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THE DESIRE OF THE NATIONS
AND THE FAULTLESS ONE,
BETTER THAN ANY DEFAULT CODE
We move from the international, and its squalors and wallowings, to the internal. Amid the internal, let us consider the blocking and the escape in life's challenges, the weakness that weeps and the work of God that leaps, the sin and the squalor or surrender to it on the grounds of special challenge, and what the Lord can do.
It is necessary to distinguish between two things. One is the perception of sin, of its kind, character and presence; the other is the perception of its potentially pulverising power.
IF you can see what it is, then you are in the realm of understanding about the topic. If you can further see its power to subdue you, incline you, make you decline, spoil or foil you, then you are advancing in responsibility.
If you then decide that it is hopeless, along the lines that Paul evokes in Romans 7, where you find sin in its very essence within you so that its advances are like those of Putin into Crimea, not only horrid and hapless but a take-over, then your responsibility, so far from declining, advances vastly. To decide that it is unrebukeable and incorrigible, that it cannot be broken, and to go in bitterness or weakness of soul therefore, this is more than weakness. It is a sort of drunkenness.
It is not I, says Paul, in his reflective revelations, that do it, but sin which is in me. Hence comes his cry as in Romans 7:24,
"O wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from the body of this death ?"
If this world came from nothing, which like anything else from that source, is impossible, a mere contradiction in terms, then it would be a foul mess at this point. What would you expect ? Nothing can do nothing, so how could you do better, who impossibly are imagined to have had such a source! But it did not, because it could not, do that. Hence you look to the actual source, to the pit from which you were dug, as Isaiah puts it, and when you done this, with more zeal than many spend on studying volcanoes, for example, that is with great zeal, then you find that the creation manual, called the Bible, has the answer, tested, verified and validated*1. Here is the centre for the pining, disquieted desire of the nations, though they get lost in the peripheries
Consulting, instead of nothing, this source, we find that in Romans 8, the solution to the ostensibly or at least initially hopeless seeming task of overwhelming the innate crushing power which sin can provide, as if man were in vacuo, that is, outside the providential and even more, covenantal power and presence of God, we have answer to find. Then the predicament does not rule, but the Prince of peace, not only offered to the world without, but received by His people within. It is not good to omit the main thing in any equation or set of correlatives; but to omit the INFINITE is infinitely mistaken. The results of such an omission would be sure to border on the ludicrous, at best.
Thus assuming a model which omits God, or using a current naturalistic idolatry as a basis for investigation, and far more, as if it held resolution of a problem, is sheer abuse of terms. Cultural habituation in TV, in the internet, on radio, in newsprint is so vast, that when to this you add perhaps 13 or more years of academic indoctrination at the hand of a naturalistic education system (in fact, though cosmetic admissions may be made, in the social hinterland), there is excellent reason for the confusion.
Instead, leaving the claptrap of confusion aside, and proceeding in the presence of the God whose power gave to the spirit of man the facility for analysis, for recognising forces and failures and principles and powers, needs and meanings, we find this. Just as there is the cause for creation, so does it apply for resolution. The answer to the sin-sway problem, to the assured-failure scenario, like that of some beaten dog before a brute wolf, is not to dwell on the wolf, but to look for the Shepherd, not to surge into the irrational, but to find the author of reason. Just as it is the logical basis for the laws both of physics and chemistry, so it is for spirit and mind, which can investigate them with the same logos, as they themselves display, sourced in the very LOGOS of God (John 1).
You have to dissent. That is the first point. You do not find excuse to roll over like a simpering dog.
You do not agree with the sin, so you do not lie down and let it lick your lips before grabbing your mouth also. Next, you look to your Maker (Isaiah 51:1), and look for HIS salvation, for as with creation, this too He has made and provided, as in Isaiah 44:23, 45:16-24. You consider its vicarious atonement, the reconciliation available through Christ bearing sin as representative for man, and taking upon Himself the sin and guilt of those who would come to Him (as in Isaiah 53:1-6, bearing the sin of all who were healed by His stripes). If you do not come, then forget the healing of spirit. It is selective, but not in a love-short-circuit, but in a simple provision for the takers, whom God has indeed foreknown; for there are no surprises for God (Isaiah 46:8); for time itself is His creation, being part of the space-time assemblage, the writing pad for history.
In so turning to God, and to His salvation, as a creation, you turn to grace as in Ephesians 2:7-12, for it is all by grace through faith, and you trust Him. Not to trust your Maker in fact makes a rather specious wriggle, as if one were oneself more reliable than what is one's very and veritable source, so that instead of finding what is godly, there threatens only a godless and inglorious confusion.
Thus Ephesians 2:5-8 has this.
"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God ..."
