54:7-13, John 10, Ezekiel 34, 36-37, Micah 7:19-20),
He does not change! (Psalm 102:25ff., 90:2, Hebrews 12:25-29, James 1:17, II Timothy 1:9-10). Knowing the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), indeed declaring it,
eternal is He before our time that passes, began;
for He began it,
whose divine being is the basis and the power
for all that lives and grows
(Ephesians 1:4, Romans 8:28-30).
On Him, all depends, and without whom nothing would be
For man, and not God, it is to grow. The saved servant of God grows in knowledge and grace into the living marvels of God's depth of wisdom, beauty and strength. As a creature, this he does not in and by himself, but as a child of God, redeemed and adopted, in the graces and environment of His kingdom, in which the cornerstone is Christ and Him crucified (Rev. 5:13) for ever.
The LIVING GOD it is He:
It is HIS COMMANDMENTS which the Psalmist found to "stand fast for ever and ever" and to be "done in truth and uprightness"; for it is HE
IT IS BECAUSE OF HIM THAT TO THE UPRIGHT THERE ARISES LIGHT IN DARKNESS (Psalm 97:11, 112:4, 27:14); for light is His in it effusive wonder and energised brilliance, symbol in this world of the transcendental wisdom of the Lord of all worlds, who made them, stretched them out, calls the stars by name and tells the future as if it were the past (Isaiah 48:1-8, 44;24-25, Ezekiel 12:22-25, 26:3-7,19-21,Nahum 3:1-7,).
It is He of whom David writes:
Amongst the mere creation, of which mankind is a part formed for fellowship with Himself, and a very special apart are those who are His (I Peter 2:9, Genesis 1:27, Romans 8:29-39, I Thessalonians 5:9-10, Philippians 3:20-21, Col. 3:1-3), He can even graciously guide with His eye, as one reins a horse on its way (Psalm 32:8, Acts 8:26, 16:7,9, 18:9-10, II Tim.3:16), instructing and teaching in the way to go, and providing it (cf. Isaiah 64:4-5 NKJV, ASV, NASV and Psalm 23:3, 43:3, 77:20, 139:10,24, 78:41, 73:24, II Peter 1:3-4, II Cor. 10:4-5, 12:9, 3:5, Psalm 112:4, 84:11, Proverbs 8:20, and entire record of the Bible).
Among the creation, man is indeed a prodigy, patterned after the divine; but what is a prodigy which can die, compared to the Creator of prodigies, who lives for ever, time His creation, eternity His milieu.
God chooses His way of guidance for the meek (Psalm 25:9, Isaiah 29:18-19), but let no man intervene as if to supersede; yet it is according to His word, so let no man subtract or add, but in the unity of the Lord, the command of His word and way of His grace, His beauty is seen (Psalm 133, Acts 4:23ff.); and in integrity of heart (Galatians 2:14, I Kings 1:18-22, Daniel 12:10)!
So great is His invariable reality and sure word that the person who breaks one of the least of the commandments and teaches accordingly, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven! while the one who obeys and teaches (such) shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Spiritually discerned, these are an excellent test of spirituality and godliness, which brings close to God. To the heart of faith, these words are sweet, to be desired, as we notice in reading Psalm 119.
(See verses noted below especially, showing the objective numerability of God's word, its perfection, urgent desirability, eternity in truth.) (See verses noted below especially, showing the objective numerability of God's word, its perfection, urgent desirability, eternity in truth.)
They are also pure, like silver multiply refined by the furnace.
(Matthew 5:19-20 cf. Isaiah 34:16, II Timothy 3:16, Psalm 119:9,20,35,41,50,66,81,96,103,105,111,115,128,138,142-144, Psalm 12:6.)
