This is taken from one section of
Of the Earth Earthy, or Celestial in Christ
14: namely Ch.
IV TAKING THE WONDER OF THE INTEGRITY AND TRUTH OF GOD
and its PERSONAL PURVEY FROM THIS TEXT AND HEBREWS JOINTLY
A) It seems best first, now to consider the translation of Titus 1:2-3 more diligently.
Both the AV and the NKJ provide the sort of translation which includes the word
"which" as object of "promised"
and then proceed to "in due course manifested" with the object "His word" in such a style that in English idiom, you are left with
the scenario of "which" as apparent object of both "promised" and "manifested":
This first appears in the sense, if we follow these two versions: which God promised and has in due course manifested.
Then, one is faced with the perfectly astonishing phenomenon of translation, that the word "His word" comes as a SECOND object of manifested in the preceding WHICH God promised and has in due course manifested. In short, it appears to read: WHICH God manifested but which God has in due course manifested His word...
There is no indirect object; there is no additive, as if to state: which together with His word God manifested. As presented in these renderings, it is just the rather cacophonic format: WHICH God promised, but manifested His word.
Now you really need to clarify this. Is it which God promised, and has in due course manifested AS His word, as one translator has it rendered. Yet it does not SAY "as". It says which God promised, and has in due course manifested His word ... except that in the Greek, the verbal form CONTAINS the personal pronoun so that you have the option of spelling out that pronoun in English, if you want to do so. Thus, avoiding this idiomatic catastrophe, you have: Which God promised, and He has in due course manifested His word. This is clear and the precise original.
In passing we refer to Romans 16:25-26, given attention below, but far more in the following link.
Just as Paul continually reasoned in the synagogues that this Jesus was the Christ of the prophets, so this statement of manifestation of His word is not set at variance with the declaration of the prophets, but in consummation of their words*1, as in Romans 16:25-26. This has this word from the Lord:
to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel
and the preaching of Jesus Christ,
according to the revelation of the mystery
kept secret since the world began
but now made manifest,
moreover through prophetic Scriptures
according to the commandment of the everlasting God:
for obedience to the faith to all nations made known:
to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen."
(In the NKJV also, incidentally, there is displacement of some words and the result might seem almost turgid and a little unclear, but this rendering above seeks to avoid that. It is rather beautifully done in the main, in the Berkeley version).
Moreover, with its distinctive felicity and internal harmony, its precision without obtrusion, the scripture states NOT that it is "in its own appointed time" that it is so made known, but "in its own appointed times", plural, so that in its time here in Isaiah, there in David, here in Moses, here in earlier intimations it is made known, and preached to mankind. Yes Isaiah, the evangelical prophet, and David too, these were preachers in the sense of open proclaimers of the Gospel, though its payment for efficacy was yet to come, and its delightful and vivid focus, Christ Himself the Redeemer, was seen at first in vision, before in victory, calamitous to the devil, triumphant for the saints, eviscerative for sin, and with deliverance for those awaiting penalty.
Thus Paul is not saying ONLY TO HIM, did it come, not for example to Peter or to Isaiah; but it is COMMITTED to him, and he plans to be FAITHFUL with his own commission, yes and in Galatians 1, shows apostolic authority against all diversifiers who at any time, be they angels, or even himself should he deviate, and announces a curse on such a blight to the only hope and way to man! .
What do we then find ? The "appointed times" , special select times by divine judgment, these embrace all scripture that manifests the Gospel, but their apostolic mandate portrays the pinnacle, yes and if you will follow the figure, makes its topography definitive, its height (if it could have a height which is infinite in glory) specific and its location determinate, its speech express and guaranteed against all falsification and fraud.
Small wonder then that Paul instructs Titus that a heretic, one contrary to the apostolic teaching, when once and twice admonished, is to be rejected. What colossal pain and loss would the churches of the 20th century have avoided, had they followed this directive! and even now, what solace for their companionship, peace for their hearts and strength for their performance if they returned to such standards. Some have them; many fail and falter, not being faithful in this.
Using the fact that the term 'word' in the Greek, can mean what you mean, that is, your thrust as well as 'word', it seems best to convey the sense carefully, to use the translation suggested in red below, in this, that it leaves no way anyone can either wonder what it means, on the one hand, or fail to see the sense. The "manifested" gives the sense of putting the thing in His mind into our purvey, taking it from its abiding place and presenting it expressly, and the term "word" here conveys the sense of giving this very thing in verbal format, in expression as logos can signify.