Since it is all the work of God, to fail is out of the question, though fake faith is not! as in Hebrews 6. A wife may trust her husband in normal spheres, a man his dog and vice versa, so that to trust in not some work of philosophic grandeur, but as simple as the heart of a child, in Him who is the Lord and Saviour, is not hard, but an affair of the heart, in it and of the power of God (John 6:29). Indeed, Christ made it clear that entry into the kingdom of heaven requires a directness that is too real for plausible subtleties (Matthew 18:1-5).
Then, coming to know the God who is there, available, creator and redeemer, ransom in Himself for each one of His repentant people, each believer, you train Him onto the weakness of heart, spirit, mind that is afflicting you and ask for deliverance (John 8:34-36). It is not as if you are merely studying a program instead of watching the relevant opera; in this case you are PART of it, but there is a program in the promises of God. As your heart is changed through the entrance of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus the Christ, so your viewpoint and perspective are moved to realise what is happening (John 3). Consider the input from Paul in Romans 6:8-14.
"Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more.
Death no longer has dominion over Him.
"For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all;
but the life that He lives,
He lives to God. Likewise you also,
reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin,
but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
"Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body,
that you should obey it in its lusts.
And do not present your members
as instruments of unrighteousness to sin,
but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead,
and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
For sin shall not have dominion over you,
for you are not under law but under grace."
Resolution ("sin shall not have dominion over you," Romans 6), and provision (what "the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God did," as in Romans 8:3), these both flow into dynamic assistance "you are not under law but grace." The purpose here is not to show the dynamic of sin but to aid its overthrow. His provision has power and intimacy from His now close presence (Ephesians 2:22), and in His presence new motivations, capacities, desires, delights, understandings arise like the sunlight on multiple coves, as the dawn breaks. His death is not only purgative but purifying, not only a matter of for sin but with sin, not only a conqueror but a bearer. Therefore do not be borne by sin but born by Him (as in Ezekiel 18:30-32. And what does it say ? It is this.
"Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.
Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed,
and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.
For why should you die, O house of Israel?
For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord GOD."
Therefore turn and live!"
It applies to those who repentant, through grace by faith are redeemed in His ransoming action. It drives like a forceful mountain stream through the surrounding earth, a channel to carry away, lively waters for living souls.
NOTHING that is discernible as right and wrong, spiritually acceptable or unacceptable in principle, is outside the scope for repentance or the power of God to restore; and in your thought, to leave Him out, as if His omission in considering were natural or normal, instead of a gross flirtation with fancy, what is this ? It is nothing less than an infinite error.
He may even help before conversion, since His mercy endures for ever and He delights in it (as in Micah 7:18ff.); but there is no assurance of that, before conversion. Indeed, He may even act as a prelude (Romans 2:4).
"Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering,
not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?"
It is for Him to decide such things; but for anyone to decide that the case is hopeless, it is not only unwise, but unseemly, unsightly and both specious and sad; because omitting what is more important than being in existence oneself, at all, the power, presence, promises and purity of that self-same Maker who is also Redeemer, is like trying to walk without feet, natural or artificial, or to think without thought. He has not forgotten His creation, though His creation may forget Him!
"Can a virgin forget her ornaments, Or a bride her attire?
Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number," Jeremiah 2:32.
This, if wise, you do not do. IN remembering Him you turn to Romans 6 and consider the way of wisdom as there depicted; and proceed by faith so to live IN HIS PRESENCE. Flout the obvious, aspire to the holy, pursue anti-robotic realism in disregard of sin's luring pathways, never construe enticement as necessity, or custom, convenience or lack of self-control as mandatory.
Consider. Your equipment is not your soul; your facilities are not your life. Your difficulties are not your spirit. Your DNA for example, is equipment, not goal or God. It may limit the good you can do (as with Joni Eareckson, so almost entirely paralysed), but not eliminate your spirit, which instead may become intensely productive. Facilities do not control your spirit. Your piano may be painfully disorganised, but this does not direct the heart of the pianist. If you know God, He also is near to you, and communication, prayer and attitude count. WILL you trust in Him to overpower the dynamic of evil (knowing this is not the deficiency from format weakness as through DNA), or will you not ? If not, this is rebellion; for this done for this reason, is parallel to what millions do for the other reasons; and it brings the same result.
Thus those who fall as if matter were king and physics were courtiers, ignoring the Maker of law, and His own laws for those in His image, for man, in a sort of deterministic paralysis of ability to resist, oddly enough CHOSEN (Acts 7:51, Joshua 24:15), are they are not as far away from the Lord as their opposite. ? That is the case of those who assert strenuously their own power to do anything. These ALL forget the realities of the Maker who may act, as with Naaman, on the converted or the unconverted, or in the very process of conversion. Never set limits to the Lord (Psalm 78:41). Realise His great goodness.