Before this living God, he who desires to save his life will lose it, and he who loses it for the Lord's own sake, will keep it
2. THE LIVING WONDER
Paul speaks of the living God in I Timothy 3:15, , ; in Daniel we read of Him in , in the Psalms, in 42:2. Says Paul to Timothy: "But I tarry long, that you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God". Again he writes:
If ever you wanted assurance of the interest of God in the lost, see there; for it is this living God who in love sent His Son, having so loved the world, even this one, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish. Paul asks Timothy to
Nebuchadnezzar learned of this the hard way, though there are harder. He commanded with words of no small power, after his recovery, and after the plotting of those who envied Daniel was finished in the latter's deliverance, he in whose court the amazing spiritual phenomenon of the power of the wisdom of God through Daniel was multiply evidenced (as indeed through his friends), giving a charge with wisdom for all generations. His rule:
impressive and the king of
Majestic and wonderful, the Lord is yet tender and accessible through His covenant, the covenant consummated in the blood of Christ (Matthew 26:28, Hebrews -16, Chs. 8-9, Ephesians 1:7-11). Thus the Psalmist cries:
It is HIS prerogative, magnificence and Being that is "I am", the everlastingly independent, autonomous basis of all (cf. A Question of Gifts, Section VII, pp. 73ff., SMR pp. 26ff., Ch. 10); and it is His ways which do not change. Thus in Psalm 102, as in Hebrews 1, we read this word:
no end" -
Without pollution, with no attrition, it is He whose word stands though the universe falls (Isaiah 51:6, Matthew 24:35, I Peter 1:24-25), His children are born of indestructible seed, having a gracious genesis in His kingdom which has no end for them for ever (I Peter 1:23,5, I John 3:9, 5:12-13), He is the living God.
It is not mutability but immutability, not growth but perfection which is His; for perfection needs no growth, and change from entire perfection is less. Growth in heart, in spirit and in understanding is for us who receptive, rejoice in His work (Isaiah 66:2, 61:10, II Peter , Ephesians , Colossians ). Nor does He sit solitary in the heavens, as if the earth were beneath His notice, for He humbles Himself to behold the children of men (Psalm 113:6, 102:16-23); and abundantly provided for, "the meek shall eat and be satisfied" (Psalm 22:26, cf. John 6:51-54, where the results of this death accrue). Indeed, eternal life being obtained through the means of vicarious pain and agonising triumph traced through this 22nd Psalm, the prophet exclaims:
"May your heart life for ever!"(Cf. Item 17 above, esp. pp. 116ff. - proceeding back to the start of this page, as delivered by hyperllink).
Thus he declares, "those who seek Him will praise the Lord," even "aseed shall serve Him; it shall be declared of the Lord for the generation" (cf. Isaiah 53:8,10). That is, it will be HIS generation, the special one, the "chosen generation ... His own special people" ( I Peter 2:9), the offspring, drawn from all time as if in one time: a cumulative spiritual generation instead of a particular family which the Lord might have had, as Isaiah indicates.
is His by declaration. It reminds one of
Indeed, says David in this
22nd Psalm, "they
shall come, and shall declare His righteousness to a people that shall be born,
that He has done this" - Psalm 22:30-31; or as Psalm 102:18 puts it in a parallel passage, "this shall be
written for the generation to come"; for then the great humiliation is past, even that of the
Cross where sin's attire is disclosed and its sentence evidenced in advance, as
well as met for all time for those who are His.
His wrath also is living :
90:11. See The Kingdom of
Moreover, it is living waters which He disposes:
Thus, "Whosever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but thewater that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up intoeverlasting life" - John .
So the prophet Jeremiah marvels with divinely inspired grief at the morbid preference for the empty and the dead, over the living and the vital:
On the contrary entirely, in heaven, we read that
With God, who made created life in its massive complexity and mobile displays, life uncreated and eternal is present in sheer abundance (I John 1:1-4, John 10:10), so that even those sinners who, reclaimed, then blessedly derive from it, share in something of its exuberance. The life is as a FOUNTAIN OF WATERS springing up to eternal life, as Christ told the Samaritan woman, and His children discover. He is living and His Son was living and death could neither hold nor contain Him, not even when He went into its jaws with plan, to extract the teeth, and presented Himself alive to eat in their midst (Luke 24). Suffering was merely a path; salvation was its end (Luke 24:26).
So it is with all
suffering: if the Lord be God to a man, a woman, a child, rich or poor,
prisoner or governor, salvation being gained over the head of grief, then its
woe has no mastery; and life abundant is the overriding reality, apprehended
now, comprehended in time to come, when the devices and plans being shown, the
glory of the Lord will be seen. It is part of a test that not all its parts be
foreknown; but when the examination is over, the paper is easily read!