What then ? To what He had lent promise, He now gave explicit expression in manifest form in the Gospel. That is what is being said. Thus with due care to preserve this precise sense, it could be rendered in this way.
§“Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s chosen people, and the sure knowledge of the truth which is in accord with godliness: in hope of eternal life. God, who is alien to all lying, promised this before time began; and so, in its own appointed times, He has openly shown what He has in mind, expressing it through preaching, entrusted with which am I (or , with which I stand entrusted), according to the commandment of God our Saviour:
"TO TITUS, my own son in terms of the common faith …"
In this presentation, the excellent suggestion of Weymouth, entrusted "am I" is a clever rendering of the sudden introduction of the "I" in the epistle. However, for those who find it slightly strained in our idiom, certainly the sense is well conveyed by "with which I stand entrusted". It has both the force and the dignity of the original. To capture the precise sense without straining our language (which really is not a translation) or allowing ITS idiom to force some slightly different sense into the words given for translation: these are dual aims which one has sought to fulfil in this rendering.
One last point is worthy of mention. It could be said that it would be more literal to render it, "which has been entrusted, I" and so it would be; it is just that it would not be a translation into ENGLISH! Again, one has rendered a "which" relative pronoun as a new sentence, where it appears as "this"; but this allows one to seek to give the precise sense of the beautifully apt and CONCISE Greek term, 'non-lying', with some care as to its sense, without prolonging the sentence beyond what Paul wrote, and so keeping the sense of his style.
As to "who is alien to all lying", this sums up the Greek term used with care neither to make it appear that it is precisely "who cannot lie", which it is not, though it is exceedingly close to it, nor simply that He DOES not lie, for it is much more than this. The character, nature, way of the One concerned is wholly directionally divergent from lying, His way diverse from it, other and contrary to it. This being so, the phrasing seems to convey it.
B) While the word in Titus is deliciously divorced from all lying, a perpetual discord with such a thing, a severe sundering of any company, there is another presentation to be found in Hebrews 6:17-18.
This is as follows:
"In this matter, God, desiring more abundantly to show to the heirs of promise
the unchangeable character of His counsel, interposed with an oath,
so that by two unchangeable things in which, as to God, it is impossible to lie,
we who fled for refuge might have strong encouragement
to grasp the hope which is set before us, which we have
as an anchor of the soul, both certain and sure, and
entering into the inner part of the veil, where that forerunner on our behalf entered:
Jesus, according to the order of Melchisedek. become high priest for ever."
Here we find a fresh impact on the issue of God's infinite divorce, distancing and divergence from the lie*2, the process, the actuality, the attitude, the atmosphere, the land, the way of lying. It was perfectly expressed to this effect in Titus as we have seen, but here there is yet further divulgement on this issue. First we find an enormous emphasis on the divine unchangeability. This has often been considered on this site, most recently in Marvels of Predestination Ch. 3.
Always aware of all things, and under nothing, sole author of all creation and other than this, having nothing but Himself, God is what He would be, and finds what He wants. Not within a system, not dependent on one, not dependent on anything within or without, unconstituted, uncontrived, uncomposed, beyond all intrusion, penetration and disposal, He simply is the Being which He is, without a character, a self, an inheritance, a set of limits, or anything else which is the assigned and express property of that which is endowed, endued, constructed or set in or part of any system: all of which for its own part, requires its own creator, so that the laws, the form and the functionalities should be specifiable in contrast to nothing, and given their causal ground which is sufficient for their composure, composition, contrivance.
Time with its requirements of patient waiting for what IS TO HAPPEN, is merely His invention and is a creature's domain, limit or embracement. He waits for nothing in Himself, and is thus always what He would be: there is nothing to find out, no potential to realise, for of whom is its placement!
It is with this background so firm, and it is as Paul cites in Romans 1:17ff. obvious that God is like this, once you remove your mind from the burden of the customary conceptions of created life to the domain of its sole Creator; and in Hebrews we now proceed to find that allied with this unchangeability is the impossibility that there should be lie in God. To lie is outré, outside actuality, a stranger to the spiritual reality which relates to the word of God. His oath merely confirms this yet further in this Hebrews case.
