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Chapter 3


Life for Persons:

Leave the Programmatic to Computers


Walking, Working and Not Wandering
The Victory of Grace and the Grace of Victory


There has been a huge amount of attention in recent years in some church circles, on being born again. It is not untrue, far from it; but it has tended to be added, contrary to liberal ideas, and while that is good, it has also tended to become a feature so vast as to diminish the phenomenon of growth in grace and in knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ as prescribed by Peter (II Peter 3:18).

Accordingly, many have become a virtual law to themselves, despising such a thing as authority, or textual care in exposition, and making opinion lord, feeling fact and a featureless emotion-filled lordliness to assume the power to determine all things. One recalls one person who could scarcely conceive that ANYONE would THINK of differing with scriptural grounds exposed, with any vigour. It appeared axiomatic to her that one held opinions and that was that. Pastors were cushions for comfort, but as to exhorting, rebuking as Paul prescribes (II Timothy 4:2), it appeared unthinkable, like a man from Mars.

While pastors and elders are certainly not to be lordly (I Peter 5:1ff.), they do have an office, and the word of God is not a mere resource in which one can rest one's weary mental limbs, and choosing tea or coffee, ignore the spread provided. We must GROW in KNOWLEDGE, not in self-will or domains of undisciplined thought. The word of God rules; it does not suggest. God is Lord, not convener.

It is the word of God itself which must rule, all of it; and when being BORN AGAIN is all, or virtually all, then of course the idea of actually growing UP spiritually, acquiring grace and understanding and illumination and gaining more and more systematic scriptural grasp, applying the ways of God from the word of God with vigour and address, this becomes an oddity. Yet as in all birth, growing up is integumental to reality. Life DOES grow. It is only God who does not! We are children of God, not lords of life.

Let us then examine some of the Biblical texts on WALKING, on vital action on a customary basis with the God of all power and comfort, those which presupposes strength and an ambulatory technique: getting on with direction and purpose, with wisdom and traversing territory on our way. After all, this is ONE of the verifications of the word of God, that it works! ONE of the fields in which it works is that of the personal life of the man or woman or indeed child of God.

First, let us consider the phrases in which walking occurs, relative to life in the presence of the living God, and garner the thematic stress, the scope and the wonder of it all.

Then, we may ponder the path of Romans 7-8, and apply this background the more completely to the issue of VICTORY by faith. As this involves power with wisdom, going with grace, control with kindness, it is no mere exemption from this or that, though there are many pointed outcomes; it is an entire grace and goodness which works in life, with a spiritual power.

It is personal, since God is personal, just as it imbues the recipient with an image-conforming dynamic towards Christ-likeness, because Christ is risen from the dead.

A great nerve-specialist living is very different from one dead, and many would seek him; and the Great Physician, readily demonstrable as resurrected*1A, is confirmed yet more as such,


by what He does,


whether in healing of the mind,


of bodies,


of transformation of spirit


or inspiration of heart,


in guiding history to fulfil the very precise specifications which He announced
(cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Ch. 8),


or in bringing this world to that precise state of disarray and disgrace,
morally, ethically, nationally, racially, murderously in the millions and spiritually
which is the due and predicted consequence
of His absence from the hearts of those whom He made
before coming as Jesus Christ to this earth,
which is the negative confirmation.

What does 'negative confirmation' mean ?
It is a positive verification in the realm of the negative in which this world accordingly
currently wallows!

Naturally, there is no way the natural, the created, can become more than godly, since God is infinite, and it is as a child of God that one is to act; but through the Cross of Christ, there is a way in which one may be made not less! One may be conformed more and more in character to that of the Christ who as the very Word of God become  man for man. One may thus be moulded increasingly towards the image of Him who created mankind in the first place, who made man, that prodigious  yet polluted creation,  in the divine image.

This is the course of the redeemed, the way of godliness and the provision of God. So far from forgetful, has He been, that He has foretold His coming in precise detail, come, done the work of salvation, been resurrected after performing manifold feats of healing and resurrection, left  this world to return when His  Gospel has inundated it (Matthew 24:12), and signified the conditions which will obtain when He does return. He has provided peace for the restless, savour for the bored, brilliance for the chosen receptacles for such service,  and patience and grace for His people. Instead of being passionate to tamper  with God, this world's way as it seeks divine honours eventually for itself or its chosen antichrist, it and all in it have been given opportunity to do something very different.

In fact, now for two millenia,  there has been the scope of salvation, the plan for peace and the rest for the weary, the strength for living and the grace for goodness, provided freely and to be sure, often indeed it has been implemented, and the entire British Empire had this basis, in whatever errors it may have been caught, such as the concept of a national Church for all citizens with government rule.

Yet the taste of truth is now increasingly lost, the vigour for virtue is being sundered as if the landing gear were being torn off, and the populations of this world are moving to that fateful combination of myth and fraud, embezzlement not only of money by many government leaders in many countries, but of truth with the return, the pittance of illusory imaginations. The time to return to the God of creation is passing like a fine Summer's day in this land, around 8 p.m.. It has been wonderful, but darkness is the next step; and since God is in control, the better word is judgment.

After all, if the way that works is not taken, then the other option as the Bible stresses and has done for 3 thousand years, is the way of lying. Avoidance of truth has this biblical name and you see it written large in I John.

Suppression of truth and living by impressions that appeal has its place; but it is in the dock.

Instead of truth, passionate folly is constantly being paraded. There come ludicrous myths about nothing making something and something of one kind acquiring the gifts to make something far above it, which all come to the point of having something for nothing, altogether or in kind*2. It is like one given a million dollars trying to proclaim that these come every now and  again, forgetful that the notes involved are easy to handle, but meaningless without the entire system of finance and trust on which they are based. Similarly, this world is easy to handle, though men mess it up continually through reckless of religion and faith and heart; but its institution is entirely different, and that it takes unbounded power for one like man to be made personally operative, by the institution of his tripartite mind, body and spirit ensemble in integral functionality (cf. SMR Chs. 1, 3, 5 and *2 below).

Failure to receive truth leaves no other sound options. What does unbelief do in a person ? It can become disgustingly arrogant with power, hideously vain with 'accomplishment' without considering its spiritual quality, wilful in life's direction, soulfully rapt in its own wonders or disasters, mutinously rebellious, bloodthirsty like the militant Moslems, or the Communists, or the Inquisition, waffling in incredible nebulosities like New Age*3, resigned in grief or encompassed with Aids, as many are in Africa, recklessly pretentious while vastly unjust, like the United Nations*4 ... This is but a few of the displays; for there are any number of diseased options which will soon become deceased ones,  as this world rockets not to its launching pad, but to due judgment.  Its judgment of the Jew is merely one of these!*5.

Leaving that turmoil, one does well to look at the confirmed, validated, verified truth*6.

That this same Jesus is


the incarnate Christ,


no mere luminary, but


one so that there is none in the heavens like Him,


the precise image of the everlasting God,


eternal, with the fulness of deity His infinite nature*7,

is no mere theological doctrine. Moreover it impacts intimately in our theme.

It means that in being saved from sin, as a child by a life-saver in the tides of the ocean, one meets the God of creation, and no surrogate; and thus despite sin, man may both meet and know God. Knowing Him is a vaster experience than any oceanic grandeur or mountainous glory. Being changed from glory to glory according to His likeness (II Corinthians 3:18), and  yet as a child having liberty in the Lord, this is re-generation, a creation in itself; and though it is bringing one back to where one came from, the hand of the Maker, it has additional features.

Thus Adam was with God, but on probation; while the redeemed are with God also, but in addition are immune to reprobation because as Romans 5 puts it, if God saved us when we were yet sinners, how much more will we be saved from wrath by Him.

Let us put it in Paul's very words:

"For when we were still without strength,
in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die;
yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us,
in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us.

"Much more then, having now been justified by His blood,
we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
For if when we were enemies
we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son,
much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

"And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have now received the reconciliation."

It is the same in one aspect, with that coming regenerative work which God has foretold is to come to many in Israel, as in Romans 11:25ff., Ezekiel 37. Deuteronomy 32. Indeed, from the last-named,  Paul quotes relative to coming events for that land. This indicates that it is when Israel is without strength (Deuteronomy 32:36), when it faces stark ruin, that God will act for its deliverance with a power which will be nothing short of divine! As in Micah 7:15, it will have that celestial magnitude, that divine grace which was shown to Israel in the Exodus (cf. Downfall from Defamation Ch. 4).

That is one phase of this vast celestial program for this terrestrial orb.

Similarly, for anyone who comes to Christ, even where there is no national aspect, or military, there is the same covenantal power of grace to fulfil itself in love. When the strength of the psyche is no more trusted in, when the power of one's own nature is no longer the be-all and end-all, when one seeks God because of need, because of His grace, when one seeks pardon as treasure and peace as life, when one seeks God through His covenant in the Cross of Christ: it is then in repentance that one finds realisation, it is then that reality itself and Himself imbues the spirit, it is then that divinity acts on humanity to beget one new child, a child of God (cf. Romans 8:16, Titus 3:5-7, John 3 and see SMR pp.520ff.).

It is then, in turn, that there is found the extreme grace of the work of the Spirit of God, for God is a trinity (cf. SMR pp. 532ff.). Then comes that nurture, that empowering in peace, that grace with gumption, that courage with kindness, that pity with training and that comfort with control, that liberty with love which is the very acme of human life. It is found in the name of Christ, in the confines of His covenant (for the way IS narrow), but in the grandeur of His presence (cf. II Cor. 3:17-18), who is the God of all comfort, and deliverance (II Timothy 4:17-18, II Corinthians 1:3-4,10).


"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our tribulation,
that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble,
with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

"For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us,
so our consolation also abounds through Christ.
Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation,
which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer.

"Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
And our hope for you is steadfast,
because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings,
so also you will partake of the consolation.

"For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren,
of our trouble which came to us in Asia:
that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength,
so that we despaired even of life.

"Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves,
that we should not trust in ourselves
but in God who raises the dead,
who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us;
in whom we trust that He will still deliver us..."

Paul then acknowledges the work of their prayers for Him.

First, then, our domain is that of walking in the Lord, acting in His presence, living in His direction, confined to what is narrow, yet abounding in a grandeur incomparable, in the power of One with an indomitable Lord, one willing to adopt the format of man, to be begotten of a virgin, to exhibit the wonder and power of God as a man,  to die on the Cross, able to be resurrected from the tomb on the prophetically prescribed day*8!

It is a thrilling, sometimes a painful, but a glorious condition in which to be found, grounded in grace. It has all the adventure of reality, and all of its finality.

In one respect, it is like the train-line through the Rocky Mountains in Canada, from Vancouver to Banff. Narrow ? exceedingly. Yet is not the grandeur incomparable, and are not the very limits the means of abundance and generosities of participation which come in no other way ? The journey is available, but it is not enough to imagine it; you need to become a passenger yourself.





1) Romans 4:12, 2) Romans 6:4, 3) II Corinthians 10:3, 4) II Cor. 12:18 

The first: Walk in the steps of Abraham - a faith with both temporal and eternal results, the one taking time, the other receiving eternity.

The second: Walk in newness of life. Do not walk as if still an embryo (very limiting - while you cannot wander in the womb, you cannot go far either). So live, think, act and decide as one regenerate with spiritual values, objectives and ethics, with the power that comes from the God of regeneration, and the purposefulness, and the point of it all, love from a pure heart, a clear conscience and from sincere faith (I Timothy 1:5).

