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BY ALL MEANS, HAVE YOUR SAY,
BUT KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN!
CALVARY IS NOT INCONSEQUENTIAL
BUT THE HUB OF LIFE and the TERMINUS FOR DEATH
for those who in faith find Him who died there (Galatians 6:14).
CHEWING THE BIBLICAL BANQUET:
FOOD FOR THE FAINTING-
BELIEVING IN GOD,
Not in FORMALITY but in REALITY
By all means, attack God if you want. Certainly, let him know from some upper echelon moral standpoint which you invent and apply, how far remiss He is. After all, HE merely created you. How glorious must be your knowledge, and how far must you be able to see beyond the hand of Him who made you, in unutterable magnificence… if you wish to condemn or criticise HIM!
Tell Him, if you have a mind, and a will for it, by all means, that He has made a colossal blunder, that NOTHING is worth the pain in this world, and that He should have shut up shop long ago, not making disastrous worlds in which people actually suffer. Tell Him, moreover, that if He had about half of your sensitivity, He would not even have considered, far less conceived, the very idea of a planet in which light shines, and darkness is ready to envelop, where people can be real and not robots, where love can exist, a tender plant at birth but stronger than death at the last, where friendship based on choice can have place and loyalty, commitment and faithfulness can exist and be robust in spite of strange, sudden and frequent attacks.
You may insist on adding in address to God: What if love had no other way, since it can never force and yet be love; what if You sacrificed Yourself IN LOVE, so that man might be redeemed FREELY, by YOUR action, where your Eternal Word suffered to the uttermost that man might be delivered WITH freedom and WITHOUT sin at last, and live for ever! You might wish to enunciate to the very face and front of God, as it were, your contempt for these attainments and what it cost Him, and His heart of compassion and His whole concept of the creation, the Cross and eternal glory for adopted children of His (Ephesians 1:5), who otherwise would never have existed.
You may even want to pour scorn on heaven, while you are about it, and undermine its foundations with witty tongue, claiming that any place where God, the God of heart and plan and salvation, is, is no place for you. If so, you might be right about this last point! You might then await judgment with confidence, and achieve your heart’s desire of living, if you can call it that, apart from God for ever, in your own hand-crafted but not entirely controlled little hell, in the grander regions inhabited by the devil and other inveterate haters of the love and truth of God.
If however, you do NOT hate the
love of God, then this is a time for thought, and action.
Would you have a God who is NOT light ? who is authoritarian and places everything without any considerations of love and its very meaning ? who KNOWS who is going to be this or that and creates THESE ONLY, on the ground that the rest is better left uncreated ? Would you then have nothing tested in practice ?
Would you therefore have heaven a place of authoritarian rule, not of light, not one where THIS IS THE CONDEMNATION of those who refuse it, that light has come and they have preferred darkness (John 3:19,36): but INSTEAD, one of empty LAW, so that where you are put, there you go, and whatever you might have desired, wanted, longed for, it is just too bad: here you ARE, and all thought of opportunity is rubbish ? You like the totalitarian ? Then a special hell could be provided, no doubt, for such as you, in company with all the other authoritarian specialists, lovers of those who place by their knowledge with no allowable grounds or deliverance, and you are to accept it and stay put!
God however is not like that. He would have ALL in heaven and earth reconciled to Himself (Colossians 1:19ff., I Timothy 2:1ff., Matthew 23:37ff., Ezekiel 33:11), and has done EVERYTHING conceivable or inconceivable, if you like to put it like that, within the grounds of love and mercy and truth, to achieve this. NONE can pretend to be maltreated in this domain. You have to actually DO this yourself, if you want out! You have to reject God’s Christ as ONLY and NECESSARY Saviour (Acts 4:12), and so leave God blasphemed as not doing all.
You have to turn up the nose, redirect the toes, invent subterfuges (cf. Proverbs 1) in order to remain alienated, and then suppositionally at least, you can complain at the lack of spiritual food and drink, while it sits on the table in front of your eyes. Such is man, alienated from the life of God, outside Christ the way home (Ephesians Chs. 2, 4).
In fact and all reality, it is useless to invent a new and unbiblical christ, not so loving as this, and to make an image of your own, contrary to the Bible and its account, and THEN attack the biblical Christ as unloving. If you want to attack the Bible and its Christ, the Lord's Christ, then you must deal with what is there, on pain of utter irrelevance; and if you want to invent a new christ of your own, it is already irrelevant to the biblical Christ. The God of the Bible is loving beyond all comparison, all increase, being infinite in His qualities and filled with grace. Let us then consider this biblical reality and savour this spiritual food.
Imagine the very ruler of all things
coming into the flesh as
SUFFERING, not only
physical pain, a relatively small thing, as nails entered the body and the heart
had an impossible load, such as sin is so good at bringing to those who love it,
or in His case, to
Him who so loved those who had loved it that He even died for them: but also
finding the horror of it as He bore it, in spirit! (cf. Isaiah 59:1-3, Matthew 27:46, Galatians 3:13ff., I Peter 2:22ff.).