To have all that He does dependent on Himself alone, so that no requirement, nothing where power is inferior to desire or design so much as exists or even could exist, and then to counter-construct this with a verbal denial, opposition, requires a contrary character in the speech to what is in the deed, an alien expression relating to the construction, a phraseological fight against fact, and hence war within God as was shown impossible both in Marvels of Predestination Ch. 3 and in SMR as cited. There is nothing to gain, since all is His already; and thus there is only an EXPRESSION of what God is which can be back of His deed, both this and His word.
A divergence implies war, contrariety, disharmony, division, and hence a disparity between the executive and expressive arm or function, so that one limits the other. A limit however is precisely what is impossible for God: there is nothing He does NOT do because it is forbidden, that cannot be because of a limit which exists impelling, constraining or requiring Him so to act or so to speak. Denial then becomes self-denial, and this postulates a ‘self’ to be denied, other than God who does the denying. Suitable for creation with its inheritances, this is not credible for God. Who made such a self ?
Such a thing would require the limit-setter, who would be God, not this, which would then merely be a construction of the mind, at variance with reason and reality alike; and as we see here, contrary with emphasis to revelation as well.
What was in all respects satisfactory to Him, and done, would become in word what was not in all respects satisfactory to Him, yes this even to the extent that He would speak against it, being moved by nothing, and expressive of Himself alone. That self is thus seen divided, opposing itself, and hence a construction of the mind, for NOTHING can oppose God, whose word works, and whose works He depicts. Moreover, once again, it is with the normal scriptural felicity, the Greek in Hebrews 6 does not say GOD CANNOT lie, but that it is impossible, as to Him, to lie. It lies outside the prescriptive felicity and internal harmonies, realities and desires of God!
It is this non-lying (as Titus has it), this God whose word is in a liquid fire of truth, if you will suffer the analogy, who has declared the site of refuge for those who flee thus to Him: it is set as an anchor, Christ having furnished the bed for it, for the soul who comes in faith to HIM!
*1 See on this, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17, TMR Ch. 3 and for Isaiah, With Heart and Soul ... Chs. 4-7 especially, and on Psalms, Joyful Jottings 22-25.
*2 A short citation from Barbs, Arrows and Balms is given for ready expansion in this field. It is slightly adapted, and extended for this presentation.
Potency unchanged in the changeless
prescriptions of the changeless Christ
As for God, as demonstrated in Chapter 1, SMR, He is no grossly squirming, tormented molester of His works, creating them for deception while He acts out in their lives - the lives of His creatures - the restless inferiorities of His own nature. There being no inferiorities in His own nature, there is no restlessness, yearning or seeking or turning for the desired, but unattained: as we have already pointed out.
Here we must pause a moment to consider the godless character of such a conception, not merely to remind ourselves that it is excluded from logical possibility, for the Creator, but to consider the implications for those of this ilk who are creatures. Instead of realising potential with delight, growing with joy, achieving - with fulfilment of divinely composed task-equipment: people, through ambition or fear, may worry and weary out their folly in a defilement of the wonder of life... before, as here, seeking to project their own incompetent aspirations, impiously, impudently and irrationally onto their Creator. IN OTHER WORDS, people often harass themselves into a morass, a bog of folly, and then preposterously try to imagine their God is either as impotent or as impure as they. But let us revert.
There are, we said, no inferiorities or restless elements in the nature of God; this is to
affirm what we have reasoned in Chapter 1, as being clearly the case. To what would they be inferior ? To His own standards ? If so, then He would have instituted aspects, standards not in harmony with His capacities or will or both; so that there would be inability, instability and limits, constitutive limits, so that HE would be created: for how else would He receive such limits! Since He is NOT created, this One of whom we speak, such conditions and qualities are logically impossible for Him, a simple contradiction in terms.
To extract this or that from His creation, when to it has come ALL in its environment, internal and external, being and conditions, is a purpose twice illogical, if attributed to God. First, there is NOTHING THERE which he did not put in, including the system in which it all works. He would be extracting His input! Second, IF He needed something, or thought He did from His creation, to fulfil, complete, advance Himself, or whatever, then without the creation He would be inadequate, circumscribed, limited in Himself, qualitatively incompetent, incomplete, immature, undeveloped. But if THIS were so, then to God would be attributed the same conditions, limitations or growth phenomena, potential to actual, as we, being created, have as our gift, our dower, the manner in which we live. It would in that case be simply imagined that He was in a growth phase, in a deficiency mode, and would again simply require us to find HIS creator.