The third: Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war in the flesh ... Spiritual war is our affair, not mere bloodshed; for our weapons and way are spiritual (Ephesians 6). Thus, in II Corinthians 10:5,  Paul is casting down not bodies but 'imaginations' and bringing everything into subjection, not to himself or his junta, but to the obedience of Christ. THIS is the aim, beyond ourselves, under God.

The fourth: Did we not walk in the same spirit ? Here Paul is appealing to the consistency of his unselfish and sacrificial service; and it is important that all of us have such a testimony to back our ways. I will very gladly, said Paul, spend and be spent for your sakes!




1) Galatians 5:25, 2) Ephesians 2:10, 3) 4:17-18

In the first, if we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Life is more than experience. It is also a matter of cogitation, action and result. If then your spiritual life is active, and not a merely nominal and formal thing, it will not rest in idle thought, but be found forming works of action. Even in the very midst of emphasis on being saved by faith through grace, Paul insists that the RESULT of work, be not missing. Graciousness and goodness is needed: in Christ’s people, the flesh is crucified. Thus, similarly,  Titus 3:5-7 on the basis, is followed by v. 8 on the result!

In the second, we find this: we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus or good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should WALK IN THEM. HE regenerates us, and then provides the way for the life which works and walks, for Him. Ephesians, with Galatians and Isaiah and the Psalms,  is perhaps the most grace-emphatic of all the word of God, yet here we have this inseparable companion: He who predestines not only works out for us our place in grace for ever, but the walk in grace that accompanies it. It is necessary constantly to seek this governance and guidance from Him, as from the captain of the ship, who knows!

In the third, Paul instructs us that we should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind. Their understanding is darkened, alienated from the life of God, because of their intrinsic ignorance, of the blindness of their heart, Paul states. Your walk, manner of life and progress should be as far from this as light from darkness. This is a test, a challenge and an encouragement, with comfort, for we are all to meet the fires of test, and walk in the light as He is the light.



1) Ephesians 5:2,  2)  Colossians 2:6,   3) Colossians 4:5

In the first, we are instructed to walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, a sacrifice of sweet-smelling aroma. Not lust, but love; not unbridled desire, but duty; not overflow of lava but paths through pastures of peace, this is the nature of it, we find, as we move through the next few verses. Where mental or spiritual uncleanness rules, idolatry or grasping desire, we are not even to be partakers (5:7). That of course involves a Church change, for many, just as a beginning.

In the second, we are warned not to be deceived by 'persuasive words', such as the culture spits out like an oral machine gun, into the populace, with its dismal debates and blind controversies. Vain philosophy is deceptive: avoid it. Thus, as you have RECEIVED CHRIST, SO WALK IN HIM, says the apostle Paul. The reception is for onward dynamic as well as established status. In Christ is your paragon, your priority and your power. Use it, be propelled into action in and for Him, consistently with His commands, knowing that the contrary currents which try to overflow your path are to be expected, resisted and left mere reminders of former  things, inept and vanquished. In Him is the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form!

In the third, we are told to WALK IN WISDOM toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.  This is allied with continuing earnestly in prayer, and seeking that the Lord open for Paul "a door for the word". This pastor would appreciate the same prayer, and that for many others who need the opportunities to spread the word of God, meet the needy with this fare and speak as we ought to speak, boldly for Christ.

There is in all these things a SPIRIT. The Holy Spirit imbues the Christian, and his or her own spirit is thus moulded (II Cor. 3:18) in liberty (3:17), which is an adjunct of love. In the school, we hear of 'school spirit', the sense of belonging and not only being nurtured by but bringing nurture to the school, and co-operating with zeal and zest with the aims. In Christ, there is a spirit to the enterprise, one of zeal and love, care and concern, watchfulness and grace, freshness and purpose, goodness and mercy, and it is in this spirit that one works. It is this spirit which is to be seen, shown and valued. We are to be thus minded, moulded and dynamised, as we walk in the Spirit, even that of God.

This makes for progress, not regress; and this, unlike the all too visible “progress” of this world, is towards the beauty of holiness in the garden of grace.

In the third, we are told to WALK IN WISDOM toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.  This is allied with continuing earnestly in prayer, and seeking that the Lord open for Paul "a door for the word". This pastor would appreciate the same prayer, and that for many others who need the opportunities to spread the word of God, meet the needy with this fare and speak as we ought to speak, boldly for Christ.

There is in all these things a SPIRIT. The Holy Spirit imbues the Christian, and his or her own spirit is thus moulded (II Cor. 3:18) in liberty (3:17), which is an adjunct of love. In the school, we hear of 'school spirit', the sense of belonging and not only being nurtured by but bringing nurture to the school, and co-operating with zeal and zest with the aims. In Christ, there is a spirit to the enterprise, one of zeal and love, care and concern, watchfulness and grace, freshness and purpose, goodness and mercy, and it is in this spirit that one works. It is this spirit which is to be seen, shown and valued. We are to be thus minded, moulded and dynamised, as we walk in the Spirit, even that of God.

This makes for progress, not regress; and this, unlike the all too visible “progress” of this world, is towards the beauty of holiness in the garden of grace.




Now let us see from Romans 7-8, the challenge that is so choice that it is more intriguing than chess, more demanding than successive hurdles, more humbling than climbing glowing peaks, more thrilling than galloping, more delightful than surfing, more effective than building towers and more personal than even the friendship of one's peers and associates. It is the very challenge of life, of eternal life, of living and walking in the Spirit of God, of association in development and service with the Son of God. There is nothing brassy about the victory which is the inheritance of the Christian in personal living for God. You can see that in the Psalms, including Psalms 42, 51!

Yet there is as in a ship's voyaging, through all the waves and billows, all the storms and tossings, an underlying peace and an intimate grace which passes the provisions of flesh completely, and yet is not unwilling to deal with it. In this way, man grows and moves and matures, like an oak well-founded, with the seed of an oak; for in regeneration is the new basis, in Christ is the gracious power and in His Spirit is its application.








The Defeat that is the Antithesis of Romans 8:13


Amongst the principles which Paul describes is that of Romans 8:13.

"If you live according to the flesh, you will die;
but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body,
you will live.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."

The 'body of death' as used by Paul in Romans 7:24, refers to the 'flesh' or that potentially independent and sometimes grossly misled agency which is our own, some even being capable of becoming aspirants for autonomy, and as to that, even consciously so! The area is the same, in effect, as that indicated by the term 'carnal' in Romans 8:7-8. Empty of God, it is full of itself and its chosen clients! or even burdened with unwelcome guests.

Romans 7:5-6 makes it clear that the term 'letter' in this arena refers to, and is metonymic for 'law', just as in II Corinthians 3:6. “Serve in newness of spirit,” it says, “not oldness of letter.” “The letter kills,” says Paul.

That does not mean that the word of God is deadly or that it is indifferent to perform it or not (cf. to the contrary John 14:21-23, where in fact such zeal is parallel to love for Him). It means on the contrary, that the law kills, that the commandment, as Paul puts it in Romans 7:10, which was to bring life, brought death; for in arousing through sin in the heart of a man, the desire for what it prohibits, instead of releasing, its distortion through sin inhibits! Keep off the grass! Ah, says the child, a walk on the grass, what a delightful idea ...

If you live in this 'flesh' or autonomy sort of enterprise, this cut-off condition, this dynamic of selfishness in the extreme sense of being for and of your self and its surrogates, its choices for its sufficiency, be these evil spirits, devil or simply intellectual, physical or moral pride: then you die. It is in fact a smell of death that arises, as flesh arouses itself to its diverse passions, pre-occupations or presentiments. It is a species of life, which from the point of view of design and actual potential where it belongs, is indistinguishable from death.

Thus in Romans 7:7-8, Paul describes it dynamically:

"What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not!

"On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law.
For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said,

'You shall not covet.'

"But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law,
but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died."

If, then, says Paul in Romans 8:13, you live "according to the flesh," then you will die! What else ? For in that case, your heart has to be with your head to enable the process of the life of the dead, the mortal equivalent of death while you live, that species of evacuation of what life is about which allows the shell, form, format or coat to continue when the inward reality is gone.




The alternative then ? It is this. "If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." "The body" here of course, as with 'flesh' is not only the physical, but the 'body of death' of Romans 7, so that the man cries out for deliverance as his will is diverted and aborted, by his deeds of whatever kind (Romans 7:15-21). It is the same in II Corinthians 7:1, where uncleanness is as well of spirit as of body! What is unclean is not merely what is diseased, as in leprosy, or delinquent, as in sexual shame, but idolatrous or spuriously ambitious: it involves sins of the spirit in its own domain, and that found not merely in faulty applications.

You put to death what is independent of God in its view, perspective or action. How ? It is "by the Spirit". How is this done ? By faith, it may be accomplished. In what way does this faith work in such an instance ? By promises made by God, it works. What promises ? It is by promises such as that in II Peter 1, where we are assured that we are given in Christ all things necessary for godly living; and indeed this very thing is specified in terms of great and precious 'promises'. Similarly in John 8, Christ declares that sinning makes one the servant of sin, but that if the Son should make you free, you will be free indeed. It is the same principle.

If then it is promised, and it is promised to faith, for without faith one cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6), whereas by faith mountains may be moved (Mark 11), and all things are possible to him who believes (Mark 9:23): then it can be done.

How can it be done in practical terms ? How does faith 'work' ? It works as does the leg when it is required by the mind to act. How is that ? There is a facility for the mind to envisage, the spirit to call, the nerve to transmit, the muscle to respond and the array of suitable muscles in view, tendons and various forms of flesh, to co-operate so that the thing happens. It is designed, its paths are designated, it is dynamised, it is motivatable by mind, and activated by flesh. One does not have to be the Creator in order to USE what He has made. One does not have to build a car in order to drive one ...

What then does faith DO ? It acts. When it finds the flesh creeping, cavilling or even with effrontery making a frontal sortie on the life, it notes the fact, calls on the equipment, and having need of power as well as motivation, EXPECTS a response adequate, just as one does when one 'asks' one's leg to move, say up some tortuous hill, even if it is tired.

It is no great thing to have one's leg actually move; it is so made that when so called on, this is its norm. It is a great thing when one by faith calls on the Lord to act, since He is not part of one; but it is for all that, reliable and according to design. In this case, the design is that of the covenant, the covenant in His blood (Matthew 26), by which sin being pardoned, life is granted, the very life as created by God in the first place. Now moreover, it is indwelt, that is, it has a resident overseer who is willing to act. In this way, one term for the Holy Spirit is the paraklete, the one called alongside, like a parachute in the case of falling, like a trainer, like a coach, like a doctor, like a friend.

Christ in you is the hope of glory, we read in Colossians 1:27; and in John 15, Christ shows Himself as a vine in which each Christian as a branch, inheres. In this case, one would postulate that the Holy Spirit would be represented by the sap.

But what if the flesh is weak ? or to translate, what if one's will is clear, but one's determination wavers; or what if one is determined and resolute to the nth degree, but some invidious lack-lustre moment allows evil to raise its flag ? In that case, one must pray for strength and fidelity. If the limb called on to climb that last crest has a distinct or even painful preference for rest, one may accede to its unwritten but clear desire; or one may not!

Tired, or troubled, or diseased, one may be; but this is not the same as deceased!

Thus Hebrews gives us, in Ch. 12, this exhortation:

"Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,
and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated,
but rather be healed."

