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BULLETIN THIRTY TWO
For amplification, see also Aspects of the Glory of the God of all Grace
and Repent or Perish Ch. 1 with Secession from Presupposition Ch. 12
Flitting and Faith,
Love and Secondary Motives
God as Guileless and Loving Selector
A distinctive of Preferring
Christ (cf. John3:19)
is the Set of Conditions and the Divine Dynamic in it.
Let us ponder these.
1) There are no competitive considerations, not ONE is to be found.
2) In the foundation of the preference, is the overwhelming love of God to man, and the unobstructed love of man to God which in His sight, fully figures. In lesser things, this sort of love is passion and even obsession, because it is less than the need of man. With God, however, it fits but its fulness has no ulterior motive, such as the approving eye of man for one's good deeds, the might with man of one's social standing or the security in bedlam which dignity may at times breed. On the contrary, it is totally absorptive in kind but diversifying in result, in such a foundation.
Here alone is no tilt, because like a planet fully facing he sun, it is not only in its most receptive position, but surrounded with visibility, in its gracious penetration, conducive to life*1.
3) When, therefore, before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), God in Christ chose His own, at once there is excluded anything contrary not only to this "single eye" for good, as defined by God, but trust in Him, towards Him rewards (except in having Him!) are irrelevant, for it is a person to person relationship that is decisive. Nothing of a personal predilection merely in oneself (as if the soul were LOADED one way or the other, so that preference would be literally meaningless), in personal or social culture (as it unwinds itself), in one's nestling ideas (as distinct from evocation of the truth as such) is the ground of preference.
It IS preference personally, that resilient, reliable response in the heart made free in His own image by God. It is decidedly NOT another name for one's inherent nature, for that too would eliminate the choice and preference aspect. It would be considerations, not love. But God IS love, and His questions to the apostle Peter are precisely of this kind (John 21).
All this is portended when an ultimate love of God supersedes all competition (Psalm 73:25-26), and only fraud is present if pretended love for a person is in fact love for possessions, peripheries or imaginations.
Is love then to be denied in obvious and demonstrable defiance of historical dynamics ? is liberty assumed dead because in time, it was to be violated - for it was after the foreknowledge of God was complete, that this pathological result of sin occurred (Romans 5). Did God then make self-selecting bowls with determinate bias, so rendering unnecessary all choice, even dead, and making all His frequent lamentations illusory, beside the point or irrelevant ? Of course not: for in God is knowledge, and our whole terrestrial trial is but an episode in the divine book, where knowledge of this utterly subordinate and understood body is as profound as it is beyond all imitation by us; for the image of God in a creation of God, does not know itself as God knows it, or exceed the depths of man to man apperception in and of the heart.
Or again, Did God go through the exceedingly costly travail in incarnation, and as Messiah, preserving sacrificial obedience in a mocking death, in order to gain what was so constructed that it had to come to Him anyway! The thought is its own answer. Obviously, for the divine model, this is not even a mockery of it, just a casual slander by the thoughtless who know not with what they deal. Knowing your subject is always crucial, and never more than here. To this, we will return.
Since then liberty is preserved in and before the divine insight and foreknowledge, so the love of Christ as shown in Old Testament prophets and the New Testament in verification and fulfilment, was present when the Eternal Being not only prepared for loss, but evinced willingness to pay for gain, the redemption of lost souls, in anguish and contempt, vicarious butt, for elements in erraticism, voided slips, cancelled cheques of potential, so that some at least of even these might be delivered. If the payment were not received, yet in scope it was adequate, and if the cheque to cover pardon were not accepted, yet the cost for those who would receive it, was the same combination of rejection, heartless and excoriating suffering, mockery, enticement to come down from the cross amidst agony, the endurance of religious folly and the dismissal of vast miracles of goodness, healing and help as if these were crimes.
Hatred of God can twist anything*1A, but God having all, has total completeness. It was the folly of sinners whose sin was made free to be borne, coming to blight the immediate felicity of Christ and His Father who sent Him, which He bore. That many would not be delivered was extra anguish, and these as He said, would die in their sins.
But delivered from what ? from the damnation that divorce from the Divine Redeemer entails (cf. Jude 20ff.); for man's position is hopeless without this, and even more so when it is IN ADDITION in rebellion still rejecting the aid of effectual divine grace, as if someone jumping from a roof top, first ensured that no one was waiting below with a net to receive the body otherwise doomed, and then jumped.