Since however it is of the creator that we speak, this simply means that this imaginative concept about His inadequacy, this also, is a contradiction in terms. What He is, He does, and to this opposes nothing, nullity its name...
for what can oppose Him! no self, and therefore no contrariness of the same, nor any
self-contradiction, for from what source does what opposes Him find itself the creation?
Or what will alter Him who is both changeless and omnipotent!
Or what consideration or mitigation is not already composed before action and what plan is
without its due refinement before release; and indeed what time can span Him or His actions
who made time, and is beyond its limitations!
Or what would contrive to contravene His deeds, assault His counsel, subdue His thought,
assail His actions, or manage to give utterance to assault on His name, by His word, in the
vexation of war, the penetration of negation! or what, spewed from nothing would obstruct,
for nullity has nowhere from which to send, nor yet anything to disperse!
Or what brakes hinder the progress of His determinate will ? for there is no variability, no
situation, no longing, no frustration, no hidden desire, no self-alienation for there is no self
or other character to direct Him in distinction from His own Spirit, or in dysfunction from His
desire: for of all these things there is no example, nor for them logically any possible place.
To God belongs power, capacity; and nothing at all limits Him in any way, whether conceived as internal resistance or external.
How aptly speaks the word of God on this point, and it is wise to consider it which is true:
"The cattle on a thousand hills...", He says, "are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is mine, and all its fulness."
Nor is there any question, in that supreme nature of God, of embattled or embittered psychic components, alert to project themselves into a quarrel with the texture of His creatures: there is no way His words will work against His deeds. For God, truth is as sure as His Being. For confirmation and pith, let us note again, the Scripture says: God ... cannot lie.
What glorious inability; what omnipotent incapacity!
How we learn the supernal nature of omnipotence!: it does not deny itself. If it did, it would not be omnipotent, but a writhing system, contorted in its set conditions: and set, one must ask, by whom? Only by God; and since this is He, then not set for Him.
He sets what He will and makes all what He would, there being no source or strength for any other action in despite of this. That is the nature of the Almighty, as we have seen at length. Necessarily the case, it is also given by revelation as we see.
So does God confirm with His word, the light which He has given us, the latter subordinate, the former inordinate, all harmonious.
We may add, for the sake of completeness, that it is also of necessity true that God is no experimenter, vivisecting His toiling creation - His pressured products - while gaining more knowledge for future divine exploits. He already knows all, as shown in Chapter 1. This is merely one sub-case of what has already been shown to be impossible.
Neither morally nor intellectually does God's very nature allow, then, alliance with lies. Accordingly, He has spoken His truth, His word, His remedy - provided His Redeemer to man, Jesus Christ, one infinitely pure, wholly efficacious. Creation is not a covert operation for divine growth, development, catharsis or deception. In confirmation, what does the Scripture say: God does "not willingly afflict the children of men'' (Lamentations ); "Thy word is truth'' (John ). It is good in this Chapter of John, to see this; as well as to reason to it, as we do and have done.
Yet there is more. God is lie-less, we have earlier shown; but truth also has in Him its only possible basis, an emphasis of Chapter 3, above. In fact, without God, truth does not exist. (Incidentally, this leads to the delightful absurdities that afflict the atheist - and as we see, the agnostic. If God did not exist, then, we would not truly say that He did not exist; for truth would not be available with which to say any such thing. No statement that He does not exist is logically possible even in terms of self-consistency. The atheist is at once in a bog of confusion.
II TIMOTHY 3:16
45) On II Timothy 3:16, see The Christian Pilgrimage ...Ch. 5 and Pall of Smoke and Diamond of Joy Ch. 8.
§Every scripture is God-breathed and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
"Given by inspiration of God" represents a sound option, if less direct in dealing with the original. I Corinthians 14:37 and 2:9-13 come to mind with their authority, as commands from God, and their precision, as formed and formulated, by God. Asinine indeed is any imagination that man can be wiser than the divine author, or can add his mortal breath to the divine inspiration; but is rebellion as well when this is asserted in the face of the divine declarations (cf. SMR Appendix D).
The Christian Pilgrimage Ch. 5 - excerpt.
LION THE SECOND
Now we find an altogether more delightful message. It comes this time from II Timothy 3:16. It is amazing how many significant 3:16 verses there are in the Bible, and here in Timothy is an excellent illustration.