Further, it is no mere act of one's will, though in sanctification, the movement in holiness, the walk on the highway of holiness (Isaiah 35), which is NOT a four-lane one, involves will. It is God, says Paul in Philippians 2, who acts in us both to will and to do; but there is nothing merely automatic. It is personal. Thus Christ Himself endured the pangs of Gethsemane, and as Hebrews 5:7 reveals -

 "in the days of His flesh when He had offered up prayers and supplications,
with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death,
and was heard because of His godly fear" -

 learned what obedience means!

It is one of the vulnerabilities and beauties of being in the format of man, that with whatever wisdom one may be possessed, when it comes to EXPERIENCE, it can all seem quite novel. The field is not the mind! It is practical and now, and what happens is not just possible, but actual!

As in so much, some in Christian circles go to opposite extremes here, instead of simply obeying. Some try to reduce the reality of victory in the interests of a kind of 'orthodoxy' (the Pharisees had a kind, but tradition was a part of its theme, and the thoughts of man were being substituted for the word of God, as Christ directly declared - Mark 7:7ff.). In this mode, they indicate that sin is endemic and that it is the grace of humility that matters. There is a measure of truth in this; but it is far from being all the truth. Sin is indeed as supple and stylised as a fine-looking snake, longing to get out of the snake pit. However, there is a pit for it.

On the other side, there are those who display the idea that victory is if not automatic, then assured at all times and in all things. While this has much merit, it can lead to a certain measure of superficiality about the perversely penetrating powers of sin.

In fact, as so often, the truth as scripturally shown, is in neither extreme. There is NO ground for spiritual satiety or satisfaction in a species of humility which does not need to prefer ardent anguish in spirit as one prays, to falling into overt sin. Nor on the other hand, is there ground for vain imagination in deeming oneself anywhere near perfect, because a number of rather obvious rounds of sin have been met by the shield of faith, or even if one knows of none that have not been rebutted. SEARCH ME and try me, says the godly King David, and see if there be any sin in Me, and LEAD me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24).

Nevertheless, when one walks past these extremes, and preferring the word of God, entertains greater expectations than in the first distortion which we noted, and less potential vanity than in the second, and simply fights one's spiritual wars, and gains the victories specified, and yet learns in defeats when they occur, both the need of humility and the joy of overcoming: then there is a special result. It is then that there is a fulfilment in character and substance of what Paul is declaring in Romans 8: putting to death BY THE SPIRIT, "the deeds of the body."

One must continually remember that this phrase "deeds of the body" is such as to include, for example 'covetousness' as in Romans 7 explicitly, and that it involves as part of the envisaged body, a sort of image of potential human sinfulness, the spirit and the mind no less!

And then ? So acting, imperfect and yet empowered, "you will live", as Paul puts it. Indeed, this is the way of the children of God, for "as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."

Indeed, Paul expatiates further in terms of bondage and LIBERTY, in verse 14.

"For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear,
but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God ...,"

and living this life, one is also an heir, as a child of God!

This is HOW His children live; and they are heirs. Frauds and surrogates are plentiful, and naturally these do not, because they CANNOT live in this way. What however is planted by God (Matthew 15:13), is not uprooted for that very reason, for its seed remains in it, and what GOD plants has this seed (I John 3:9, I Peter 1:23).

It is all so very natural; and even though it is the supernatural God who does it, it is done FOR His creation, and is so apt for it because HE HIMSELF became one of us, that for us He might not only meet the undesirable destiny of divine repudiation (as when He cried, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!," as foretold in Psalm 22:1), but provide in all the intimacies of human spirit, that brotherly blessing that is found in being like us, and not merely aware of us! (Hebrews 2:10-18).

It is well to consider these verses in their intimate outline of the realities behind this aspect of Christian life.

"For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things,
in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect
through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified
are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying:

'I will declare Your name to My brethren;

In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.'

"And again:

'I will put My trust in Him.'

"And again:

'Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.'

"Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death
were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
For indeed He does not give aid to angels,
but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham.

"Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren,
that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God,
to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted,
He is able to aid those who are tempted."

In this way, faith finds multiple resources.  Christ has acted in flesh to cover the pardon requirements for those who, in the flesh, have believed. He has also removed the fear of death by dying and being physically resurrected by the power which created the body of man in the first place, in its triad of body, mind and spirit design. Merciful and faithful like one of brothers, in the High Priestly position, He actually aids in temptation!

If HE faced Gethsemane, it is not at all too much for those of us who are Christians, to find that the fight for the victory of living in the Spirit, of living in a godly fashion, of being kind, and merciful and meek, and yet bold for the faith, of being guided by God and willing for His works as HE prescribes them and WHERE, may be costly. Victories often cost prodigiously. In this case, however, the victory is faith, and the faith is in HIM who did the works, and applies them by His Spirit. He may indeed seem rather distant when pride cloys, or one forgets, as in practice Paul seems to have done for a little (as specified in II Cor. 1). Forgets ? what may one forget ? It is this:  that it is folly to trust in oneself; but then there may well come from the divine Lord  a rebuke with reason. Its results are good as you see so splendidly illustrated in the Song of Solomon Ch. 5!

Indeed, as Paul puts it in I Corinthians 11:32  "But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned wit the world."

All of this is intensely, immensely personal. We are not programs but people. The difference is infinite. It is as large as being in the image of God, and not being so. It is divine in its specifications, though human in its application. Those who do not know God, they may have only the pangs of conscience, the aspirations that haunt or the relish that hunts to remind them; but there is something better than cynicism suggests, sardonism acknowledges or scepticism imagines.

On this, by all means consult SMR Ch. 3, pp. 255ff., The Conversation between Two Computers pp. 270ff., and 292ff..




Romans 7-8, leading to THREE LAWS


We have then seen something of the spiritual coverage, character and quality of walking with God, inter-personally, by His Spirit, in the name of the Saviour who has prepared, presented, paid for the privilege for any who avail themselves of His service, sacrifice and covenant, and in whom this companionable walk is not only made possible, but instituted for His children.

In Romans 7, there is Paul's memorable, intimate and ringing exposition of the nature of failure, where a chasm opens up between hope, principle, aspiration, desire of a spiritual kind, on the one hand, and performance, the reaching of this summit, this plateau of peace, on the other. The thing, the apostle explains, would enticed with its grace the mind, yet would it fail to be attained. The ideal would beckon, the real would wallow.

What I would, I do not; but what I would not, this I do: this was his woeful experience.  In this way, apparently (in view of his reference to his falling into an awareness of sin before the law of God, in the matter of covetousness - indeed, being aroused to it by its very prohibition) before his conversion, Paul found the experience of ideal and action, at logger-heads (Romans 7:7-19).

Some find this type of dynamic and challenge. They then deem it too hard - consciously or unconsciously - and so, to preserve face, even to themselves, become cynics, so that the goal being lost, the failure is covered up! Paul did not do this.

Tracing out what was his branding, as he was - and one must remember that he was actively persecuting the church with whip and prison in his early and pre-apostolic days - Paul brings us to recognise a law in human nature as it is in this fallen world.

"I find then a law that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.

"For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man,
but I see another law in my members,
warring against the law of my mind,
and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members... "

Then in Romans 8, we find there are three laws operative here, laws which relate not to PROGRAM man, but to PROVIDE OPTIONS, albeit only God as Saviour can actively implement them. As seen in SMR Appendix B, He is willing to institute the good for all, by the means availing and  paid, the  Cross of cancellation of sin and pardon in peace, in Christ; but He does not force. Knowing all before all time, He has His own people, where love envelops and force does not subdue, but truth; these things known to Him in His own way.

The law of sin which inhibits good, despite desire for it, in the spiritual, mental and physical aspects of man, is endemic; it is like decay in a tooth. You cannot escape the consequences. Born with bad teeth, you must have this sort of trouble.

Fortunately we are not born with bad teeth, but with a soiled spirit (Psalm 51). It must lead to trouble, and even where the DESIRE for good is present, unless it be a substitute for spirituality as in pride and selfish elevation, it is not obtained. Goodness itself is marred by the blindness with which it is misconceived, and many do indeed go about 'to establish their own righteousness' as Paul explains in Romans 10. This has even less to do with righteousness than mere sin, for it defiles the very fountains of washing.

That then is the FIRST LAW, the law of sin. The SECOND LAW is the law of God: what He commands.

The THIRD LAW is the law of life, or more fully, "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." This is what avails when one becomes a Christian and HENCE is inhabited by the Spirit of God, who operates in the name of Jesus, applying His promises, in a personal way providing aid, comfort, strength, communication and correlation with the will and ways of the Saviour Himself, the eternal "I am" (John 8:58).

Paul then, in Romans 7:23ff., before introducing us to the law of life, notes the warring of the law of sin against the law of his mind. This is pre-conversion (or in some moment of great weakness, in which anomaly gains temporary access, as with David and the famed case of Bath-Sheba), and is about to be contrasted with the most blessed, inter-personal substitute for such merely mental aspiration.





The Scent of Victory


When conversion occurs, so that what the law could not do, being weak because of the law of sin which tended to grab sinners and hold them in train (Romans 8:1-3): now there comes the law of the spirit of life. Before Christ came, of course, this was available by the Spirit of the same Lord, who was to send the Christ; for what HE BOUGHT was already available on account, for His Cross covers retrospectively as well as prospectively, all who believe in the Lord, revealed from the first. There came His law codified in the Old Testament, along with the prediction of the coming Messiah, and then the Christ Himself. In all this, God shows His way shown immutable (Psalm 102:25-27,Malachi 3:6, Habakkuk 3:6). If the bud was the Old Testament sacrificial system (cf. Psalm 32, Hebrews 8-10), the bloom was Calvary; but it is one God, one way, one power, one Spirit.

Now then, with access freely and simply through Christ, condemnation is removed categorically, Christ having not merely shown the way, accomplished the perfection for man (Hebrews 2), but covered the difference for sin (II Cor. 5:17-21), there is freedom in the law of the Spirit of life. With neither weight nor burden left, the converted believer in Christ finds the righteousness once so sought, made available in its perfection, as a gift of One resident within by His Spirit (Romans 5:17, Romans 8:4).

This is where conversion is so abundantly and liberally crucial. To have a mind pre-occupied with or bound to flesh, the potential autonomy of living it my way in my time with my priorities and my preferences, as if I were not a product! this is death (Romans 8:6). A mind of this type CANNOT have life, for it is a spiritual corpse as far as the life for which it is made is concerned; and as far as its own perverse form of life is concerned, it is in enmity against God.

If it is outside Christ, the Redeemer, be sure it is not for no reason! As Proverbs 26:2 puts the principle: "The curse causeless shall not come!"

Pleasing God, knowing His word, His law, His will, His ways, His commands and doing them, this those who are not yet in Christ CANNOT DO. They are blasé about His offer, His covenant, His Cross, His pardon and please themselves; or instead, they simply hide, or gloss over things, like a damp mob oer a deeply dirt-embedded linoleum floor.

This is not pleasing to God, as if He were a stony onlooker. It is a rejection of His explicit communication first to foretell Christ, then in and as Christ, and through Christ. Nothing more insulting could well be imagined, though even this may be forgiven. It is however easy to say, more difficult to do; for in rejection, the heart can slowly immerse itself, like cotton wool in iodine, until what was is not at all what is, and the colour of things changes.