SECOND: LIVING IN HIS LIFE -
1. THE LIVELY TRUTH
OF ABUNDANT LIFE IN THE LORD
Such is the case here; for now we see as in a glass dimly, but then face to face (I Cor.13); though the principles are all clear already. They're clear as crystal for the performance, though sometimes hard as a hill to master, because of the sin which so easily stretches out its wings and flutters as if to overpower. Yet they are only wings, and His is the wind which sweeps it away.
Life and immortality have been brought to light, and it is the living God who has done so, who is available to His people at any second, who can act in an instant, who is never late, not tardy, who may be grieved, but who knows His own and knows how to protect them, guiding them and keeping them so that they do not perish (John 10:9,27-28), not only giving a life abundant (John 10:10) but place in life eternal (I Thessalonians 5:9-10).
Thus, when the disciples sought His body among the dead, they received the address of the living God: "And as they were afraid, and bowed down their aces to he earth, they said to them,
It is now time to remember. The living God is lively with a life which depends on no system, plan or procedure, but is intrinsic, self-existent, self-sufficient, sufficient for all (cf. Psalm 104), brilliant in peace, exuberant in power, fathomless in wisdom, eminently and eternally capable of expression - Christ is the word of God who was with Him at the first (cf. Item 31 above; John 1:1-14, 8:58), one Lord, one God, one faith, one salvation, with one everlasting Gospel (cf. Item 17, above) . He can help you now, heed your cry, when He hears He can answer, and He does always what is good, and no good thing will He withhold from His saints. (See Isaiah 30:15,18-20; Psalm 84:11, 138:3, 145:17-19, 78:34-36, Jeremiah 3:10, Zechariah 7:13, Proverbs 1:28.)
Therefore act like it, think like it, hope like it, pray like it (Romans 13:12-14, I Thessalonians 5:5, Luke11:34-36, Ephesians 5:8, 6:11-18, James 5:17, I Peter 5:6-10, I Thessalonians 5:9-10). Prayer in Christ's name by faith is far more real than a telephone conversation could ever be, since the power of God's Spirit not merely conveys the prayer, but interprets and assesses, moving from the heart of His children to the Father, in the name of the effectual Saviour, Jesus Christ, who is "able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them", Himself the forerunner who provides the expectation like an anchor, in His triumphant name (Romans 8:26-28, Hebrews 7:25, 6:18-20, I Cor. 15:55-57, Revelation 11:17-18, 17:14, 12:11). Now the link is there, use it; if it lacks, come to God by Him.
He is the LIVING GOD, and in HIS LIFE is LIGHT, and in His ways there is no change. He is faithful to infinity, reliable, immovable but not static, impregnable but accessible in Christ who has led Him forth, His own expression, through whom He may be found; and being found, His life is like endless streams of living waters, always new, never polluted, neither corrupted nor altered, but intense and immense with a beauty beyond mere bulk or size, for God is a Spirit and those worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth, for such are the worshippers whom He desires (Psalm 96:6-9).
2. Five things - yes six that are lovely
In this life in the life of God, let us ponder five things, yes six which have made much impact, amongst the multitude of facets of the jewel that is Christ, the wonder that is God.
1. THE LORD IS GOOD.
If nothing else could be said, this would need saying. He is always good, thoroughly good, good entirely. His goodness is definitively expressed in the face of His Son Jesus Christ (II Cor.4:4-6, Philippians 2:1-10, John 10:14-15, 27-28), that Good Shepherd who as God is predicted by God, who Himself would serve as Shepherd in view of the false and inadequate shepherds (Isaiah 40:10, Psalm 72, Isaiah 11, 42:1-4).
It was He, God Himself, who with His own life would be bringing again what was lost, and healing the sick soul, yes and body too as He wills, providing the spirit of a sound mind, binding up what was broken, restoring what was driven away, acting with grace and gentleness to the bruised reed and covering the smoking flax with His hand, that it burn brightly (Ezekiel 34:1-3,12-16; Isaiah 42:1-4, II Timothy 1:7, Matthew 22:14-30, Luke 9:37-43), not glorying in flesh at all (Luke 11:27-28), but constantly and with faithfulness carrying out His commission (John 8:29, 12:48-50, Matthew 12:48-50).