In I Timothy 3:16, as we saw in the last chapter, there is one of the most beautiful, comprehensive and succinct references to the glory of God in the Gospel that one could wish to see; and here in II Timothy 3:16 there is the exposure of the status of the word of God in terms simple, express, explicit and sure, in summary and impactive form and formula. It is of no particular significance that his amazing numerical feature exists; the verses as such are not divisions in the original; but it does help the memory. Let us pursue, then, II Tim 3:16*3.
ALL SCRIPTURE, roars this tawny lion, IS GOD-BREATHED and PROFITABLE for DOCTRINE, for REPROOF, for CORRECTION, for INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Now obviously the apostle is not telling us of this absolute standard in order that we should not know what it is. He is NOT saying that all scripture, in the case where it is God-breathed (undefined therefore) is so profitable. That would be rather like saying that all petrol is good for cars, provided that its hydro-carbon content is *^% , where these terms are not defined. It would be an appallingly useless, undefined, inexpressive jumble of sound, of no value, useless communication, a joke.
The character of inspiration has not been left unknown by Paul in I Corinthians 2:9-13, where first, the revelation in substance is conferred on the apostle, and then the words which provide the verbal assimilation of the revelation, these two are provided. On this topic, see SMR Appendix D. Again in Psalm 119, again and again we find that ALL His testimonies are true, that they last for ever, are enshrined in heaven and such things, as shown in the above reference.
Again, the Greek simply states ALL SCRIPTURE GOD-INSPIRED AND PROFITABLE FOR TEACHING, then listing other features of this focus. The omission of the copula (is) is not unusual. There is no 'which' in the text, no designation of any division, let alone any second verb, which would again have to be added to make any sense of it at all – which is … is. There is no such clause.
If such a gate-crashing were to be followed, this would be adding not only three words but even a clause gratuitously, constituting a form of verbal aggression, with the erratic invasion of a thought from the heart of man to the mouth of God, so that to implant this in the text is merely adding to scripture (against Proverbs 30:6): thus making it trebly ludicrous as an attempt to ignore the fact that man is "live by every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). This is shown in Christ's dialogue with the devil, by its being absolutely final once cited, in the classic argumentation and confrontation. In the same way, in Acts 4:25, a given scripture is at once said to have come from God, in this way, "who by the mouth of Your servant David, has said..." What then ?
¨ It is solemn farce to act the ventriloquist when God is speaking, spluttering in one’s
own thoughts in His face, even acting as if to force one’s words between His lips.
Such is the audacity of disbelief, and the illustration of the need for the warning of the first lion,
in I Timothy 6. What is written is of another category than culture, than social nuances and desiderata of the flesh. What then is to be found in II Timothy 3:16 with all its allied topical utterances from the Lord in the Bible ? What does it teach about the biblical scripture ? Let us follow the text.
What was written is regarded as an absolute source and recourse, a citable matter of utter authority, without attenuation or mitigation, not a vexed question or a vague shadow in part or in whole. Would not the devil have said, But God has said ... and then put in some thoughts of his own, attributing them to God. Impossible since the word of God was WRITTEN already, so that Christ simply went on to make final demolition of every temptation with the word, "It is written." Or He might say, "It is written again...", thus signifying that SOME, indeed ANY word was final, with no countervailing element possible.
That written, declares Paul in I Tim 6, is profitable for instruction and in this case, for reproof. Any attempt therefore to subvert this clear revelation meets multiple contradiction at once, from the word of God; and further, it would be ludicrous to imagine that the apostle were saying this, All scripture which (not there, but added by the imagination) is inspired by God is A, B, C and so on. That would require one to add three things: the 'which', the first 'is' and the second 'is', a real party of intrusion. In fact, there is simply the quite common omission of the first 'is' in the rather proverbial fashion applicable. Adding to someone else's words fails to render them; it is merely a form of intrusive plagiarism: and we are here concerned with what is being said by the writer, not the reader!
ALL THE GOD-BREATHED SCRIPTURES, as elsewhere defined and here APPLIED, are then of this character. One would expect this since if GOD breathes them, WE should find them PROFITABLE when we want to teach the new Christian or the old, what HE WANTS, HOLDS and DETERMINES. Naturally such a source would provide such a result in terms of being profitable for righteousness and godliness, for who is more godly than God is Himself, or where is RIGHTEOUSNESS but in Him as its moral source and uttermost base!