Yet, Paul indicates, the Christian is far otherwise placed.  He is not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. IF the Spirit of God does not live within the person, then that person is assuredly not a Christian, for as he reveals in I Cor. 12:13, we are all by one Spirit baptised into one body. That is part of becoming a Christian (as in Romans 8:9).

What then if the spirit of God duly and truly, through conversion, IS within the life and heart and will of the person, the Christian in view ? What is the relevant change, for victory over the law of sin, the compromising detachment of merely mental aspiration from actual spiritual results, for cardinal slippage and futility instead of utility in this sphere ?

IF, says Paul (Romans 8:11), the Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead IS in you, then the One who so raised Christ from the dead (power of total resurrection, which involves restoration of equipment and of the power to operate it as the same identity) will also give the spiritually vital life of God to your bodies, mortal though they are.

We OWE such 'bodies', such potentially autonomous 'selves', such potentials of mind, spirit and body, NOTHING! It is to Christ we owe, and from Him the thing is a GIFT. There is no HECS, no State levy on university education with Christ. Your status as freed persons with guilt covered, sin cancelled in its attainments of death, is attached to your function as the free; for where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (II Cor. 3:17).

If then this same Spirit is in you, you will live in the life of God in His presence. It is, as Christ pointed out (John 15), then like a branch in a vine. You depend on it, and it provides the power for life. It does not work for what is spurious, only in outward form abiding in the vine and the vine in it, as is the case with normal branches. It deals with the inner reality, not the outward appearance merely.

If what is botanically called a 'sport' occurs, it in Him but He not in it - just as the lime branch is visibly 'in' the tree, but the tree is not in it, for it is wild: then naturally this is mere violation. If, then, what occurs when  a lime stock with orange grafted into it, sends forth lime shoots into what is now an orange tree, is a simple matter of pruning, so is the parallel case spiritually. If the mere anomaly without faith, Christ not in it at all, no more 'Christian' than Judas, a simple outward appearance in things spiritual: if this be the case, then  the Lord being not at all in that person's spirit, why of course such being spurious, injurious, anomalous, are snipped off! That is the exercise in pathology.

What is not of this character, however, what instead has the new, true, Creator defined, design-crafted life which God has provided, this has that sap, that close, continual, effective, vitalising presence within; and it involves personal communication in spirit and mind with the Lord Himself! So far from being a substitute for His word, it is complementary to it (cf. Psalm 119:28-32).

If then, by the Spirit, Paul continues (Romans 8:13),  you put to death the deeds of the 'body', you will live (inverted commas indicate that the portent of the term is your entire being, seen as one).

In this, the text continues to indicate: you would be led by the Spirit.

In other words, you would inclined, as when a table tilts and the papers on it fall off; moved as a dog moves a fold of sheep; but more precisely,  it is like a Shepherd LEADING his sheep, which is the case with the children of God. Relying on the God whom they know (cf. II Timothy 1:12), they find the Lord they need already there, leading. He does it morally, ethically, biblically, psychically, emotionally, in terms of presence and atmosphere, suffusing with His being, as a perfume of daphne quickly suffuses the garden nearby! (cf. II Corinthians 2:14-15).

Indeed, as Paul declares, this same Spirit bears witness that we are the children of God. It is in its very presence, for in BEING present, it specifies according to its role in being sent (John 15:26), and ours in being received ... It is to us AS children that the Spirit of God so comes, no more innominate than is a nurse who looks over her charge!

This in turn leads on to the point that as children we are heirs (Romans 8:17). This is not true of  the 'sports', of course, the Judases, nor is it for those who like Demas loved this present world; nor is it for the life-tasters, like wine-tasters, not so much drinking as tasting for comparison in order to choose the hedonistic pick of things! It is quite simply for believers in Jesus Christ as presented on this earth by His Father for our salvation; nor is there any other (Acts 4:11-12), for however double-minded men may become, God always the same, has nothing further to say (Galatians 1:6-9).

Thus is completed the full circle from mentally seeking what is good, and failing, and then finding in repentance and faith, the reproduction (regeneration) and grace of the Maker of man, both his mind and his spirit, as in times to come, of his very body (cf. Romans 8:23). In this way, through faith one gains access to all that is PERSONALLY needed: pardon, power, presence, communication, guidance, leading and life as planned.

This is in direct and vital liaison with the very life of God Himself... personally. All the wonder of being a person, not denatured into cynic, or sophisticate, or sardonic substitute for life, a verbal resultant of sinful surrender, not sceptic, not septic with sin: it is this which is now unveiled. What is inherent in life for man, it is now exposed.

What was a disorderly array of desires, perhaps sculptured to hedonism, some proud idealism, or to arrant and arrogant imperialism, this now becomes a thing in place. It sits now where the LORD is God, in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6), a matter by this time,  not of oneself or one's chosen surrogate, but of life where the pleasure is good pleasure, the Lord's good pleasure (Ephesians 1:9), and is the result of faith in the God who is who He is. Such joy is the result not the criterion of such life, where God is worshipped not as a provider of some desideratum, but as Himself PERSONALLY.





We turn now to the question of meeting a specific sin emergency in this life. Paul has already in Romans 8 traced the principles, so let us more intimately try to relate these to human personality in concrete terms.

What then is the nature of the challenge as it may come to a person ?

It is not that one has power to alter things in this flesh, as though this were a new and extended autonomy: it is no such illusion which counts. It is rather with what power one is endued to achieve the result to which one is directed, by, in , with and for the Lord, that one may act; and it in terms of potency,  this deposit and enablement, that is found what is paramount.

It is not that a finger can deploy the body, or curling itself about the stars, alter their courses; but that extended from the hand, it can transmit messages to Him who has power to fulfil His own purposes for and through the body (that is, His Church as in Ephesians 2, 4).

Yet if, as with Elijah, no or little support appears from the 'hand', as when a quickly deadened church is being swept towards destruction and many are inhibited or afraid, as in a time of vast (as as current) predicted decline, then God still provides access to power for His purposes, even to an individual.

Then, in answer to prayer, the very finger of God (Luke 11:20) acts, and depresses no less surely the requisite key in answer to faith, or even acts DIRECT. It is His option.

In our present context, whatever the surrounds, as with poor Lot (Genesis 19), the Lord can send even angels, or at His own will, secure the services of an heroic Obadiah (as with Elijah, I Kings 18:7ff.), or He may strike the enemy with blindness (physical as with Elisha - II Kings 6:8ff., or spiritual as with Absalom - II Samuel 15:31ff.), and so turn certain ruin into obvious triumph. That is precisely what happened in each of the above cases!

As to the Lord, who has made personality and provides for His children inter-personal communication which sets the standard for all communication, and the criteria for all goodness, and does so both in writing, and in accord with His writing, in Spirit direct: the skies are His as is the whole world of meteorology. It is for this reason that He could set the drought in the day of Elijah (I Kings 17), so humbly a wicked and imperious king, by a simple method. With such power, many are the methods; with such wisdom, many are the deployments of it; for force is not the way of the Lord with personality!

Just as, moreover, there is no limit to the power of the Lord, so there is no deafness to His ear to those who call upon Him, and do so in truth (Psalm 145:17-19).

Indeed, let us hear what He says here:

"The Lord is righteous in all His ways,

Gracious in all His works.

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,

To all who call upon Him in truth.

He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;

             He also will hear their cry and save them."


Thus, some are  oppressed because of hostile powers seeking deviously to destroy self-control in the harassed saint, and the devil is not slow to co-operate with them in temptation; but the very power of God still operates as the turbulent life of the doughty Paul attests! (cf. Galatians 5 in some detail!).

One may still call on the Lord while life remains, even if apparently forsaken by man; for if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness (Romans 8:10), so that "He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies." How ? It is "through His Spirit who dwells in you."

How is this life because of righteousness communicated, placed ? SINCE guilt is gone, peace is granted, pardon is operative: the Father is near in His presence, the Saviour is meritoriously in place of any loan or debt. It is then that righteousness from God is operative as are the rolling breakers in the ocean. It is the natural flow of their beautiful force, and just as where the ocean is, and the wind, there are they; so where the Lord is, there is this relished righteousness and holy sympathy, this orientive horizon, this intimate enablement.

So where the Lord dwells in uncompromised friendship, there is life, not merely to be sought, but brought. For the believing sinner, it is bought, and then poured out like the life of Christ Himself; but now that this new birth is past, as it was in expiation, as it became in imputation, so it sings in inspiration and in grace and power, in the confines of peace, in the beauty of holiness.

Moreover, even though "the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh" because they are contrary to one another, yet if you are led by the Spirit, says Galatians 5:17ff., you are not under law. How is this so ? In that case, your conduct is not as a spiritual criminal creeping in the shadows of darkness, but as a spiritual son or daughter, perhaps due from time to time for chastening but walking in the light.  As one may fall, though a reasonable runner, so a fall is not fatal; but it is a jolt ... and will require restoration, but as a species of living, not of dying! So is the Spirit life because of righteousness.

Far from automata are we as spiritual persons, restored to the image of God in which we were first created (Colossians 3:10). We have character (cf. Romans 5:1-5), as well as access to divine power through the presence of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus Christ. We may be tried (and HOW Luther and Knox were tried, how Job was exposed to test), but not in spirit are we trampled. Self-assurance (II Cor. 1) may be detected and need extraction like a bad tooth, and be painful in the process; yet inter-personal relationship with God for all that, is there to sustain us.

For all that, not doused in complacency, but alive with passion, we must seek (cf. Isaiah 55, Matthew 7:7ff. and especially Psalm 42:1,7-11). Faith in operation, grasps the extended hand, and  in the domain of spirit now, even the sinning Peter is brought up and into the safe sailing boat of stability, because he CALLED, Lord save me! (cf. Matthew 14:25-32, Isaiah 33:6).

When  and as necessary or expedient, whether with Elijah, Elisha, Peter or Philip sent into the desert, God can and does act mightily with but one 'finger' of the body, His body, one individual as the case may require, and He may elect.

After all, that 'finger' when you dispense with the metaphor, is a person made in the image of God, and redeemed, lived in by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9). In that person there is scope for the scale of victory over disorientation, confusion or fear, as over cultural domination: so that the "deeds of the body", of the flesh, of that disjoined separateness from spiritual rule in all the phases of one's life, can be transformed into a work of His Spirit, both to revive and to "mortify". Then "the Spirit is life", indeed, because of righteousness, while  "by the Spirit", you act as in His divine presence, Christ in you (Colossians 1:278), and "put to death the deeds of the body." 

This includes of course those of the body politic or ecclesiastical, which may seek entrance into your mind and will, so that as in the days of the scribes, Sadducees and Pharisees, they may prevent from entering the kingdom of heaven! (cf. Luke 11:52, and see the result in the conflict, 11:54).

Thus the power of the Spirit of God is both vivifying and mortifying, both bringing to life what is burning low, and bringing to death what is threatening the house with its garbage glow.

Indeed, many themes, challenges and needs are, by their very nature, individual.

Here, there is provision for holiness, for godliness (as promised in II Peter 1), and how the saint may be tried (I Peter 4:12ff), as the heart is tutored, the mind enlightened and  self-trust is released, so that faith may be in God alone!

This is not only theological but practical, and not only in the initial episode, but as with Paul (II Corinthians 1), it may come in the presence of rebuke, correction, chastening, with comfort as well as deliverance, even well on in the Christian life.