Yet for all that, the love that seeks is willing to pay what it takes, even when the infinite Being takes form and format as man, without sin, the more bravely and brutally to take what man deserved, on behalf of all, but in the place of those who cast their burden that it might be actually borne, by the Lord (cf. John 8:21,24). Thus foreknowledge included the divine application of that love, His choice, and predestined were those who were known to receive it. The love of Christ on earth was not in principle anything less that that before the creation itself as in Ephesians 1:4, and therein lies the utter assurance for man: God would have ALL (Colossians 1:19), and without abandonment to mere force, the pretence of hypocrites, this is as far as He would and could do; for love that forces is mere lust, irrelevant to freedom and the disposition of the heart.
What, having bias bent inscribed in it, can have anything to do with love ? It is a mere program, a property, impersonal as statistics, a controlled pawn. Such a situation has a distinctive, to be sure, but no merit; it is not even relevant. When there is utter freedom, for the one in God's image as held in the prelude of divine vision, indeed, there is no merit in preference, since if there were, it would be the nature of the nature of the one in question.
If you ARE better by construction, disposition of any actualisable kind, then freedom is absent and if you are NOT, then merit is absent. The latter is the biblical position. IF God had not invented the Gospel and bypassed human sin, indeed preceded it, many would have gone to hell; but He did these things, so making the utter difference, and all this being wholly of grace, such is this salvation. It is freedom and certitude, divine choice and human responsibility, love unimpeachable as mere lust, and outcome achievable without distortion. What God has done answers all questions of antinomy, antithesis and murk. NOTHING else, no other model does or can (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 1). That is typical of God. It is also indicative of Him.
Thus if the sought soul were receptive of divine love because, better in quality, it were by nature more influencible, or in characterisable impulsion towards what is good, then it would be a case of self-contradiction and mad mêlée. HOW could it be free (as in the model in view) if this were so ? and if it be free, how could it be endowed with what makes the crucial difference between the pursuit of or preference for either one or the other of these choice opportunities ? Freedom in terms of will is incompatible with the consequences of compelling or impelling construction.
It would also contradict and and reject the teaching word of Christ as the exact representation in human form of God (Hebrews 1), as in John 15:22-25, Matthew 23:37, Luke 19:42-44. Christ not only laments to tears at the needless devastation of the city of Jerusalem now to come, but says, If only you had known in the day of your opportunity! It might have done so. It DID NOT do so. Here lay the difference. Hence the devastation brooding, and shortly to come; and it DID come. The King went as predicted by the death route to resurrection and glory; and the city of the King then went as predicted, by the devastation route, to shame. It was no mean parallel! He lamented at the bronze brows, the obscured hearts, their misguided mission and their folly, so needless, so heedless while their God not only cared, but acted to provide the deliverance they despised.
Indeed, from the day of Micah 4-5, it had been emphasised that the God who sent the Messiah, on the rejection of the same Sent One, would "give them up", release Israel from protection therefore, until the time Christ focussed (Luke 21:24), when the Gentiles had ceased treading down with their possessive boots, trampling it, and then they would be restored to their city. Their treachery and His response had all been traced from centuries before, but no whit less did this make the pangs of grief in His heart, as they progressed as after all, had been foreknown they would, in brittle belligerence toward Him who loved them (cf. Jeremiah 31:3,18ff.).
Again, as in John 15, if they had not SEEN the works no one else had ever done, and HEARD the things no others had heard, THEN they would have no sin (that is, in terms of the context, the damnation of the soul, the final separation from God). But now that they have heard and seen these words and deeds, there is THEREFORE no excuse! In other words, no mere pathological tic of the heart was their undoing, no mere psychic moment that flitted; but a settled, falsely secure desecratory self-assurance, for which they were in the end, entirely responsible, and would need to pay account!
Christ did not die for nothing, to be an adornment to the sick, slick disposal of cognitive nonentities, spiritual robots, people under undivestable control, souls unresponsive because irresponsible, without scope; but He did die for those whom He would redeem, as many as would receive Him, foreknown before sin; He did not even come to judge, but to save, and His path to His sacrificial death was theirs to their God-only-miracle work of salvation.
Would God then needlessly go
through all the anguished agony of the Cross for the incarnate body of His only
begotten Son, when it was unnecessary, and the desired objective of repentance
and reception of salvation were sure to happen anyway, because of the tilting of
the soul at its creation ?