Further, all scripture is profitable for CORRECTION. How could you correct if the source for correction were incorrect! or how correct if it were not even known, or how use a basis which was unbased, unclear or uncertain! Not so with Christ: one blast of the word of God written and even Satan was powerless. Again, all scripture is profitable for reproof; but how could you reprove if the basis of reproof were reprovable! Hence this lion is roaring: take it all, use it all, it is the basis, the blight for error, the standard for correction, the reservoir for instruction, the module for doctrine.
What it says is correct, clear, basic, assured, God-breathed and ipso facto God ordained, endorsed and provided. Just as departure from the word of God is most horrendous, that lion as we earlier saw roaring with a splendid organ-toned power, so the abiding in this word is wonderful, all of it, not some, all of the Bible in both testaments, not some, all that God has said, every word, not some of His words, whether one likes it or not, whether it hits favourite theories or not, whether it smacks one's hand when one ponders a possible course of action or not: IT IS PROFITABLE to correct, instruct, to show what is right, what is godly, what is rebukable.
THIS is what one would expect when the Maker of Man the Communicator, speaks to man the thinker, the one who engages in abstract thought, who makes rules, who has power to elect perspectives.
¨ Its tenor and severity is verification in KIND of the expectations from such a source. It is not a suggestion, any more than our DNA has suggestions.
¨ It is not a cultural offshoot, any more than 2+2=4 is a cultural offshoot, being rather a fundamental reflection in numbers of the divinely ordered creation.
¨ It is not variable, like the thoughts of some genius, often elevated, but sometimes appallingly poor (as when Einstein reputedly made a fundamental mistake on one occasion, yes and a simple one, where perhaps his preference was at stake cf. SMR p. 422D).
¨ It is clearly demarcated as contradistinct in authority and reliability from the words of mankind (cf. Jeremiah 23:28-29); divorced from error in its promulgations, with a refined care (cf. Christ's words on this in Matthew 5:17-20).
Further, and most wonderfully, it is expressly testable, and one is exhorted to consider this in RESULTS, as a scientist might ask of students, when they turn from his lecture to the laboratory! This is seen repeatedly in Isaiah in Chs. 41, 43, 48, and is altogether characteristic of the approach of deity in His word, to the witless wanderings, the thoughtful self-elevations and the capricious foolishnesses of man, who wants to assert himself and in so doing, is about as wise as a moth, asserting itself in the mouth of a lion.
The LION HAS ROARED, as Amos puts it, who will not fear! (Amos 3:8). "Surely," he was saying, "Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets."
How He has done this as in Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 32, Isaiah 42, 49-55, as in Psalm 2, 16, 22, 102, as in Jeremiah 25, as in Micah 3, 5, as in Zechariah 11-13, as in Zephaniah, in Hosea, in Amos and all the prophets! Alas for Israel, but her end approaches which is full of good things as well as exposure of the ungodly (Romans 11 cf. The Biblical Workman Ch. 1, *3, and Ch. 3 *1, SMR Appendix A). How does Micah 7 sketch that end, with Deuteronomy 32 and Romans 11! Already its preliminary events have stretched themselves luxuriously like a cat in the sun, in the lifetime of this author, in their amazing intricacy and prophesied detail (cf. SMR Chs. 8 - 9).
It is wise to hear the lions in their roaring, both lion I and lion 2, and to realise that this is not brute force, but beautiful sovereignty, that of the God who IS love, and whose protestations are GIVEN IN LOVE, that man might live more abundantly, not in the dives of political careering and career-making, philosophical vacuities, irrational premises and hideous ineffectual promises form the premises of mere arbitrary flesh.
Alas for the world, for more and more it moves into this sphere, where the roaring of the lion being ignored, the raw mess of its headstrong precipitancies becomes a stench, rather than mere malodour.
That, however, that too, you would expect it: it is what the world does with itself, ignoring the word of God; and the results are predictable as now they are predicable! This, it is verification as always, however sad, however grievous and however needless. How wise to listen to the roaring of these TWO LIONS!
See for II Timothy 3:16, also Pall of Smoke and Diamond of Joy Ch. 8.
Pall of Smoke and Diamond of Joy Ch. 8 - excerpt.