Remember, avoiding the supervening power and liberty of the Lord Himself in these things, can make you infinitely wrong. It is like failing to notice an infinite debit or credit in your accounts.
Do not therefore be disheartened, or make even mental limits your excuse for failure to trust and follow the glorious Lord who made you (John 5:24, Psalm 78:41). Your difficulty is your own; that of others may be almost incredibly challenging also to them; but it is theirs. Let each person deal faithfully with the Lord, and NEVER say, my fault I can see, but I cannot correct. If you can see it, then you can think and if you can think you can call, and if you call then you have the same access. Call then! (Acts 2:21). He is more than default code, to come when you have no other selection; His is the faultless and faithful provision when one realising one's faults, come to Him, the everlasting salvation for man, and for him, everlasting life.
Salvation is not a poem but a performance, made by God, applied by the Holy Spirit, endorsed by promises, surrounded with grace, propelled by the power of God. But to make oneself irrelevant is not humility, but hiking in the opposite direction. Will DNA, or deformity, will habit or custom, will depression or disability separate from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus ? If you know Him, rely on Him. If you do not, surrender to Him. In Him is life, and from Him is the channel for the waters of wonder, the ever present grace of God (Romans 8:33-36).
Let then the Christian rejoice in the power available as in Ephesians 1:19; for the bodily resurrection of Christ proclaims God's own power on earth to the uttermost, His purity of promise and absolute capacity in all things, to the very uttermost Trust therefore to the uttermost, rely in intensive realism, on Him alone, who alone does wondrous works, whether in body or mind, wisdom or relay, in answer or in discipline, in outreach as in inreach, the all-sufficient God who is our sufficiency (cf. Psalm 71,16, 72:18-19).
On this topic, one may for example read in The Bright Light and the Uncomprehending Darkness, a section of Ch. 7, available in full at this link.
Yes, it is valid and it is not in collision with FAITH!
The same again, applies in the unhappy concept that Christian Apologetic Method should AVOID any thought of DEMONSTRATING the existence of the Almighty; and that in giving a 'reason for the faith' (I Peter 3:15, Philippians 1:17), it should not speak with no uncertain sound, but should move like a drinks waiter amid the customers. Not so is the "casting down of imaginations" and "bringing every thought into captivity to Christ" of which the apostle Paul, who puts himself to us as an example (I Cor. 11:1, II Cor. 10:5ff. ).
The logical buffoonery of imagining that BECAUSE God may be DEMONSTRATED to be there, HE cannot be free, has been exposed in depth and in detail (That Magnificent Rock Ch.7, Part D), such a concept showing a failure to know the realm of predestination, like a year 7 science student speaking of quantum physics. You see, there is some need to know the field before you demonstrate things in it, at least in some measure of fidelity to its outline. The EVIDENCE and the CAUSAL requisites for it, are one thing. The WAY IN WHICH the all-sufficient basis comports Himself is not even relevant to that! What He is, He is; and the evidence for His existence does not pre-determine that as if the action of anyone powerful should prove Him without liberty! You see His powers by what He does; but His power is a function of Himself, not vice versa.
It has however been shown in the sense of Romans 1:17ff., what must be acknowledged rationally concerning His divine nature, in SMR Ch. 1, in terms of a necessity that He be free. Logic does not control what it attests; but it must attest what it finds. What it finds here is the source of all law and order, form and contrivance; but He is not determined by these things; it is they which HE creates to His own will!
Articulated logic, not sensationalistic bizarre grotesqueries of phrasing is the requisite, when reason is invoked, in giving a reason for something.
Indeed, more generally, reason as we have shown repeatedly from SMR on, has requirements for its validity (cf. SMR Ch. 3, That Magnificent Rock Ch. 5), which irrationality does not serve; so that those who wish to dispense with its kindly ministrations in their construction of a world view, are not able to argue, or even formulate thought, in terms of logical consistency. Their view falls by default.
The INVALIDATION of reason by mere desire prevents argument; but its DUE USE is comportable with argument, and this we do. In this way, we avoid in our contest, disqualifying ourselves in advance, as is the way of some!
WHEN we so use reason, THEN the VERIFICATION confirms the validity at the outset, when God is found in the onset; it is rather like Columbus, convinced of the existence of American, being confirmed when he comes near its shores and finds evidence.
If however, he did not sail, he would not find.
Thus when reason is dismissed at the outset, then the invalidity suffers no rule of rationality, and gains nothing, as would be predictable, the attainments of modern philosophy in this regard, being foreseeable as to results, as they unhappily accrue.
Logic is invalidated when the world-view accepted does not accept its rule in the matrix of things.