Far removed therefore from Mariolatry, and other idolatries which distort, deface and defame His name, He acted till the Cross itself, that once only, painful, suffering and blood-draining reality, should occur and the souls of the redeemed thus paid for, for ever (Matthew 20:28, Galatians 3:10-13, Hebrews 9-10).
All this Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory did.
Indeed, His goodness faileth never, and His mercy, His gospel, His life and His faithfulness are all everlasting. (Item 17 above; I Kings 8:56, Joshua 1:5, 21:45, 23:14, Deuteronomy 31:6,8, Psalm 25:10-14, 89:33-34, 73:1, 145:14,19 Isaiah 34:16, Jeremiah 33:20-26, Zephaniah 3:5, Luke 22:32, I John 1:1-4, Revelation 14:6, Galatians 1:6-9, Daniel 7:13-14, Revelation 5:6,13, 3:1,19:11ff.)
It is within His covenant that He is known; but as for those who pertinaciously refuse, turning their faces from His faithfulness, are they not as the chaff that the wind blows away (Psalm 1:4-6), like dirt in a kitchen that is kept clean (Revelation 21:8, Daniel 12:1-30. "Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord has rejected them" - Jeremiah 6:30. But with what lavished concern did He act (Jeremiah 6:26, 9:1-8, 12-13, 9:23-24, 17:19, 17:21-25, 18:1-7, 23:5,-6,9-11, 22, 23-32, 29:13), and enact (Galatians 4:4-7, Jeremiah 23:5ff., Isaiah 30:8ff.,16, Matthew 1:21, Luke 2:25-36).
His own however are saved by grace without works, by faith through grace, and that, the whole thing - as the Greek indicates - is NOT of themselves (Ephesians 2:8, cf. SMR p. 1043). It is the gift of God, the glorious God; without whom is darkness and anguish, and in Him is light, love that does not fail and truth; for God is love and Christ is Truth, and His light is sent forth: one God, on Gospel, one salvation.
To His people, the Lord is
ALWAYS good (Psalm 73:1), even to the point of using them, a grand privilege,
whether for display (as Job - Job 1, Philippians 1:29) or to purify (I Peter
1:7) or to minister (I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, Romans 12), to shine as
lights in the world (Philippians 2:15), as tender like nurses that are nurses
indeed (I Thessalonians 1:7-9). His presence and joy have the savour of heaven
now (I Peter 1:8-9), and His power is available for all His good purposes
(Ephesians ). His kindness is marvellous and His mercy everlasting
(Isaiah 54:8ff., Psalm 31:21, 100:5, 86:5, 107:1).
2. THE WORD OF THE LORD IS RIGHT; AND ALL HIS WORKS ARE DONE IN TRUTH (Psalm 33:4, 111:7-8, Isaiah 34:6, Matthew -20).
The righteous Lord loves righteousness (Psalm 33:5, 11:7), and correlatively, it is joy to the just to do judgment, to work righteousness, for they are from His image, and moulded to Him who, knowing the truth, can follow Him in His wise judgments and supreme counsel in all things (Proverbs 21:15). He is worthy of everlasting praise (Revelation 5:9-13).
We have already looked, under The Grandeur of Him Who Lives, above, at the faithfulness of His ways,
As is seen in Ezekiel's vision, and in the Lord's own ways, straight feet belong to the pilgrimage for His people, feet which turn not to the right or to the left, which follow the narrow way which is shining with that which is an end of all perfection; for electricity does well in a constricted channel, constrained to its task; and His people does He lead within the paths of righteousness. (Cf. Ezekiel 1: 7,12-13,20,24; Isaiah 50:7, Luke 9:51, Hebrews 5:7.) For this also, is He worthy of everlasting praise.
Even a mathematician knows
that it is exceedingly narrow which in its application is truly broad, for what
is right is not imagined, neither is it guessed;
but it is found in its place; and our place who are made by God, is in Him
3. HIS LOVINGKINDNESS IS BETTER THAN LIFE (Psalm 63:3).
Life without Him would be a worthless bore, a prodigious nuisance, a loathsome disease, a ship without a sea, a liner with no ocean, a spacecraft with no space, appalling an abomination or a delusion or a spurious glamour, a tale told by an idiot, as the bard has it, signifying nothing.