TIMOTHY AND TIMES
Timothy shows some things to the point here. In the first Chapter, I Timothy, we hear what the world is desirous of being deaf to, and hence makes so much noise (as well as for sundry other reasons). The LAW of God is STILL in OPERATION, despite the antinomian antipodes to the Bible, the virtual moral lawlessness, aggravated by mere dictation; and it remains the divine direction, despite the increasingly obvious secular hypothesis that each man is god, which seems attractive to some, until ALL men become desirous, and then the LEADER of men thinks it good to REPRESENT them and then COMMANDS them, and the results are as far from their being gods as the reality! Sin is by its very nature, deceptive.
Thus, further, when what is NOT GOD (Deuteronomy 32:21) becomes arrogant enough, politically, diplomatically, ecclesiastically, to PRETEND that it is (II Thess.2), adjusting words the while, then it is so sick and sodden in sin that the stuff squelches through its very shoes, and man and his representative will so grow to be even further from God, than merely being created in His image, as man was made at the first.
Now let us be aware. It
is NEAR to God to be created without sin, in His image: in the sense that
fellowship is possible, wonderful, and the Creator is
marvellous beyond all description like a sunset, though of course you can
with Paul in I Timothy 1 too, say
"eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God".
It is not that God is not clear; it is rather that He surpasses without lacking
clarity, because His love is of a tenderness and a
height and depth, like His peace, which passes knowledge (Ephesians 3,
Philippians 3). He is not AT ALL unknown to those know Him, but as to His depths
of peace, love and comprehension, it is like the ocean waves for a swimmer,
which go on amazingly, in breadth and depth, though they are perfectly clearly
oceanic, blue and green, surging, vast.
This is the ONLY way in
which the knowledge of God is (though it is proclaimed to BE eternal life to
know God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent - John 17:3) past comprehension. Its
sheer majesty, though the character of the Eternal God is most conspicuous,
comprehends infinitidue, and makes it seem small,
for all number in our universe, all series, all procedure, is likewise His
for His omniscience,
faithfulness, goodness and mercy, love, graciousness,
His slowness to anger, His power and perception insurpassable,
with justice and righteousness the very foundation of His throne:
comprehensive, directive, liberty creating,
pride abasing, the only God,
declarative, covenantal in procedure,
presenting His written and living word,
the former the Bible,
the latter His only begotten Son,
when necessary exceedingly dramatic,
evocative, provocative to sin, ultimate in judgment ...
one could go on for a volume perhaps in this way. It is just that WHEN you know
Him, and it is a real, vital, precise and articulable
knowledge, you realise that His everlasting to
everlasting magnificence, His lovingkindness, His
peace are not of this or that order, but infinite.
personal, He is without actual or assignable limit;
clearly self-declaring, He is more and more of what He declares,
like mountain ranges that go on,
known, yet magnificent in their abundance.
So it is. HE delimits the words (the Bible), and they describe Him: we who are His children by faith through Christ, know Him: for that is what is essential and even definitive of being a Christian, IN the scope of His sovereign Son and declarative word, the Bible, as a man knows his friend. We know as one knows the morning dew, the evening twilight, the thrust of Spring, the cool of evening in the body and mind, but know as PERSONAL, VITAL and providing personal interchange.
Now this is in the area of what Timothy declares in Ch. 1:16ff., or rather, let beware of too ready metonymy, what Paul in the epistle to Timothy declares. Indeed it moves in the arena of I Timothy 3:16, where the apostle makes the incarnation aspect equally clear, on which we have already touched:
"God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory."
"Before Abraham was, I AM..." is Christ's personal signature, as likewise in Revelation 2:8, allied with Isaiah 44:6, you find it prophetically again, 'the first and the last".
In I Timothy 6:16, thirdly, you see that other aspect, the never ending magnificence of God, so that in the incarnation the declaration can be definitive (as in Hebrews 1:3), and we can know Him, without ever exhausting His splendour, or His splendour ever varying (as in James 1:17, ,Hebrews 13:8).
What then in 6:16 ? This: "Who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honour and everlasting power. Amen." Ally that with John 1:12 and you have it. By grace self-revealing, by incarnation in human format, is the One who is in His own form, light unapproachable.
All this hullabaloo about man and community and the united nations and anything else that is contrary to sound doctrine in its repeated aspirations and many declarations: it is beside the point. It is pointless. In the end, it will be merely disappointing, for it was never appointed.
Then, let us look further, fourthly, to II Timothy 3:16, where we find that ALL Scripture is given by God-breathing, through inspiration, and is profitable for teaching, edification, instruction. It is not saying that all of what we do not know, is of this character; it is saying that the category which is known, famous and delivered, scripture, is of this type, and hence applicable (as in I Cor. 2:9-13, Matthew 5:17-20, Revelation 22:18-19, Isaiah 8:20, Psalm 119 repeatedly, Galatians 1, and implied in Titus 1:9 - and see SMR Appendix D).
