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CHAPTER 6

LIBERTY
in the LORD
 

NOT LORDLY, NOT LIFELESS, BUT VIGOROUS AND VITAL
 
 

LORDS, LIVES AND LAXITIES

 

There is actually no other way to have it.

If you are lordly (I do not mean arrogant, just quietly self-assuming), then you are not free. Yourself is your barrier, height, width, depth, and that is totally degrading, when, made for and by God, you are so cheapened. If you are not 'typed' by the seduction to and in some sin, emotional, moral or personality oriented (such as love of autonomy, making you like an ass, very sure of itself, but the self? !), then you are intoxicated with your liberty, not seeing its frontiers, barriers, just finding them as you go. If you do not notice them, then your case is far advanced, and you are so used to your limits that you are unaware that it is the liberty of death which is your guardian, and the cast-iron of brittle abasement which is your prison.

If on the other hand, you are abased, weak and know it, have aspiration and ideals which in all realism you do not consider you can at all measure up to, then the power of life is lost and you are simply like dust sprayed about. Contrasted with our first case above, you are witless, and that one is woeful. You LACK and it is WITHOUT what it needs. Both meet in one: they do not have it. What it is, is the complement of personality which makes it meaningful, characterisable, content, contained but filled with a liberty which is past all assessment.

SINCE we are made in the IMAGE or if you like, fellowship potential with God, so that we can rove, think, muse, consider, estimate, draw moral lines, make ethical assessments, evoke thought on many topics, disperse it, relate its parts and synthesise, anatomise, think of spare parts and adjust for their entry into this or that system of thought, and so on, we have this all but delirious (in the sense that it can intoxicate to a witless self-assurance that is the enemy of truth) capacity. To many it becomes a sort of religion, the grand autonomy of the soul, the captain of fate, the marshall of elements, and the great lie of personal lordship is brought fruitlessly to fruition, a mere dried out and virtually juice-free piece of provocation that fails, though it may look good on the outside. Oranges like that are particularly disgusting.

The little god then arises, knows no theology, makes his/her way, the author of system (or the choice bundle that elects one), pandered to by the personality, an idol in the heart. It is just silly, a self-invention from a self which is without its moorings, its origin, its meaning, its base and its basis. Some of these wonder about 'who I am' and have nice little identity crises, and some just feel 'I am' and have reality collisions, since they are actually exceedingly dependent on exceedingly much, indeed on God the greatest overall and author, and can be dispatched by not breathing for a little, and then their lordly arrogance is just so much flush of face.

Again, it can work in the opposite direction for the pseudo-independent, or non God-dependent self. Being made for fellowship with God, with all these powers not only an elaborate way of finding no meaning but a falsetto folly that is only an exterior to no ultimate truth (so that the idol is in itself just a fiction, of necessity), without Him, then the person can feel defeated, or doomed, or deficient, defective, debased, weak, and collapse into circumstances, like a stick in a river current, or be broken while weakly trying to bear with them, simply borne along where it is to go. When a person is a stick, that of course is degradation. It would not be so, for a stick!

Philosophies tune in, accordingly. Some would be autonomous, like the first case, some determinist, like the second. Not only is their deficiency obvious, since neither  covers all the facts; but they simply reflect operational procedure, as it is exaggerated in the distortions of the glass of unreality: the stick is a determinist and the orange is a propounder of the autonomous, sacred self, or whatever of the numerous variants freely floating about. Call it surreal, but it is still not real.

Here you may find it helpful, in the religious domain, to inspect the would-be passengers on the Air Journey, as portrayed in "On Stand-By, Not in Flight", found in A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 17. There are plenty of variants there, so interesting, so pathological in the main, so NOT IN FLIGHT, though aerodynamically built! It is a sadness, multiplied when false ideologies, vacant of truth, rule.
 

  • The Biblical pattern and potential, definition of terms -
  • (WE are defined in a term, MAN, or mankind, or person if you like, except that we are in that trilogy binding, soul - life, with mind and spirit in a body, which is a special product of the Almighty, so weak, incredibly so, so strong, remarkably so, at best) -
  • has it all covered.


THE SERENDIPITY OF SCIENTIFIC METHOD IN THE AREA,
AS USUAL

(cf. That Magnificent Rock Ch. 1, SMR Chs. 4,5,8-9, and pp. 140ff., 145ff. and 934ff.)

In terms of scientific method, you can apply this pattern, definition, delineation of mankind wherever you like in all philosophy (reflecting states within, or thoughts about states within, or substitutes in system for states within that the writer would rather not face, and so on - the human heart is desperately wicked, as Jeremiah 17:9 reports, and only God knows it, though we can see some of its performances). You can apply it in all psychology (and we have done much of both, as in SMR Chs. 1,3,10, and 4), and it explains it all, the errors and the motives for them. You can face with it, and the word of God in scripture, all the 'problems' they meet systematically, ending in alogisms and meanders that go nowhere (cf. Prerdestination and FreewillPart IV

for example), and constitute a sort of bog for thought: and the word of God enables their complete dissolution, dispersion, solution.

That is the way of it when you have the right answer. It is so in mathematics. You have the wrong one and oh what an enormity of difficulty, for nothing meets its mate, nothing matches, every endeavour to gain the total solution is balked, so that some might say, 'There is no solution'! - until you turn to the correct pattern and process in the first place.