As to that glorious and most blessed power of God, so guaranteed and providing such a guarantee (Ephesians 1:14), even of our eternal inheritance, in Him, Christ ensures that none is left as an 'orphan' in a world astray (cf. John 14:17-18). With this, none need stand impoverished!

Just as there is no Christian in whom the Spirit of God does not dwell, as we have seen (Romans 8:9), so there is no encumbrance able to sever from rightful place in, or open door of access to the living God, in the name of Jesus Christ, now. It is above every name that can be named (Philippians 2), and avails without qualification as faith works.

There is no consent to the rule of sin, in this living and indwelling Lord; nor is there any to any part of its entourage, psychic spiritual, mental, physical. Instead,  one is equipped,  is empowered and enabled by His provision and grace "by the Spirit" to "put to death the deeds of the body."

This is another glorious feature of Christian living as a person. You are not automatically made to do this, nor are you disinterestedly left to avoid it; but you fight as required, and there may come a season in which such difficulties disappear, like morning mist, to be followed on some unexpected day by a blast as from the Arctic (cf. Matthew 4:11).

Then, however,  one is brought back to realise that living with Christ is not a matter of simple avoidance, but of company, so that if at any time one grows too abstracted, here is the reminder that there is positive as well as negative, beauty of companionship as well as purity of intention, and the suppleness of spiritual communion grows, is deepened, is enriched, as shown so beautifully in Hosea 14, and impelled into one's mind, in Hosea 6:1ff..

Thus it is as a person, not a program that you respond, as everyone who consults the empirical data, and is not wholly given over to the rule of sundry sins may know personally in experience; it is as far from program as the driver of a vehicle from the motor, and the confusion of the two is no less absurd, than that.

All the equipment for life is obviously there; its tormentor is no less so, and weakness in the face of objective design and rules is another part of the triad. You must respond by faith, however, for the full reception of the vital exuberance to be released; and without faith you neither have access to nor can please God, any more than could a vehicle with perversely shut doors, whatever its spirited performance possibilities or horsepower or wattage if you insist, please its owner or maker.

Indeed, there is far more than power involved! For further on this, we turn to the specifications of Romans 8:5-17


A Little Look at Where we are  Going

Before doing so, let us consider. We have seen an element of emphasis on FIGHTING in the Spirit and the work of grace provided for this, against what wars with this path. Involved crucially is the need to be vigorous, vigilant and decisive; for faith that wobbles like a dying soldier shot down and about to collapse, is a mere misnomer. However it is God who works in us who are Christians both to will and to do (Philippians 2), in supervisory grandeur and gracious intimacy watching, helping. It is to this second emphasis we now come.

We turn to the element of divine FAVOUR. This involves the power, the presence and the process of the Lord. In II Corinthians 3:17 we learn that in the Lord is LIBERTY, His Spirit providing this grace. Narrow the way undoubtedly is, as is the way for blood in the arteries; but let it pound out, in imaginary liberty,  and then what ? Then, so far from gaining 'real' liberty, it becomes spurting prelude to death, and at length an oozing substitute for vitality.

Liberty is not found in being ANYTHING in an ANYHOW fashion. It is found in being what you are, placed where you are meant to be, in love responding as is provided. This is frankly impossible without salvation, because of the alienation of the heart of mankind (Romans 1:17ff.); but it is not only possible but practical and procedural where life from the 'dead' psychic tissue of separated self-hood replaces its moribund fuss and confusion (Romans 8:7-11).

A baby born is not only able to do what is, in any natural sense, impossible when in the womb. Once it is born, such things are NORMAL, and now are both NATURAL and NECESSARY. The possibility of sickness does not alter this. It merely emphasises the wonder of it all, by deleting in part the practicality of the functions now provided. It cannot become two people or have two bodies: this would be liberty ? only licentious ruin! It does however have an enormous amplification of freedom compared with its condition in the womb, where even the first beginnings of independent and donated life have not had their opportunity. There its very blood comes indirectly...

Freedom is donated at birth, in the manner of the physical, obstetrically, and of the spiritual, for that regeneration, that birth, as essential as the first for life.

With this liberating process, which of course involves understanding and relish and gratitude to God, wrought by the Spirit of God, there is something as important. It is a certain  moulding and dynamising by the Holy Spirit. There comes a spread of divine action which is moving character now,  as a sculptor moves those bits and pieces out of the way which fail to be adequately expressive of the art work and its spirit and intent. In this way, also at the spiritual level,  there is also procedure.

Thus prayer and supplication, gratitude and thanksgiving, rigorous study of the word of the living God in the Bible, intimacy to the will and wellspring of the Lord's desires, these are procedural matters. There are not only part of His action, as one who acts ON something; there are those of One who acts IN us, who believe.

It is to this second area of focus that we now turn, the liberty in and moulding from the Spirit of God in the name of the Saviour.

After that, we shall feature somewhat the whole dimension of REST.

Strange as it may seem, while there is fight (as when a farmer deals with a grass-hopper plague and uses chemicals, projectors of spray and time and labour with intensity and militant address), there is also provision (as when he gains what is needed for the fray, and is personally invigorated, and aware of objectives in some detail); and with this, there is procedure, by which what is apt and strong is called into being, where and when needed.

Yet when he has so laboured, with confidence and prayer, then returning home, he rests. If he is a man of industry, patience and a receptor of the divine consolation and strength, comfort and wisdom, then he rests back in the One who carries him, and smiles upward with content, knowing that his way is neither unknown, nor sporadic, nor ultimately dependent on himself, even though his character is being forged and formed continually as he works.

The farm is ALREADY his own (Ephesians 1:11), and the house, and the equipment, and his strength; yet it is because he rests on NONE of these things, but in the grace of God, His wisdom, His promises, His principles, His premisses, His provisions and procedures, that the fight is so far from being the antithesis of rest, that rest is its very outcome: indeed it precedes it, just as it follows.

Strength flows into rest; action flows out of it. It is rather like a fresh well, supplied by underlying springs. When you draw the water, more comes, there is no limit. When you use it, the point is fulfilled, of its presence. When you leave it, it stays there, cool, adequate, ever ready. You rest in that.

So does the supply of the Spirit of the Lord have no economic thrift: it is liberal, generous as the very type of feature in Acts 2 so well illustrates, and the words of Christ in John 4:14 and 7:37-38 so cardinally express. The Lord Himself is generous, abundant in mercy and plenary in peace (Philippians 4:1-6).

If the test is strong, what is wrong ? Does an aeroplane fear to fly! When its journeying is under guarantee to reach its destination (Romans 5:9-11, II Timothy 1:9ff., John 5:24), and one knows the owner of the plant, mechanic and parts supplier, and has the best of all pilots available (Psalm 73:24, 17:15, Acts 2:24, I Corinthians 15:50-58), is it not a delightful obligation and a dutiful zest!










Victory ? Of course it is in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is not in one's own name, or in the name of some psychic or allegedly religious culture which, like bacteria in cultures, joins the throng of spiritual disease pathogens (Matthew 24:24, John 14:6, II Cor.  11).

It is in the name of grace of Jesus Christ who sends the Spirit from the Father (John 15:26).

It is as His word that He operates (I Peter 1:10-11, I Cor. 2:9-13, John 15-16), the word which created the earth (John 1:1,  Colossians 1:15). As the very word of God (Hebrews 1:2,3,8, John 1:1, 8:58), He can have man re-created in His divine image (Colossian 3:10), through His Spirit (John 3, Titus 3:5).

Not only as sent by the Father,  does Christ initiate the re-birth through the pardon in the Cross in the love of God (Matthew 11:27), but the Spirit of God continues to mould the life committed in Christ towards His holy nature (II Cor. 3:18), thus granting both liberty (II Cor. 3:17) and peace (Philippians 4:4ff.).

It is a matter of the demonstrably living and inveterately victorious God (Romans 1:17ff., Isaiah 14:27), as seen in The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, which incidentally has its own serving of biblical exposition in its Ch. 7. His life becomes active in peace and strength in your own.

In particular, this victory presented to the children of God in Christ, for life, it is as shown in Romans 7-8. Earlier, we began on that base, to expound what the word of God has to say, seeking to transmit it faithfully.

Having therefore paid attention to the problem as presented in Romans 7, and to the major thrust elevating force of the answer in terms of the key verse 8:13, with some of its surrounds, we may now ponder Romans 8:5-12 further,  both in the lead-up to that notable verse, 8:13, and in survey of the situation revealed, as we move on towards 8:17.



¨    1) Having surrendered to Christ, and been begotten again
(Romans 3, 5; John 6:50ff., I John 4:9, 5:12), now you are moved, led, loved into liberty.
Drawn, solaced (II Cor. 1:3-4), shown significance (Ephesians 1:18-19),
you are transferred into His kingdom (Colossians 1:13), that of the "Son of His love"
and there you live, have your being.

¨    2) Thus you set your mind on these things, just as you set your radio
to gain your favoured station. You grow accustomed to them, to Him whose they are,
to their ways, to His will. As to that, while it is diversified in practice,
in many ways and things as events open (cf. Acts 13, 16),
it is immutable in principle. God changes not at all
(Psalm 102, 90-91, Malachi 3:6, Habakkuk 3:6).
In this way, you live in that milieu, whose 'speaker' is more personal
than any announcer, sympathetic than any doctor, knowledgeable than any savant,
more reliable than any rock. You become imbued with His presence, policies, desire.

¨    3) Just as you set your radio, then a lively tune anoints your ear,
so here as you set your mind on the things of the Spirit, a life-giving reality enables,
ennobles, sends a breeze of comfort and breathes a sense of peace into life,
giving quietness, liveliness and secure depths (Romans 8:5-6). 

An author in New York, recently declared that Schubert's music set the tone,
atmosphere for one of his novels, and he could not have written it without it.


How much more than this, does settling on the things of God permeate the being and enhance the appetite as well as influence decisions and support thought, for He is more than music, and infinitely more, but not less through the incarnation, than human!


Romans 8:6-10

¨    1) There are red and green lights as for traffic (8:6), and just as in a school when young,
you quickly can adjust and learn who the bullies are, and how to avoid these
and progress in peace, so here.

¨    2) Indeed (8:7-8), there is a rag-tag army of error and evil to be avoided,
in order to fulfil the vitality of God and the role of life on an earth. 
Quite frankly cursed, as well as magnificent in its creation,
 its inhabitants may now be released in Christ,
and in Him alone (Romans 8:3, John 14:6).

Many are the internal and external enemies,
the carnal elements and minds; and one finds that death is the outcome of that,
but life and peace of abiding in Christ.

¨    3) In fact, you find there is even a personal presence and a dynamic which reads
the death notice over your former way of life and moves in you aligning your will and mind -
Romans 8:9-10, and that this is inseparable from Christian living,
as air from physical life for man on this earth!

¨    4) What ruled you in whatever species of autonomy, self-will, mutable insecurity is
now a dead renegade, the source of spiritual liabilities (8:10).
Mercifully, He who paid, procured, is alive within by His Spirit,
and this life is immiscible with any other.

Even a Volkswagen does not have parts like a Boeing 737,
and they are both manufactured by engineers. ALL life is what it is,
and ours is either His and by Him inhabited,
or defaced, defiled, confused,
dispersed in meaning, a monument at best to folly,
set by a surging sea of misplacement and displacement.

Thus the former things are as condemned terrorists, whose deeds have gone far enough! (8:6-7,10). As we move through 8:10-11, we find that the new things are like Spring after snow. Now there is the fascinating  flurry of life with its colour and liveliness, and you are as one alive from the dead (8:11b). Indeed, new life works in you as in one who having faced death, finds One, Jesus Christ, who having outfaced it for you, draws you to seek His face (cf. Psalm 27:8).