On the other hand, since God did not needlessly suffer for the assured, to attest and pay for what was already in line by its very construction, therefore this freedom for foreknown man, and this choice by non-aligning God, were the situation to be resolved. It TOOK that sacrifice offering sin-annulment to PRODUCE this salvation, if only for some. But some matter, and were not to be denied because of the contrary preference of others.
A few million, perhaps, out of many billions though it be, is not nothing! And if the rest would find heaven hell, because of their preference for being their own lord, or making something else into their god, and having their way as their own. That is why in Proverbs you read, as if of a horrid outcome, of people eating the fruit of their own doings. What is worse than conniving with yourself (or the devil) in assuring yourself of ruin!
Christ died in order to provide for what would otherwise be sent to disastrous ruin and belong there. That is in scope of the offer, all mankind (I John 2). He died for sinners, those all without hope, without covenant, without the truth. Even for those who would be lost, as in Isaiah 48:15ff., you see His yearning after those of whom it is said:
"O that you had heeded My commandments.
Then your peace would have been like a river,
and your righteousness like the waves of the sea."
He cries, "I have not spoken in secret." He was abundant in testimony, eloquent in appeal, but needlessly dismissed by those whose own dismissal would result! So the heart, the foreknowledge, the predestination (which simply fixes in place what is thus resolved), the practical action, the passion and laments of the Lord, are all not only in harmony, but in profound correlation for results. How greatly He has taken care to provide care, and how deeply He has looked in longing, but He did not break to take in hypocritical pretences or pretensions.
Love is not outfaced by death*2, and in Him first immorality then mortality overcome by spirituality and immortality in final form at last. and in His resurrection is both the demonstration of this fact, and the revelation of what is to come for all who have loved His appearing (II Timothy 4). In His divine words, His approach is made obvious continually (cf. Appendix B, SMR, John 3, Ezekiel 33:11, I Timothy 2, I John 2:1ff., Isaiah 48 and so on and on).
The fact of what would happen without divine intervention is the essence and base of the place of grace, ultimate and indispensable, in the obtaining by anyone, of salvation (cf. Ephesians 2). That it deigns to use the liberty as once created, is merely an amplification of that grace, as it is a testimony to His wisdom. Yes, man can reject (cf. Proverbs 1) what God not only prefers but has in type paid for, being while time lasts, willing to expend from His own merit, from the bank achieved at Calvary, what is needed to make the result desired, one that also can be wisely and truly achieved.
What then does man lose when dismissing the divine grace in its place, as wrought into free pardon ? He loses the escape from the impregnable evil of his original position. Then man displaced, is the one for whom grace finds no place. How typical of the situation was Jerusalem (Luke 19): IF ONLY YOU HAD HEEDED ... becomes NOW IS YOUR HOUSE LEFT TO YOU DESOLATE. Christ wept.
The Lord's construction of man ensures, just as Adam and Eve showed, that trust is not endemic by man's creation. He is not forced to trust by the mode of his creation.
Even if active and actual trust were a normal, natural start for man, it still could be and was, subverted. This the Lord knows and shows from the first, as all is manifest to Him (Hebrews 4), past pathological dysfunction in man (Ephesians 4:17-19) which might render preference for God impossible to determine by man*3. This however does not cloud His sight. Making man the final resting point is always a model rupture in the divine presentation, and man tends to invade the divine model with irrelevancies, just as he invades the created soul which is his own, with evil procurements, unless redeemed.
Love not only distinguishes its object, but in a person tends to become self-deleting if the One loved is not that One who having created loves, and having been rejected, loves yet and pays to restore who will be restored. Some learn to trust other things, prefer it, live for it. This is their focussed finale, their way. So be it, in the final and likewise the original analysis. This is their preference, their chosen and ultimate desire for their ultimate spiritual investment.
Indeed, there are no determinants in the love for God, no character compulsions or constraints unloaded on each individual in this regard, so neither is there nor could there be, any merit in preferring Him. Compelling or even inclining grounds abort freedom, distort love and cancel the meaning of the whole project, as so often shown in so many facets, aspects and ways. In fact, failure to realise the divine model and its appurtenances, features, unique qualities, unmatched power and unqualified love is one chief reason for the rush of clash in the area of philosophy and false theology. It simply imports, often without even realising it, elements of infinitely different features, from alien or unnurtured models, neither present in the divine model nor compatible with it.