His lovingkindness is better than life! It is in Him that life has itssource, from Him its meaning(cf. SMR Ch.3, esp. pp. 292ff.)and for Him its purpose; and as to Him, there is none like Him in heaven or earth (Psalm 89:6, Romans )! who having foreknown and predestinated His own, makes all things work together for them, calling, justifying and glorifying them in future time (Romans 8:17-18, 28ff.) .
4. POWER BELONGS TO GOD - AND SALVATION IS OF THE LORD.
With Jonah we exclaim it,
with David we see it and find it (Jonah 2:9, Psalm 72:18, 57:2); in the Messiah
it is and will be exhibited (Isaiah 35, Mark 7:37, Zephaniah 3:13-20) and in
His return it will be consummated in exhibition (Psalm 2:8, Isaiah 11, Isaiah
65:17-25, Revelation 20, Habakkuk 3:8-16).
Not only does He do wondrous things (Psalm 72:18), but He ONLY, these focussed in the bodily resurrection, attesting that supreme sovereignty His by eternal power, vested in His rule over His creation and His manifested face in the format of flesh, that men might know the true God who is for ever and ever.
Salvation is not from the labyrinthine torments of seaweed in the refuse chamber of some vast fish, by one's own efforts, as Jonah realised. It is not for a man to run from God by his guile; salvation is an occupation for God, takes His power and realises His love - Psalm 3:8, Titus chs.2-3, Ephesians 2:8.
This reaches back to its basis in the heart of God, in the acme of holiness, to the full redemption practically wrought, which it portends. Of all Christian life, the life in the life of God, it portends, providing the atmosphere, its grace as criterion, its message the matrix. It harbours meekness and enfolds virtue (cf. Philippians 2).
Moreover, it is the cross
of the Lord Jesus Christ BY WHICH the world is crucified to me and I to the
world. See on the translation, The
Does the world attract the dead? Do the glamorously defunct attract the world? Yet though it be so, the world has people and the people are in the image of God, however sensationally defiled, deformed or dwarfed. Hence when He is lifted up on the Cross, and placarded, the dimmed senses may be touched by the justice of the picture of sin, the love which enabled Him to bear it and the necessity to cry to the Lord to be saved. It is the hands of the Lord, which are good hands, and who would have all men to be saved, yet does violence to none to secure salvation (Luke 19:42, Matthew 23:37, Isaiah 5, Ezekiel 33:11, I Timothy 2:1-3).
This verse at once cuts out Romanism, which effectually glories not in the free and eternal pardon of the Cross, granted in Christ to all Christians, but in the liberation of the Mass, which is both bloodless, which the Cross was not, and without suffering, which emphatically the Cross was not. The sacrifice of the Cross was called for by priests, as sacrilegious enemies of the Lord, but freely made by Christ Himself. Those who carried it out were a secular soldiery. Indeed, mass is performed often, which the Cross was not, and was forbidden to be, so that this sacrifice is glorying very definitely in something ELSE. (Cf. above, Item 20, Item 30; The Kingdom of Heaven..., Ch. 7 Separation, pp. 98ff., 105ff.; SMR Ch.10, pp. 1042-1088H; Hebrews Chs. 8-10.)
Gone equally is the Jehovah's Witness rather antique heresy (a form of Arianism which was dealt with in the first centuries of the Church): for the Christ who is crucified for them neither is the "I am", the Christ of whom Jesus said, Except you believe that I am He you will die in your sins" (John 8:24,58), nor, in parallel with this, is He conferring by this offering a free salvation which nothing can blight (Ephesians 2:8, Romans 8, 5:1-11, Colossians 3:1-3, Philippians 1:19-21, I Thessalonians 5:9-10, John 10:9,27-28, cf. Biblical Blessings, Ch.16, Christ Assurance), because of it. They are not free to glory in what does not save them, since what does is more glorious, and if the Cross is a help of some kind, yet it does not do it, all that is necessary, so that their glory is shared with whatever secures it.