You do not need, nor should you dare,  to violate scripture by demanding that all speak with tongues or implying or even stating that this severely restricted and substantially downgraded aspect of the spiritual cornucopia means more sanctification (contrary to I Cor. 12:29-30 and the entire concept of a body of specialised parts in integral co-operation). The body of Christ is not merged, and as Paul makes so clear here and in I Cor. 14:37, NOT ALL are apostles: similarly not all speak in tongues. It is not a sensation-seeking thrust but a godly group which is in mind where the written word of God has final pre-eminence and authority in instruction, and Christ the changeless in the heart of all,  in whose name all is done (Colossians 3:12-17).


It is personal, practical, with an energising peace. It is not as a doctor healing a wound, but rather the work of the Prince of Life, blessing and making whole your entire person in the presence of His splendour (cf. Psalm 86:11-13, Matthew 17:2, Psalm 45, Hebrews 1).


Romans 8:11-12

Thus there is a debt paid, and our lives are lost in love to Him who commands our hearts, instructs our minds and directs our ways (Luke 6:46). While the payment for sin is past in the Cross of Christ, yet the longing for the Saviour is present. He lives, and so do we who are His (John 14:19).

The key is the resurrection, for these are not dealings with a defeated corpse savaged in this earth, but with One who enduring that, broke death with energy (Acts 2:24). Thrusting life in this physical world into the very face of condemnation, He triumphed, being pure and acceptable as a sin-sacrifice, and powerful as God in His endurance and victory.

It is this which is transferred to His children from the liveliness of His own life, pending our own resurrection (Romans 8:11-12 cf. Romans 8:30). In this delightful peak of life, you are both dealing and being dealt with by God Himself, who as man, broke death and as God grants everlasting life. This is what man is for (Romans 8:14-17), and what is His, has the foretaste already, as when one sips tea, before completing the drink.

The image is trivial, but the life is not. What you sip is not insipid, but the very water of immortality.

How beautiful is the Trinity: the Father so loves and sends, the Son so loving comes, pays, prevails and provides, the Spirit so intimate applies and secures (Ephesians 1), seals, enables, empowers, works in or through you, according as the gifts are appointed.

Thus provided, the children of God walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), as a ship moves with a prevailing wind. It is refreshing and vitalising as the winds in the face of passenger on a ship, leaving the lounge and coming to see the elements, the ocean spray and the constant forging ahead of the helm (Romans 8:14-16).


Now we look at the amazing reality, that the FIGHT aspect in VICTORY - where the flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh, that body of self-will and independence from God - is not only given and indeed granted victory, as we have seen above, by the power, presence and promises of God. It is indeed blended with a rest in heart which is the cordial of vitality and the signature of the sovereign God.



The Blessed Peace of Rest

in accordance with Hebrews 4:6-11






We have been meditating on Romans 8:5-11.

You operate then by Christ's power, and not by dollops of your own; for dithering in dynamics of blindness, as without the control of your Creator is as foolish as following the deadly dynamics of self-possessed, self-assured numbness of heart, and blundering occlusion of spirit. What is contrary to Christ needs no site, should have no dwelling place in the heart, nor access to it. Rather, disowning such intruders, one must fight and act, and resolve, and trust and not fear. It is personal, more so than mountain-climbing, since these mountains ARE personal.

This is faith's milieu; and to ignore what is primary data for the recipient, the personal from which the rest is mere inference, it is as foolish as going to a doctor to have a leg restored, when the poor man does not realise that legs exist!

It is then that you must act, if you act in godly fashion at all, as seeing Him who is invisible (Hebrews 11:27). who made all that is visible to be such, constrained, endowed with qualities and features, set up and set in the organised mass of inter-related controls. Now the same Creator invisibly acts with most visible results (Hebrew 11:1ff, Mark 11:23ff.). Thus just as you operate by Christ's power, so you work in His presence, one not of pressurising push, but godly leading.

Therefore as we abide personally in the very personal Lord, so operating in the form in which we were created, and to which as Christians we have been restored (Colossians 3:10), then the entire perspective, orientation, scope of its formation, integration, spiritual access to Christ, proceeds to operate. For the Christians, born of God, our hearts are united, each one, in purpose  and worship (Psalm 86:11), in precept and power, in His presence and will. It is in this milieu that the 'finger' can tap the key  of power (Mark  11:23ff.), or simply having access to the Lord, convey the message that leads to an action (Isaiah 64:5), both divine and individual. This can deliver, direct, disentangle, re-orient or cover whatever other aspect needs attention (Psalm 145:17-20).

So does He bring the prow of the sailing vessel to land! How often in Mark and Matthew's Gospels, it may indeed occur in John, do we find sudden or direct action, with the word "immediately" appended, as Christ moves amidst the world of mankind. Some trying, challenging, difficult, undefined or disorderly action arises,  only to be followed by the point that "immediately" Christ took action, that  the resolution occurred, or that the realisation was aroused, brought to life. Naturally, not all such actions are of this chronologically advanced kind, but many are, and their genre is most striking as Christ walks with His disciples.

Such cases may be seen in such sites as Mark 1:31,42, 2:8,12, 4:39, 6:50, 10:52 as in John 6:21.  



An Irresistible Rest

Whether at the directly spiritual level, the physical, the geographical - it is the same. We wait - we are to depend on His dependability - and when He is ready and ...  we are, He acts (cf. Isaiah 64:5). Faith operates freely, not by force. Judgment waits long, but sums up at the end. Freedom is to  serve God, not be be god; and  when it is expressed, it is assessed! Indeed, when He is ready He will act globally at His return for His saints, as He institutes the events of the End of the Age.

The time is near, and we know so much about this period, simply because the "end" has much specific delineation in the Bible (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5), and the match is not only precise, but includes elements of a unique character, permitting no possible error. One of these is Israel's return  to possess and govern Jerusalem, the case since 1967 (Luke 21:24). No wonder the world clutches  towards regaining it. It is unsettling to Satan to see the plans move on to the end (cf. Revelation 12:10-12)!

Thus, as His people pray, His answer comes as He will,
but meets the need of His personal saints in ways,
justly personal and then spreading,
reaching as far as the movement of upstart mountainous folds and the
entire change of situations apparently irresistible and irremediable.

Moreover, while we Christians fight the good fight against the world and for those who might be won from it (II Timothy 4), against the flesh and the devil, the powers of darkness and the insidious desires of false ideologies (Ephesians 6), the confusion and rambunctious forces of spiritual seduction (II  Peter 2:1ff., II Corinthians 11), mental subordination and physical weakness, there is in Christ after all, beyond all this, over us like a cloud, under it like a rock, an irresistible rest - Isaiah 11:10

"And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious."

There is an indispensable and undispersible peace, because of utter reliance on His word, His power and His love, His mercy and His pity, His fatherly favour (Psalm 103) and His irreparable ruination of all that is contrary to the Gospel and glory, in the destiny and dynamic of His people. The reliance is on what is objective; and it works without limit, for who will limit the Lord! (Psalm 78:41).

This is no small part of the point in Hebrews 4:5-11, for the rest of God Himself is available.
It comes in abiding, searching, seeking, loving, waiting and acting in the presence of Him who calls, not to dissidence but dynamic conformity. It is He who enables even when we are weak, by His own power (II Cor. 12:9-10).

To faith is rest granted (Hebrews 4:11,16), when it is based in the sufficiency of Christ and His resurrection power displayed when His body did not rot but rose (Romans 10:9, Luke 24, Acts 2); as also on His word (Matthew 7:24ff.): and it embraces His promises, whatever is needed to glorify God and to grant a live of godliness (II Peter 1, Hebrews 1). By grace through faith,  it is granted (Matthew 11:28-30); and in faith, it operates by love so that in all things God being present, is active and glorified (Galatians 5:16-26).

We who are His are not restless in His rest, though knowing our God we must fight in His faith (Daniel 11:32, II Timothy 4:2-8). Knowing our place in Him,  we do so, using spiritual weapons, against spiritual forces (Ephesians 6), while it is His Spirit who brings love, joy, rest in His wisdom, faith and strength (Ephesians 3:16, Galatians 5), as those who bring munitions, the munitions however of peace.

"Quietness and assurance forever" are as Isaiah 32:17 declares, "the EFFECT of righteousness," His! (Isaiah 32:2, 53:4-5,10-11, Romans 5:17, 3:23-27, Galatians 3:1-9, Matthew 11:28-30, Hebrews 4:8-10, 9:12, 10:10-14, Psalm 71:16, Romans 10:1-4, 5:17). It is moreover as Isaiah declares "for ever", for it is as Hebrews states, "eternal redemption", our "anchor" having gone for assurance "beyond the veil", beyond symbols into eternal realities, where the place prepared is the place assigned (I Peter 1:1-5, John 14:1ff.).

Rest comes from faith, when that faith is in reality, and the reality being personal, we have the witness within us of the Spirit from the personal Prince of life, promoting peace. Just as the price of it paid, the revelation made, confirmed, verified and victorious, the fruit of it within us, as from Christ: so is His word fulfilled (John 14:15-20). Thus it may be received freely (as in Isaiah 55:1-6, as in Romans 3), and by His people, it is (Romans 3:23-2, Galatians 3)!

Prodigious as it is, it is without price (I Peter 1:18ff, Isaiah 55:1-4.), not being valueless, but priceless! There is no limit to His faithfulness, His power; and His rest is proportionately glorious (cf. Isaiah 11:1). What He said, He has done ... personally in Christ (cf. II Cor.  5:17-21); and what He has accomplished, He has applied, by the vitality of the Spirit whom He sends (John 15:26). Daily more find Him; daily more learn to abide in Him, and experience this, that His resting place is glorious!

The gift of eternal life induces rest, but it also produces robust zeal to honour the Lord in body, mind and work (Romans 12:1), in labours many, in quest for His glory unceasing. If any are overtaken in any sin, there is the barrister at hand (I John 2:1-2), and blessed discipline as required (Hebrews 12). The life in the Lord is comprehensive, personal, intimate and objectively addressed in the premisses, the promises and the fatherly power of God Almighty, through the Word incarnate, the Lord of glory, crucified, resurrected, communicating not only peace and rest, for the job is already finished, but a joy that cannot be quenched, like a flame continuing in a log of oak, all night.

Watchman, asks the character in Isaiah, what of the night ? The reply: the morning comes but also the night. If you will enquire, enquire! Return, come back! (Isaiah 21:11). A similar confrontation appears in Revelation 18, where "My people"  are warned to COME OUT of the false works of spurious and furious religion!

It is Christ who is crucial, the Lord's Christ and not some concoction of the thoughts of man. Then rest is in realisation of reality, in knowledge of Him on whom all experience and knowledge is based, from whom all wisdom comes, whose speech is everlasting in truth, immutable in message, glorious in Gospel, whose is all power and whose promises are oases in the desert, whose words are as distilled water and whose courage, character and grace are as a forest of blooms, magnolias in their magnificence, filling the garden, refreshing in rest, garlanded in beauty, like wistarias trailing from the high branches, against the blue sky.

Dallying with infinity has interminable results. It is necessary to act, to rely on  and rest in Him; and to remember what Jesus said:

"Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life;
and these are they which testify of Me.
But you will not come to Me, that you might have life."