Freedom relative to God is a divine creation correlative to the image of God in man, and He is not baulked in discerning its operation, any more than in conceiving the Gospel. It is all free, all of grace, even giving place to the preference of man with such deliberate and functional undertaking from first to last. It is all His choice, and it is His created model which He enables to operate in this magnificent way, leaving all forms of force and overlay of mere thrust, impoverished and faded images of the mini-thought and maxi-muddle of man, in his political ambits, totalitarian presumptions and ardent arrogance. His people, plucked from hell to which they would without His divine intervention of Gospel and loving grace, have gone as belonging to it, know love indeed. He experienced hell's desertion of deserters, though He never deserted Himself, vicarious atonement.
As Messiah He FREELY covered the cost of redemption, justly to deliver those who would receive Him in trust and truth, not merely fluttering and flitting as in Hebrews 6 and 10, and perhaps ultimately rejecting, but homing like homing pigeons finding no place like home.
As you see in increasing clarity even in modern democracies, intemperate and irrational thoughts, based on the rejection of God, readily become standard commandments which require conformity by a totalitarian intolerance. Freedom without God not only cannot stand, but does not, and as we approach the war of Revelation 19:19, it will be the real deliverance from all the artful subtleties and woeful pretences and pretensions of man. Thank goodness for the Kingdom of Heaven, where what man is and what God supplies match to unique perfection - and it is God who made us and knows us, and so treats us as we know Him (cf. Jeremiah 9 and 17)*4.
*1 The love of God to man is not only foundational but acts as a provision both incidental to and the glory of grace, decisive to all operation. The love of man to God is not only crucial, but fundamental to original preference. In His heavenly world, it all runs on love, acts in grace and its stark sincerity is deeper than the vicissitudes of life. It outstays death and rests in immortality.
Guile, so far from being a commendable weapon in the fight for life, is one more pollution of its integrity. The love of God is not to deceive, but to enlighten to reality, and to receive damaged equipment in the case of man. It is not to grab, but to give, not to extract but to grant, for from man He is in need of nothing, rather offering grace. Integrity is wise, being at odds neither with itself nor any competition; for fraud or the fiasco of false pretences always meets reality, being at a discount, and ready for condemnation. That is the way with it. While glory is (justly) for God, and so as such by many is sought for Him, what merely parades for effect, is a cause of war and worthlessness. The current situation in this world is an exposition of that fact (cf. James 4). Hence in glorious grace God does not seek His own, His own way to the detriment of the integrity of the preference, the genuine freedom of man in His image.
That is one reason why biblical Christianity, unique in the character of the Lord and in the nature of the plan of salvation, is not only the only resolution of freedom and direction, but the only possible one. It has the necessary ingredients and the ground for them, and has a monopoly of those grounds. Here is glory and ultimacy mixed, giving existential primacy unmixed, and resolution to the painful philosophic bogs of man, here in this way, there in that.
Guile is one of the enticements to which man is liable, and many follow it. With God truth is irrevocable and eternal, since the end is known from the beginning (Isaiah 46:8, Hebrews 4:13), and His word, fearless of any, and heedless of any distemper of man, is the reflection of what He is and exhibits this to those willing to receive it, demonstrable but deniable (John 8:37-44). In truth, to depart from truth would be to depart from Himself, who beyond time, made it, and beyond construction is what He is, immutable and unmanipulable by devil or any son of the devil.
*2 Song of Solomon 8:6, I Corinthians 15, Ephesians 3:14-21.
This is streamed, as in I Corinthians 2:14, but that
is the natural result, and intervention by God does ... make a difference! Thus
in Hebrews 6 and 10, you find the degree of illumination and power which may
come (as it may have done to Judas, and did with Balaam) which can divinely be
disposed in His presence upon man. As with the seed in shallow ground in the
parable in Matthew 13, however, this may be merely joy for a season! However,
the Lord is not bound by theology, but by His word only in how He may reveal
Himself and speak to man prior to final conversion. That is one reason why so
much needless persiflage occurs, as some tend to generalise from the particulars
of their own conversion. It is the word of God which rules; not the responses of
the individual. God is not bound by the traditions or impositions of man, but
precisely as He says, so He does. His is the greatest and most perfect freedom
See the volume on this site, The Kingdom of Heaven.