It then becomes a subjective invention (A) or empirical sequence without reality, or capacity to affirm what is the case (B). Kant (A) and Hume (B) are both examples of such an approach in different ways, and they are utterly unable to avoid its self-invalidation (Predestination and Freewill, Appendix on Kant; SMR pp. 257ff., Ch. 5 on Hume). There is far more for subjectivity to contend with, however, than is found in the special features of their work. Let us pass from those special cases to a wider one arena.
In general, when the world view EXCLUDES absolute truth in this way, either its existence or its availability, that is, either by having no possessor who is beyond the influence of time and tide, psychic and other limitations, in view of the imagined absence of the same, or by the alternative imagination that there is no way of KNOWING such a possessor, because of imagined barriers: then the truth is for such extravaganzas excluded. This includes making this or that argument or supposition about ultimate reality.
Again, it is DOUBLY EXCLUDED from such a person in such a procedure, when availability and existence are both denied. It is then excluded both as to method and as to result as well, and talk is but air, and can logically be given the same credibility. It is a case of self-contradiction to affirm the truth, in such cases. When the self contradicts itself, none other need bother in this affair!
It is excluded in such a case, once for the explicit irrationalism or deficiency of procedure, trying to tell what is the absolute truth while asserting that it is not there - the method of exclusion of truth as a procedure; and once for the putative failure of a destination, even if it were rational, since it would need to get through to you, with your limits and vagaries, not to say motives and sins. It is a two-edged and bizarre exercise in confusion, in such a case, nothing more.
This leads us to the two-stage failure more grandly. In other words, knowledge of absolute truth is not necessary for awareness of the requirements of logical validity, and willingness to follow these; but if one REFUSES these, then one is excluded at the outset from rational argument. If one REJECTS by world-view, the objective validity of logic (either directly or by implication, by imagined insanity or other vanity, because of rupture of one's assumptions), then truth vanishes with validity from one's horizon. If further a person rejects a priori, ANY possessor of absolute truth, then such a person excludes its being found, so that all one's verbiage is self-condemned in advance. Then the face and the place are both denied, and the result is invalidation of what follows for such a proponent.
It is slant, perspective, thought moving in a vanity of exclusion, self-imposed. In this sense, it is possible to die twice: if you reject the objective validity of logic (instead of proceeding reasonably and finding the result), then you die once to truth; and if you reject the One who IS absolute truth and hence can communicate it at His will, then you die a second time to truth, and are doubly excluded.
What then ? If one DOES NOT refuse such things, does not lay down the law before action, however, then one is NOT excluded at the outset.
In this case, one is being rational and logical in proceeding to find what reason shows. It is important at this point to stress that this is not an account of conversion, but of the place of logic in demonstrating the truth of God.
Thus in reason, without such negative conceptions at the outset, a priori, a person may proceed reasonably. Whether, on such a method, this leads to absolute truth is in such a case to be seen, so that the enquirer can ascertain where reason directs; while it avoids the opposite, the effectual self-destruction of the mind as an instrument of directed thought, the price if one declines so to act, unscientifically worshipping invalidating models for no reason.
If then one does not so decline, but instead pursues what reason leads to, then such thought can be valid logically, so that one is in perfect logical order. It is only when one so finds the Bible, which is shown logically to be the only rationally possible and likewise necessary word of God written to this race, that absolute truth is opened as such (as demonstrated for example in SMR Ch.1,3,10).
Thus it is FOUND, and logic is FOLLOWED to it. It does not create it: it finds it. It finds it because it is there; and truth for man, in the Bible, is there because it is put there. In so doing, we find validated the reason that sought, in the prize obtained, the requisite word of the standing testable and verifiable, which if it were absent, would have invalidated reason. Being present, it congratulates and validates it, and with it, the result. God leaves nothing out, and does not instruct matter with its configuring laws, while leaving man a lawless piece of spiritual flotsam, expert in iniquity, hopeless in broiling, roiling follies of thought, word, work and fouled up communications, relationships and grisliness. Man is sick, as well as spiritual in function, grandly made as well as greatly fallen; in need of correction at the heart, and repentance in mind, turning back to his source for a service monumental, to his God for restoration.
There is a reason for everything. It - and indeed the Saviour of whom it speaks - may be found directly by faith; but we are considering logical validity in Christian Apologetics, not conversion per se. The response to the Biblical message is not the same thing as its existence and status. A person may find the Bible (and one remembers one student who did just this), find what reason shows, and then REJECT it on the ground the personal cost is too high! Apart from such action of will, however, all here is harmony: reason is reasonably followed, revelation is necessarily attested by reason (we find by doing it - cf. SMR Ch. 1), and this validates reason's action absolutely and its integrity generically.
Therefore, knowing the power and the purpose of God, relish it, rely on it, do not defy but delight in Him, the Rock of reliability and the ransom from ruin; for death is ruin, when it is given the last word, and then it is only the beginning. Reverse therefore and believe; receive and rely; start with GOD, not a godless model!