Come, therefore, act!



There is rest in the Rock of certainty, of security, the life of spirituality which is in Christ (cf. the presentation in SMR pp. 570-581). It is not a supine rest, but a sacrificial fiesta, where the Lamb having already been slain, the work of eternal redemption finished (Hebrews 9), the labours of His love are a joy even under duress, sacrifices for Him are merely reciprocity with thankfulness (Revelation 12:11). It is so in things both small and great (cf. Revelation 12:11, Galatians 6:1-2). Here faith having already received eternal life (John 5:24, 6:40,50-55, 4:14, Romans 6:23, 10:9),  where the appointments of destiny on this earth are realised, relished and wrought before the time of His return, there is eager anticipation of this great event (Hebrews 9:28), the balm for beauty and the judgment for what ruins the life He has given.

In all these things, in Christ, we find one thing. With God, nothing shall be called impossible (Luke 1:37,42).  That is the experiential as well as the historical fact. As history, unveiled in prophecy, anoints the eye with fulfilments of His word continually, so does joy surge like a river about the individual, and it has much on which to move (Ezekiel 47), for the Lord having already worked redemption, works in His people, both to will and to do (Philippians 2). His performance is practical, His path is pure, His way is reasonable, and is based on the love in which the created, redeemed soul rests as in a meadow, for there are no limits here.

As Proverbs 15:24 puts it, so it is found to be: "The way of the Lord winds upward for the wise, that he may turn away from hell beneath."

Crashes are easy, and when the equipment is under-valued, and its Maker despised, there is only confusion in collaboration with unrealism. The denial of reality in Christ, this brings only the ruin which design ignored finds in intemperate and wilful ignorance of the Creator's love which is better than a thousand laws, and uses truth and mercy in inspiring integrity (John 14:6, Psalm 89).

Law however is not dead because love rules. Yet its cost of breach is met (Romans 10:4-9, 5:17. Galatians 3); and truth in peace embraces what is right with the rest and relish of righteousness both divine and freely granted. To the soul, it is rest from one's own works (Hebrews 4) and delighted participation in His. The living God leads (Psalm 32, Acts 13.16. 8): it is not the propulsion of push but the drawing of kindness. Small wonder it is joy; for WE as Ephesians 2 reminds the Christian, are His workmanship. Indeed this is in two respects, creation and redemption, and in redemption is nearness to God, and rest in the Lord. It is precisely in the heart as in the word, at Isaiah 27:5 and 32:17. It does not change.

Over the millenia, the Lord is the same (Barbs... 17, TMR Ch. 3): whether at the time of that millenium and more,  during which the Messiah was being predicted, whether at His advent, or after that time had passed and His works were done, or even in the current Age. Into this,  the fulfilled Gospel was released until its consummation should come in the return of Jesus Christ, now palpably near (Answers to Questions Ch. 5). He does not change His ways (Habakkuk 3:6, Malachi 3:6). As the word of God depicts it, so it is; as witness declares, so experience finds, for He is dextrous in practical things, diligent in grace, glorious in power, gracious in love and intimate in dealings. Taste and see that the Lord is good! (Psalm 34:8). The taste does not change.



In all these ways, we see that not only do logic and empirical science require the personal cause of personality be found in an adequate genesis; and so lead on to God*6: but the upkeep, maintenance and restoration of personality, at best deprived, in much depraved in comparison with its origin and capacity require none less.

There is in man such a void in purpose when the actual purpose is wilfully ignored, as drawn up in the personal book of the personal God who made him, that then his antipathies in idealisms, ideologies, moralities and immoralities, in blessings and blightings, so varied, so oracular, so rationally void in all but one case (cf. News 19), and the consequent wars of spirit, mind and body: these are quite predictable.

Predictable ? they are predicted in enormous detail (cf. SMR Chs. 8-9), and have been (cf. Highway of Holiness  Chs. 8-10). History can only quietly be said to have clapped its hands at the spectacle of this unique pre-formulation of events, spiritual action and practical consequences, with the time line clear-cut.

Much has passed from prophecy into events to follow, with just that mixture of profundity, not to say artistry, and precision which is so normal from the word of the living God. Much is now predicatable of the contemporary world! In other words, that was to be, as stated in word, now is, as seen in observable fact. This is the very stuff of scientific method! (cf. SMR p. 973A, 931ff.).

In this respect, we are perhaps the second most favoured generation of all time, for since OUR TIME meets the specifications of the end (Answers to Questions Ch. 5), in the most robust and precise fashion, and much is written to warn of that onset (like the bell in the 880 yard race, when the last lap is commenced!), we are seeing more before our very eyes in less time than has mankind at any time since the ministry of the Messiah, Jesus Christ! In two millenia, this is the other point, the end of the Gospel Age, as that its beginning!

What a performance, where the benighted are knighted, black is white and good is evil, where folly so-named becomes legally actionable, and passion breathes its pride with contorted face and rolling eyes!  Consider the prototype age, in Isaiah 5:18ff. where Israel as a nation was courting the disaster now sought by the world with similar valued spiritual pollution! That was for one; this is for all the nations which now clamour for their godless precincts to be emblazoned in history! Alas, blazes is near in spelling, but not in concept; and it is very near at hand in the conflagrations of the terminal events of this terminal disease called sin, for which one one terminator is available, the covenant in Jesus Christ, sent on that precise mission (cf. John 3:15-19).

What then do we find in this so consummately sophisticated Age ?

This is the comedy that is tragic, that given more, we do less; shown more, we know less as a generation than almost any before us. How is this ? Sadly, our wisdom is of this world, and being technical while truth tends to be despised with all the erratic passion of those who profess neither to know it nor to have access to it, with the pageantry of a religion, acting as if to KNOW what they do not know and why, with such sublime self-contradiction, it is fine farce.

That souls are damaged and perhaps damned as this passes, before our very eyes, passing that altitude of folly where no air is and suffocation becomes permanent, is the other side. It is profound tragedy. Moreover, they love to instil their knowledgeable ignorance and farcical tragedy into their children (cf. TMR Chs. 1, 8, Lead us Not into Educational Temptation). Folly riots, and street and city riots are merely symptomatic of the spiritual default that leads to them. Death becomes passionately pursued, and the grounds of folly tremble with its explosive and prodigious abuse of power, used to spoil, to depopulate, in genocide, especially of Christians who, being a spiritual race (I Peter 2:9), are nameable in such company. But one of the examples is found in the Sudan, where millions perish before the thirsty modern machinery that once was the scimitar.

Being made for pure passion, and fallen, man engages in impure passion, seeking to control others on the basis of whatever ideology he asserts, be it Islam or Communism, Nazism or Romanism, whatever in fact in times past has shown the teeth which do not spare; and many other -isms, such as nationalism, racism or sexism, ostracism or evolutionary grandiosities of self-praise and power in inflammable proportions: these too have acted virulently. They have either carved up, incarcerated or brought spiritual cancer to  humanity by various oppressions and illusions, confusions and international contusions, often appearing as war.

The ideas are pure vacuity*9; but pains and pangs,  these have been far from illusory.

What is needed, however, it is quite simple. The TRUE PURPOSE FOR MAN has to be found beyond man, of course, since BEING it does not propose or propound what it is made for. If you were a pen, and could think, you might divine your purpose; but as a man, with powers of worship, adoration, repudiation, rationality and irrationality of a high order, vested in the levers at the hand of will, without God, and in His image, you are left to the winds of illusion, disillusion, and the various forms of cynicism or selfishness, fashionable species of corruption may take your fancy.

The results are predictable, in the word of God have been predicted*10, in flavour, in spirit, in national, cultural, military, educational, in psychological, moral and personal terms, and are all devastatingly fulfilled.

That is the first point: man is a piece of equipment, personal in kind, value-directed, priority-layered, command-oriented, yet free in spirit within limits; and without God, these powers conflict with each other within the person, consciously, unconsciously and ultimately in practice, with other persons, through groups. This they do whether the dissonances be they racial or religious, military or commercial, sophisticated or basal; for they act in a unison of disharmony, near or far, sooner or later, as man acts in terms of the culture choices that clutter his spirit, rather than in the truth donation of God.

Hence war and strife riddle the earth; and riddles rive philosophy until it becomes pathetic in impotence; while truth walks serene and pure, all-embracive and personally demanding, as befits persons, but not personally disruptive, from God (cf. *6).

The tenderness of God, the trends of man, the errors of man and the rectitude of God, the follies of man and the correctives of God, the pollutions of man and the pardon of God: these are items which need correlation in the right way, and not in some irresponsible frenzy of spiritual, moral or wealth-grasping self-will. Since however it is precisely such things which occur in a great multitude both of individuals, families and various groupings of humanity, now measured in billions; since further the earth has limited if ample resources, and the psyche of man has vast but limited resilience: therefore the penalties of misuse, while sometimes slow to occur, are sure in the end.

Sometimes, the process may be long, but the world is now beginning to look increasingly like some harridan of old, some veteran warrior of a thousand wars coming, limping, home. But there is now no home, for those who forsake their beginning and argue with their end!

Yet with this, the trend in man for the arrogance of outrageous pseudo-faiths, in himself or his surrogates, idols of mind or thought or spirit, these tantalise him; and even when virtually wrecked, he seems inclined to seek in his passion for self-fulfilment, to have vengeance wreaked still further on his follies of mind, spirit and body. Indeed, often enough he likes to act in this role on those who like himself, are knowledgeably ignorant, and precisely fooled! This increases the devastation already inwardly wrought in his spirit, by making it express itself in the devastated idols of the Age, surmounted by wrecked buildings, societies, homes, hopes...

This is EXACTLY what Revelation 9 specifies, both in spirit and in result; for WHATEVER befalls the race, there is this sedated virulence, this martial soporificity, this dead liveliness which with the assurance of hell seeks the peace of pleasure or the power of rule. The ultimate outcomes foretold may be near (Revelation 9:20-21). It is as we have seen, in the impact of statistical terms, already  moving to the magnitudes foretold, both in spiritual terms and statistical outcomes of woe,  in terms of Revelation 6-8   (cf. Downfall by Defamation Chapter  6).

We must not be mesmerised by the causes and effects however, in their quantitative aspect or even in their multitudinous character. It is the qualitative which is our current concern or major focus. Man without due INSERTION of the ANSWERS to the questions which his divorce from God make mandatory, the priorities, the morals, the guidance, the point, the purpose of the race and of the individual, the co-operative criteria and many more, is like  a robot with multiple programs, and only dither or headiness (inadequately trained impulses if you will) to direct. Indeed, it is only on the basis that prevails causatively for morals, ideals, nobility, sacrifice, understanding, sympathy, empathy, godliness, self-control, and spiritual graciousness that the reductionist follies of fact-ignoring philosophy can be cured, and rationality restored. That, it is the God of creation from whom folly having fallen, personality is corroded, the potential of man is corrupted and the languishment of antinomies and antinomies comes like a cloud into the barren fields that seek to justify, but can never explain, what man is.

The trend of modern man is clear. He refuses both logic and restraint. His person is lacking in service; he refuses to see the Great Physician. As to the prescription well-known to be a resource obtainable from Him, indeed  publicly written and called the Gospel of Grace, this is passionately refused, inordinately detested, almost comically distorted, writhingly aborted, or else vaguely propelled elsewhere like some tangential impact diverted. Otherwise, it may be hypocritically adopted with reservations, so that its point may be lost in the mist and muddle of words, be these traditional or those of current culture: although this is expressly forbidden by Christ (Mark 7:7ff., Matthew 13, 22).