Paul is NOT advising people that if they can ever find the jolly thing, and Good Luck! they will find it of this eminent and ineffable character. He is rather saying that since it is clear what it is, famous as in Psalm 119, Isaiah 8:20, 59:21, then it is important to use it with this in mind. It is not a space controller in Cape Canaveral telling the astronauts that if ever they get to hear anything at all on the communication channel, and are clear whose it is, then good luck to their endeavours! then that is it. That is meaningless. The word of God is not meaningless (Proverbs 8:8), but commanded (John 12:48-50). It is well to obey. Space is kindly compared with wilfully flouting righteousness and avoiding mercy! (cf. Hebrews 12:25, 10:31).
Thus Timothy lays down
the law, or Paul does so! categorically in I Timothy
1, and supplies these other features of foundations, in other parts of these two
marvellous epistles, given from God.
As he says, what he speaks is to be taken as commanded from God (I Cor. 14:37). It is not a suggestion or a surmise!
But let us return to the law in Timothy 1. Foolish talk mounts on the topic, Paul indicates here. But the fact is, the apostle under the inspiration of God, declaims, that the law is FOR WRONG DOERS: whether sodomites or whatever. That contravenes the spirit of our Age, which like Sodom is asking for, and WILL GET its come-uppance for its wildly imperious folly, on such topics, when judgment sits and the thoughts of men are exposed, like cancers and leprosy in many cases. How ? Why ? GOD HAS SAID, that is how and why, and this specific point is found in I Timothy 1:10. But whatever the nature of the offence, be it ungodliness, murder of fathers, profanity of whatever kind, there is one answer: IT IS AGAINST THE LAW OF GOD which CONTINUES without limp or latch key, to be what it is, insurmountable, indispensable, ineluctable. IF you want this sort of thing, it is AGAINST you, says the apostle in I Timothy 1:
"knowing this, that the law is not made for the righteous person, but for the lawless ... for sinners, for the ungodly ... for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars... and if there is any other thing which is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust."
It is simplicity itself when you believe and follow Him.
IF you love, you WANT to
follow, and HENCE WANT to know His will, which does NOT alter morally, though
ceremonial sacrificial elements are fulfilled
(Hebrews 8-10). You are COVERED as His, LOVING as His, and hence earnestly
desire to follow His will, His word, His law. With David and Abraham, you are
justified by faith (Romans 4:24ff., 5:1, Psalm 32),
already; but with them likewise, you are God-fearing as Peter requires so
wisely (I Peter 2:17), and God ?
He does not change (Malachi 3:6, Psalm 102:26ff.).
Do not therefore confuse SALVATION with SANCTIFICATION (I Thessalonians 5:23ff.). Faithful, says the apostle there, is He who calls you who also will do this. Grace saves; love insists on sanctity. It was always so from the first dealings of grace. It does not alter (Romans 4). The power is supplied (Matthew 28:20, Ephesians 1:19, II Peter 1).
The last days, in Timothy, says the apostle Paul, have various criteria (and he spells them out, as if a newspaper NOW! in I Timothy 4, II Timothy 3 and so on), and low estimates of what is written are to be among them, people being supercilious, tending to mere forms of religion, not knowing its power, consciences seared as with a hot iron, forbidding to eat meat, marriage and the like (as has long gone on, but had to appear in the TOTAL CONSPECTUS of the OTHER signals in simultaneity, for the end to be shown "NEAR").
BUT when you belong to
the Lord, keeping your lamp burning, not IN ORDER to be saved, but BECAUSE you
are saved (as in Matthew 25:1-10, Ephesians 2:8, Titus 3:5ff.), being, if you
want to change the imagery, fruit-bearing BECAUSE good trees, and not vice versa
(as in Matthew 7), and good trees not because naturally good (like having
naturally 'curly hair', if you want analogy for that), but BECAUSE PLANTED BY
GOD (Isaiah 61, Matthew 15:13): THEN there is a RESULT. It is to give attention
to His word as to love letters, as to the sunset, as to the mountains, the
marvels in peaking summitries of dash and daring, bare-headed among the clouds,
which themselves move mysteriously and with wonder.