Also removed is Seventh Day Adventism, which similarly is not satisfied with free salvation which saves, whatever names they now want to use; for the performance in the sanctuary is rather long, where an unBiblical Christ with incredible lack of speed is allegedly at work in some way on which the salvation is to depend, despite the choice of His own being registered before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). The Cross, in this line of heresy, did not manage it, so it is assuredly not gloried in as the apostle requires: there is much more to hand, and in need of finding to reach the haven of heaven for them. How Paul excoriates all this sort of thing in Galatians 3:1-10!
In principle the Mormon cult is no different. The Cross does not do it for you and what does, being also required, is somewhat differently organised, but nevertheless emphatically NOT the Cross of Christ, who moreover, for their heresy, was not sent from the God who was there from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 90, Isaiah 43:10), in the first place, so that the scene, scenario and players are not the same at all. It is a different world with a different God and a different Son and a different Cross, therefore, for them. The apostolic answer does not change: God forbid! *2
To assent in reality to this apostolic and exultant exhortation,
"God forbid I should glory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by which the world is crucified to me, and I to the world" ...
is natural for the converted heart, and intolerable in the end, because of distortion, to those not resting wholly, solely and adequately on Him who by one offering has both justified and perfected (brought to completion) for ever those who are sanctified (Hebrews 9:12ff., 10:10-14, Romans 5:1-11, Ephesians 2:8, Titus 3:7, John 6:51, 4:14).
There is a peculiar beauty about the simplicity of salvation, like that of a splendid jewel, which nevertheless appears as dark as night when it is not viewed in the light, however objectively magnificent it may be; and in this case, assuredly is. The Lord is a "tried stone, the precious corner stone, a sure foundation" indeed is "for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty to the residue of His people" (Isaiah 28:5). "For who is God save the Lord? or who is a rock save our God?" (Psalm ;18:31, cf. Isaiah 44:8 - "Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no rock, I know not any!").
Small wonder that the saint
rejoices in the Lord "who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not
according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was
given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" ( II Timothy 1:9), so that His
people become "a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord and a royal diadem on
the hand of your God" (Isaiah 62:3), of whom the Lord says, "And they shall be mine ... in that day
when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who
serves him" -
6. GOD CAN MAKE THE CROOKED STRAIGHT - ISAIAH 40:4.
With no small reason, Solomon exclaimed in Ecclesiastes (): "Consider the work of God, for who can make that straight which He has made crooked?"
It is true that the muddled morass of damaged morals, cramped spirits, misleading false ambitions, selfish pride and so forth in thedark deep seas of psychic dissolution and lightlessness, presents a daunting picture. Otherwise put, indeed categorically stated:
"O Lord, the
(Jeremiah 17:14). Or again:
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heat, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings."
How well then that one should be cast upon the mercy of the Lord, which will never suffer shame to His own! (Psalm 13:5, 52:8, Micah 7:19-20, Isaiah 45:17, 49:3,23).
However, the LORD HIMSELF can certainly make the crooked straight, and in terms of the Everlasting Gospel (Item 17 above), He does just this. Indeed, as Isaiah declares in the name of the Lord:
· "Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it...
"The grass withers, the flower fades: but the word of our God
shall stand for ever. O Zion, who bring good tidings, get up into the high
mountain: O Jerusalem, who bring good tidings, lift up your voice with
strength; lift it up, don not be afraid; say to the cities of
This flowering of righteousness and manifestation of truth in massive scale, though it be yet rebelled against (Revelation 20,12:12, 12:14-17, Isaiah 26:10), as it has already been rebelled against when Christ came not to condemn the world, but rather that the world might be saved, yet will show straightness even to many a crooked heart, judgment to the unjust, mercy in the midst of the unmerciful, and the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14, 3:8ff.).
Clarity shall replace confusion, wrought in sin, ambition, folly and selfishness, beauty shall bloom amidst the mountains and in the hearts of many (Psalm 73, Zephaniah 3:8-11) and the world will see while it whirls what it will be furled up not to see more (Isaiah 51:6, II Peter 3:10-13), so that the new heavens and the new earth, long after the removal of the elect from this world (Matthew 24:26-43), abstracted from the very life of the globe, the platitudes of the planet.