Hence the PERSON of mankind, one by one and in various groupings which become close to cultural entities, resembling legal ones: what befalls it ? It becomes disordered, disoriented and subject to forms of distress (as predicted for this Age in Luke 21:26) which range from callow confusion to reckless gambling, excited drug-taking, sexual extravaganzas, perversions (as foretold in type in Romans 1, and now fulfilled as if by heedless desire to do so!), to corruptions, dissipations, and on to dismal depressions and manias, as correctives moving far off, the fall toll of untruth is exacted.

Thus instead of the godly walk, post-natal in the sense that it follows regeneration, and tended by that Great Physician - doubly as Creator and Redeemer apt and committed, by His own sacrifice - as each person grows, there comes a mortal substitute. Instead of use of what He accomplished, as shown in His own healings and resurrections, not least His own, in meeting head-on what destroys man, billions linger a little longer, while the very earth heaves. Thus there comes an overflow of wretchedness; for godly living, there comes a deathly substitute. There comes the post-mortem exercise. It takes the place of the post-natal growth.

The former has two senses.

Firstly it may refer to those who talk of regeneration, but remain the same, this being a phraseological substitute for action. In accord with this,  their falsetto 'Christian' lives are not post-natal but in the vogue of post-mortem,  merely consequential on the death of what matters most, their life with, from and through God Himself. They parody it.

Secondly, it can mean this for those who avoid playing with terms, but simply evade the reality offered: man without God is spiritually dead (Ephesians 2, 4), so that his life becomes a post-mortem exercise in 'flesh'. At worst, it bears close resemblance to a headless monster, computerised by folly; at best, it bears a fine show of goodwill, indented by self-will, where man becomes his own god, and hence an idolator.

It is however necessary for man to cease to pretend to be programmatic, psychologically determined, morally determined, genetically determined, for the reasons we have already seen in this volume and which appear further in Repent or Perish Ch.7  in convenient form. It is not only logically necessary, it is psychologically and spiritually, morally and ethically, personally,  practically and socially necessary.

The results of such seductions of the human spirit are destructions. These are occurring in increasing dynamic, since the pollutions are now mature, the power is now greater and the world is asking for it, in endless presumptuous corrosions, which presenting themselves as if constructive, yet destroy; and of these the United Nations is not least, and united religions not far from it (cf. Mystery of Iniquity, It Bubbles ... Ch. 11, Divine Agenda ... Ch. 3, News 121, 122, 152).

Where then, divinely directed, protected, impelled and provisioned, indeed surrounded with divine friendship for him as one created in the Divine image, man proceeds, it is on his conversion, a post-natal growth. Great is the treasure then bestowed in truth, in power, in peace, in joy, in grace and in understanding. Life becomes a prelude, in the kingdom of heaven, to the eternal blessedness of consummation of companionship with God (cf. The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 2).

This is the natural, necessary and hygienic, the holy, the happy and the correct path for man; and the fact that it took Christ infinite pangs to secure for man, as many as receive Him as the way, the truth and the life, this does not alter the necessity of such maintenance for man. Rather it exhibits it!

Nor does it remove the equal necessity of such a reconciliation, such a redemption, such a redemption at the outset!

The walk with God is living in all dimension.

Its lack means dying in degrees, until the mutilated remnant of what had potential for a place in eternity with its Maker, becomes a dump product, covered in sin, rampant in desire or listless in ruin, unusable, the acme of pollution and the criterion of wilfulness.

Persons ? they are not mere products. Creations they are; but they need personal attention, not from 'big brother' but from the Mediator from God, the God-as-man Saviour, the incarnate Christ, whose resurrection was the culmination of guided power, governed grace and irresistible truth.


If man did not show by lack the result of his divorce, this would be a different world,
or man a different creation; but it is not so.


It is indeed this world, and man is indeed that creation and the results are indeed predictable,
and as predicted, they indeed occur, with substantial coverage and specific results

It is time that those who can read, read the word of God and follow it; and that those who can't sought help from the same source, through those who can.

It is well that the Lord makes no mistakes and knows who are His own (Ephesians 1:4, II Timothy 2:19).

Indifference, make no mistake, IS one form of mistake, rebellion and recklessness.  Though other forms are more spectacular, this is merely another. Just as there are many deadly snakes, so are there many ways to hell: the path is broad, and can fit a lot of transport types.

The transport that matters, however, is to be transported into the kingdom of heaven (cf. John 3, Ephesians 2:1-12). It is truth-transport. The apparatus does not move, but those in it, do. They progress and develop in spirit, as they move to their new destiny (cf. John 14). They love the transport because it is crafted in love, and though it is narrow, it is ... personal.

It is also reliable, and it never fails, being demonstrably indomitable in history, beyond murder, in life, beyond culture, in heart beyond profit, in spirit beyond collapsing humanity.

This path ? Man is made by Him, but the path is made through Himself! (Matthew 20:28). It is called The Truth, but sometimes The Way, and again, at other times, The Life; and again, Jesus the Christ.

The transport, this too is Jesus Christ, the Messiah, who having made the path itself, as He made man before it, can lose nothing of His own (Romans 8:29ff., John 10:27ff.).





Great Execrations ...Ch.   7; Barbs ...Appendix 3

Biblical Blessings Ch. 15, Extended Endnote 2,
Acme, Alpha and Omega ... Ch.  11,

With Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength Ch.   3    

The Magnificence of the Messiah, Endnote 1

Dastardly Dynamics ... Ch.  11,

SMR Ch. 6 and  Index,

The Kingdom of Heaven Ch.  9, Section 14,

Joyful Jottings Ch.  25, A Spiritual Potpourri  15, 16,

Stepping Out for Christ Ch.  5, Things Old and New Ch.  2, Excursion 2A;

Light of Dawn Ch.   3,

Beyond the Crypt ... Ch.   2;

Dizzy Dashes, Heady Clashes and the Brilliant Harmony of Inevitable Truth

Ch.   2;   Ch. 6 (with special reference to the New Zealand betrayal);

Spiritual Refreshings ... Chs. 5, 6,

Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Ch.    8 (on resurrection and Lazarus, yes and both with Jerusalem);

Let God be God Ch.  2  (contrasting Greek bodily terms) ;

The Frantic Millenium and the Peace of Faith Ch.   4



See for example:

 SMR Ch. 8, pp. 682ff.,1079ff., 915ff., 946ff., 857ff., 1037ff.,

Downfall by Defamation Chs.    5,    6.




Barbs  29, That Magnificent Rock Ch.  7,

A Spiritual Potpourri  1, 2, 3,

A Question of Gifts VI, p. 71;

News 122;

Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic Ch.     8 (the ludicrous misuse of the thought and term is exposed by ... children, first);

News 80,

Secular Myths and  Sacred Truth Chs. 7, 8

Earth Spasm Chs. 1, 7

Calibrating Myths ... Ch. 6.

History, Review and Overview Ch. 5,

Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Ch. 9,

and the tetrad,

 The gods of naturalism have no go!


*3 See SMR pp. 867ff..


*4 See:

The Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet Ch.   9 ,

NEWS 152 (truth does not invade, but it still prevails -
discussion in detail including the UN approach),

and  The Pitter-Patter ... C
h. 4, *2;

UN's Belligerent  Bias ... Racism miscued as Zionism: LIGHT  6;

UN as inadequate and imperilled by religious racism CELEARTH 13;

Divine Agenda Ch.    3

His Time is NEAR  5

with earth charter, religious summits: the UN and its trend  - It Bubbles ... Ch.  11,

with lordly controls based on nothing - Mystery of Iniquity

News  121.




Dawn of Light Ch. 6, End-Note *1It Bubbles ... Ch.  11,
Of the Earth, Earthy
Ch.  13


*6 See the multi-volume works:



and in particular, Repent or Perish Ch. 2, Christ the Wisdom of God ... Ch. 8.




SMR Ch.7, Section 4,

A Spiritual Potpourri  12,

Biblical Blessings  13,

Repent or Perish Ch.  7, Extension 3 ,

The Biblical Workman Ch.  7,

Spiritual Refreshings ... Ch.  15;

Sparkling Life ...Ch.  4Biblical Blessings Ch.   2 ,

Questions and Answers    3,

Christ the Wisdom of God ... Ch.  3;

Of the Earth, Earthy or Celestial in Christ Ch.  6;

The  True God has Go ... Ch.   5;

The Bright Light and the Uncomprehending Darkness Ch.  10



See SMR Ch. 6, pp.  468ff., 472ff., Red Alert Ch. 4, with Matthew Chs. 16-17 for example.




Youth 3,

The Desire of the Nations and the Crystalline Fire of the Faith Ch. 3,

Beauty for Ashes Ch. 3.

See also more generally, History, Review and Overview Chs.   4 and    5,

Aviary of Idolatry

Nothing Doing from Nothing,

Highway to Hell,

A and F Schools.


See also on Communism et al.:

Divine Agenda Ch. 6,

Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch.   8;
The Grating Grandeur ... Ch.   2;

SMR  pp. 925ff.;

Beauty for Ashes Ch.    6 (and Hong Kong, and the movement of nations in the last century a concern), with

News 98,

News 37.


See also on Romanism:  

Defamation of Deity *3 of Ch. 6,

SMR  pp. 1032-1088H, 906ff., 

Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Ch.   14

Three  Anzas, One Answer  Ch.    5,
The Frantic Millenium  Ch.   6 (News 101);
Secular Myths
... Ch.  8,  
Acme ...  Ch.    3,
Highway to Hell (various).


See on Islam:

More Marvels ... Ch.     4, esp.  *4

SMR   pp. 829ff. ,

Dancers, Prancers, Lancers and Answers Ch. 3, *1A

Lord of Life Ch.  3 (and force), 1081ff. (and faith), Outrageous Outages  ... Ch.   5

His Wounds Opened Eternity Ch.    4    3

Stepping Out for Christ Ch.    9,  

Tender Times for Timely Truth
Ch.    8 (in perspective), see also *1,

Divine Agenda Chs.    6 3 (an overview of religious truancies, including Marx, Darwin and Koran);

Highway to Hell (Koran citations in both, with ideational parallels in perspective,  in the former;  and in the latter,  futile depravities in endless ideologies such as Sudan has shown so significantly, Islam ablaze without glory),

Overflight in Christ Ch.
  1 (and the Koran's musings);

News 138Beauty for Ashes Chs.    4,   7


News 138Beauty for Ashes Chs.    4,   7,   SMR pp. 1074ff., esp. 1079

This shows this religion, with the other three major conspiracies  towards the ultimate - why conspiracies ? It is because men conspire, or breathe plans together for a control, rule or oversight not ordained by God: these are breaths of man, and the breath that matters is that of God, in and by which all scripture is inspired by Him (II Timothy 3:16, Isaiah 8:20), in the Book of the Lord (Isaiah 34:16), the Bible, and sustained and implemented by Him (Matthew 26:54ff.).

Other ideas for rule are never verified, never even valid (Repent or Perish Ch. 7, TMR Ch. 5, It Bubbles ... Ch.  9, *1A,  *2 ), and accordingly always unruly, since they always tend to use power for what neither reason nor truth compels. 



See for example:

SMR Chs. 8-9, Highway of Holiness  Chs. 8-10, The Pitter-Patter ... Ch. 4, Joyful Jottings 8.