JUST AS He died with it, their sin, even that of all who received Him (John 1:12, SO HIS love says,
“Why will you die ?”
and with this declares,
“ As I live, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked,
but that the wicked turn from his way and live.”
He even pleads, “Turn, turn from your evil ways; for why will you die…”
HOW OFTEN WOULD I HAVE GATHERED YOU, He spoke to the nation which had used His name, Israel of old, as a hen her chickens, but YOU WERE NOT WILLING.
To be sure, God foreknows all, and in love predestines, but that simply makes SURE, sure enough for an eternity! that He misses none who are His; for He would like to have all back (Colossians 1:19ff.), but drafts none by simple dictation. His WILL is love, He IS love (I John 4:7ff.); and anything contrary to it is abhorrent to Him (I John 4:20,8), who is the definition, alpha and omega, source and original of love, who gives all to win some, without yielding purity, by bearing sin for those who are to come, and supplies these with His own presence as Father. In the END, there is decision, known from eternity - HIS! (Romans 8:29ff., Ephesians 1:4, John 1:12); but the method of reaching the end, there is no dictation in that, just certainty of what is to be, in Him who loves, and yet yields, and does all in His own counsel (Ephesians 1:11). HE selects (John 15:1ff.), but HIS PRINCIPLES, PRIORITIES and DESIRES are always there, including the phase of foreknowledge and predestination.
To select is a simple and certain fact; HOW it is done and on what principles is to the glory of God a special and unique feature of Him who not only does what He pleases in heaven and on earth (Psalm 115), but maintains a purity of holiness and a procedure which does not vary, in the heart of His desire for all, whatever the result of rejection (Proverbs 1): something for which He can well weep as Christ did (cf. Jeremiah 9, Isaiah 48, Matthew 23:37, Luke 19:42ff.). If someone wants to take over from God, certainly, that is a freedom not granted (by infinite mercy! for there is none like Him in reality and principle and purity); but if someone wants God, there is none to be denied, except for this, that it is a self-serving effort to USE God to amuse oneself, or to serve oneself.
There is little mystery in this.
If in a kingdom of heaven,
of love, you want something ELSE
You wish God did not
desire all ? you want less love.
You wish He made a hell by
ceasing to be pure so that there was none to be found ?
You wish He had paid for
all, so that the payment means nothing,
Donation is its name and
grace is its origin.
Light is there and no darkness at all.
You want it different ? It is available, where light is not.
In the light, He insists on testing so that all may know, in heaven or on earth, so that all powers and philosophies, ideas and concepts may have their day and fade before His glory, unkempt, inept, delusive, abusive and inglorious. For all time, time has spoken; and in the laboratory of life, all courage and faith and heart and mind is tested, so that all things might openly declare their basis and their nature and their lusts or determinations or resolutions, and fail; and be noted and known. To eternity, goodness wins, glory is well based, courage in kindness and unyielding delight in truth is shown to be of God and for man, with nothing else or less available that CAN so much as LIVE!
For all pain, eternal life is more than sufficient compensation; and for any pain, in this world of sin and systematic sin at that, one which knows its own ruler and crucifies instead of crowning Christ, there is nothing less than justice, while mercy brings an unlimited resource of eternal glory, when all done, testing at family, national, international, private and personal levels being finished, there is rest.
Have a rest now from the love of God, if you will and must; and inherit the properties of hatred of His enlightening goodness; but never complain if you so despise your Maker. If self-determination is your god, alas, realise that it is not God, and worship of your self in any guise or form is adventitious, meretricious, capricious, inauspicious and an ungoverned gyration of the psyche. What in the world is worthy of such worship about YOU or ME or any other created thing! When it is chosen in the face of the love of the wise Creator, alas and alas, there is only grief to come.
It is better to believe Him, and receive Him and not to deceive yourself that an eminent, post-God glory inhabits your own mind, and that He has lost His! (cf. Proverbs 1).
The Eternal God of glory loses nothing, not even a soul, that may be brought to life; no, not even His temper, not even when in Christ, there is a crucifixion of His only begotten Son, which He both planned and foreknew ()Acts 2:23, Psalm 16, 22). In fact, as this invitation to disaster for this world proceeded (ably assisted by all the critics of God since then), He, the Lord Jesus, actually went on crying,
“Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing!” (Luke 23:34)!
It is better to be forgiven. It is the pathway to truth, the highway to mercy and the place of pardon, still unmoved, never to be shifted from Calvary, from the vacant tomb, from the divine walk-out from death and conferment of resurrection through the same power that created man in the first place. And on whom is it conferred ? why, on every one who receives Him, and believes the Lord’s Christ, triumphant over the tomb, and not another, and His word, and does not receive another (John 12:48-50, Galatians 1, II Corinthians 11), yes and believes IN Him, who gave His life, the just for the unjust to bring us to God (I Peter 3:18).