The straightness of converted life in Christ now will be rendered in a new painting, a more extensive tableau as the straightness of the millenium appears, and this will be changed into eternal robes in the new heavens and the new earth, where the glory of the Lord is the light (Revelation 21-22). But it is STRAIGHT, what is now crooked is made straight, now bowed is uplifted, now feeble made strong.
It is the Lord who does it, and NOW is the time in which the heart of stone can be made a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:17-20, 16:60, 37:26, Jeremiah 31:31-37, 32:39-40, Isaiah 55:3) according to the eternal Gospel (Revelation 14:6, see Item 17 above), preached for so long by so many in so many ways, from the Old Testament on. Indeed, Isaiah for one has it so clearly that its vast magnificence glows like the sunrise in red flaming across the sky; and now it is mid-day, and soon it will be dark, for the night comes in which no man can work. Now is the day of salvation (II Corinthians 6:1-2, 5:17-21), and now is the time for the crooked heart to be made straight, the crooked life to be made plain and the hand of the Lord to guide His people in straight paths of peace.
Indeed as Psalm 49:7,15
tells us NO MAN CAN BY ANY MEANS REDEEM HIS BROTHER, but GOD WILL REDEEM MY
SOUL FROM THE POWER OF HELL. It is HE who makes straight the ways from
judgment, from peril, from pollution from perishing (John , Romans Chs. 6-8).
3. THE WEIGH-BRIDGE
Living in the life of God is a beautiful process, for it is like living in the high mountains amongst the clear streams from the snowy waters (Jeremiah ). It requires in this world however much diligence. Remember that sad lament from the Song of Solomon 1:6 - MY OWN VINEYARD I HAVE NOT TENDED. So vigorous in the work of so many, yet this sad note comes into the midst of the developing 'love' scene. Too exposed, she has neglected her own life in the process of service.
Onto the divinely provided weighbridge, then, we must go, and constantly. See Proverbs 8:30ff., and realise then that there must be a DAILY WAITING UPON THE LORD, for His wit, His wisdom, His kindly guidance and sure cherishing cleansing. Do we not wash in the morning; surely we live without it, but with dirt instead of refreshment. Do we not wash 'sleep' from our eyes, that we may see the more clearly? Shall we do for our bodies, important as they undoubtedly are, our instruments of life, what we fail to do for what uses them, our spirits! (I Timothy 4:8).
Immature, premature rush is not of the Lord (Isaiah 28:16), and that tireless delight in His presence, which issues in the grace of assured action, is apt for the one who is founded on a rock about which the ocean waves may roar, but which does not move. Godliness comes from God (Psalm 37:7, 27:13-14, 61:1-3, Isaiah 40:31).
Therefore we must CAST OUR BURDENS ON THE LORD. This means weighing them. They must include confessed sins, perceived slacknesses, spiritual dulness or whatever thing may be clear, as it is clear when one washes one's face, as in need of action! HE may calibrate them, tell us to strengthen the things that remain (Revelation 3:2) or to hold fast "till I come" (Rev. 2:25), or to return to our first love (Rev. 1:4), or to challenge our church, or to separate from it, or to open our eyes to our ways where we had not realised a danger or error (Psalm 139:23-24), as we ask the Lord:
The living God abounds in life, and eternal life is lived in Him from the moment of its first inception to the everlasting reaches that never end. HIS kingdom, who is the Son of God, Son of Man, God incarnate, sent from and for His Father (John 3:16, I John 4:7ff.), does NOT end as the word of God declares (Daniel 7:13-14, 9:24-27 I Corinthians 3:10-12, Revelation 3:1, 5:6,13, 7:17, 11:18, 22:3, 22:1, 21:22-27, I Timothy 2:4-6,, John 5:19-23, Acts 17:31, Galatians 1:6-9, Hebrews 13:20, 9:27-28, 12:25-29).
love with which He has loved His own Son, the eternal word, with this He loves
His children, and this love is in His people who live in Him (John 17:23,26);
and this in the consummation of all things is wrought to perfection (Hebrews
I Chronicles 29:11-18 is a beautiful rendering, expression of some of the Lord's magnificence
and too long for the
context where it was noted, but fitting for this note. Its words follow.
"Thine, O Lord, is the greatness and the power, and the glory,
and the victory and the majesty:
for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Thine;
Thine is the Kingdom O Lord, and Thou are exalted
as Head above all.
"Both riches and honour come from Thee,
And Thou reignest over all.
In Thine hand is power and might;
and in Thine hand it is to make great
And to give strength to all.
"Now therefore our God,
We thank Thee
And praise Thy glorious name.
But who am I, and who is my people
that we should be able to offer so willingly as this ?
For all things come from Thee,
and of Thine own have we given Thee.
"For we are pilgrims before Thee, transient occupiers as were our fathers,
Our days on the land are like a shadow and there is none abiding.
I know also, my God, that Thou dost test the heart
and have pleasure in uprightness.
"As for me, in the integrity of my heart
I have willingly offered all these things;
and now with joy I have seen Your people,
who are present hereto offer willingly to Thee.
"O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and
, our fathers, Israel
Keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts
of the heart of Thy people
and fix their heart toward Thee."
Notice the "willingly offered" (cf. Romans 12:1-2, Psalm 110); the "integrity" of heart; the joy in seeing the people hearty in the service of the Lord; David's concern for this fixity and surety about the expression of God which the temple to be built would pattern and which Christ, as he predicted (Psalms 2,16,40,49, 69, 72,110,118), fulfilled. It is in effectual contrast - all this wonder - with the state of the people on earth, where the Hebrews were transients, pilgrims, not settled in the earth as if it were their hotel unit, but as a place of temporary occupation, under the Shadow of the Almighty.
So now too, in the late twentieth century, it is the same. The whole world is a transient thing; and it would seem that now, few do not realise it. Integrity of heart towards the place where God has shown His face, the personal place, that glorious second member of the Trinity, Jesus the Christ, whose body the Lord built and not man, that entry and visa to heaven, who coming from heaven as equal with the Father, into humiliation to the point of being cursed butt of man's pride, envy and lust, leads back to heaven for those who take the train of faith in Him: these things are still vital. In their disregard is the loss of the life of God now and for ever, and presence of eternal shame (Daniel 12:1-3).
In fact, the Moslem religion like the Christian Science one, has another Jesus with another gospel which is not another: for in each case, Jesus is not "allowed" to die to bear the penalty of sin for believers - carrying out the concerns of Simon Peter when Christ had to rebuke the devil, and Peter was seeking to dissuade Him from going to His sacrificial death (Matthew 16).
In the Moslem case, they like to think of some substitute, like Sidney Carton in Dickens' Tale of Two Cities, being unnoticed and substituted (Koran, Women, 4:157-158 - which is rather a variable statement, but makes a sharp negative). In the Christian Science one, it is a case of 'christ' being inadequate in mastery over flesh (Eddy, Science and Health, 19010, p. 53), which "should" not know suffering. She construes the flesh did not profit to secure redemption on the cross: "One sacrifice, however great, is insufficient to pay for the debt of sin" - Eddy, op.cit. 1910, p. 298. Hebrews 9:12, 25ff., of course, says the exact opposite.
Like Romanism, Christian
Science has its founder saying, "The atonement requires constant
self-immolation on the sinner's part", a sort os supplementary diet for
the soul, to save it (loc. cit.).
Thus Rome distances Calvary through its vaunted medium of mass, an idol; Christian Science would have the mind do its toils to help things along for the atonement, also synergistic - a man-God joint product from man-devised media not found in the Bible, but only contradicted by it; the Moslem heresy does not even let Christ die at all, and slots in various works of attainment, including battle, to go along with 'him', and produces a whole new book, whilst 'honouring' the 'christ' they make not from history but from the mind of their founder; which also the Mormons do. The Jehovah's Witnesses, failing to accept what Jehovah as His own witness had to say (John 8:58), remove Christ backwards, derogating His deity and making 'christ' some creation or other, with nice names, so that 'his' death is really irrelevant to the Cross of Christ: a practice illustrated also by the Christadelphians.
All fail to heed
Paul's command: God forbid that I should glory except in the Cross of our Lord