The spiritual equivalent to that balking is the sceptic and the cynic (cf. SMR Ch. 3). Knowing that nothing is knowable at their level, they then break it at once by KNOWING THAT! It is all so silly, really, and it is no comment on any individual to say so, any more than it is when one says that some pneumonia patient is delirious. That is the way the disease affects the body; and this is the way it affects the mind.

There is no health without God; and God provides the basis for the understanding of all things in His word (as exemplified in SMR Ch. 5 and in history, as in SMR Chs. 8-9). You get it from Him, in His word, in the life which is lived inside Christ, the Creator who performed that exceptionally magnificent work of putting Himself into (if you like) the space suit called man and coming to our little universe which He made, in person. No more mere thought, though thought is never satisfied as we have repeatedly demonstrated, without Him, but LIFE is before us. No more museums of religion, past, fusty, but a walking exhibition of life, from its Maker, human life, as it OUGHT to be, as it is in the Author's power to show it. From Him, it must be taken, or the residue of non-connection is rather like a radio without electricity. You can stroke its mahogany woodwork (types of old!), you can regard the lustre of its colour, but you do not get the words! or the music! That is all.
 
 

HEARING AND FACING THE MUSIC

In life, when you do not get the words or music, being dead, then of course you must in the end FACE the music, for it is THERE, and deafness makes you rather like a pilot, in war-time (for it is ALWAYS war-time, and though the Christian has peace in his/her heart, there is the work of soldiering always to be done - Ephesians 6, until Christ comes to collect us from this experimental farm called the world, this conscription hall, of fame or infamy, depending on the case - cf. Psalm 110). You do not even KNOW what you are supposed to be doing, and in war-time, that is a criminal offence, since the equipment is simply not turned ON! It becomes rebellion, whether overweaning self-confidence makes (or seems to make) orders unnecessary, or defeated weakness makes them too much! The result is one. Failure.

But we are talking about liberty, and in doing so have looked to the basis of its definition, which explains all its facets and woes and ways, marvels and admirable feats quite readily (cf. Predestination and Freewill). It has wonderful MEANING beyond ourselves too, as you would expect, since God our Maker is beyond ourselves, and the author is beyond the book, which let me share with you as author, is something which does NOT, repeat NOT write itself! (cf.
That Magnificent Rock Chs.  1,  8, A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 1-3, 9). Symbols do not invent themselves, do not ascribe meaning to the definition pool, do not of their own accord issue orders and do not integrate the plan and schematise the unity, or formulate the meaning and purpose. They are part of a production which does all that, together, simply because it has what it takes, and has a mind to do so, and a will to execute business, and power of performance to enact it, and purpose in hand for the labour.

Liberty! It is higher than the clouds, for they move with the wind, and it moves by desire, will, or even understanding, at its height. Liberty! its nobility is this, that as an aspect of MANKIND and the POWER DONATED to the same, it can soar, or ditch, it can be the wind of scum, the mist of delight, the wonder of purity or the depravities of shame. It can marry the word of truth or divorce from the Prince of Reality. But wait!

It is no prince itself! If the marriage to truth is to occur, it is as a derivative, a product, enmeshed, enshrined, embodied in a way, with what it has ALREADY DONE! It is not an atom in a swirl, but an item in a wardrobe. It is worn this way or that. It is dirtied, torn or depraved ( one still remembers driving someone who had lost a licence, in his car, which smelt so bad that it was very difficult not repeatedly to vomit). Like that car, liberty bears within the domain of spirit, of which it is a function - that roving, desiring, comprehending capacity of man - the marks of its prior works! It needs cleaning before being operable, or even tolerable! (Cf. SMR Ch. 4 and pp. 570-594, 611ff.)

RESPONSIBILITY is the other side of liberty. Deadness - like that in an elbow when the bone is impacted at the significant point - is no defence. If you have hit it, that is your fault, and all the products of the impact are likewise attributable to you. Useless to plea bargain, saying, I am not perfect, I was not made perfect, DO NOT BLAME ME! You are to be blamed, for your very BIRTH in imperfection, so justly here noted, is a CONDITION for which there is a CURE, in this, that you may come to know the ONE who IS perfect, your Author, and do commerce with Him, so that you are then in competent hands, those of the Lord. His wonder is not least in this, that it is not HIS desire that you should resemble the stick in the current. It is His wish that you should be a new creation, made in the Image of the One who in the first place made the race, which fell, and needs uplifting, one by one. For NOT being uplifted, YOU are responsible, for THIS is a use of liberty.

But again, wait! YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for this breach of your condition by not consulting the spiritual doctor, who is ONE ONLY, Jesus Christ, who came to provide the payment to enable you so much as to business in His office at all! It is called the ransom (Matthew 20:28), and is not more theoretical than Christ is. It is the fact. It is to be accepted as payment for misused life in WHATEVER dimension of error, state, or statement, condition or consequence.  This is true; but it is not all the truth.

YOU CANNOT select Christ. HE SAID: You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you (John 15). Paul puts it, NOT of man who wills, but of God who shows mercy. John has it, of those born into the kingdom, that it is NOT of blood (station, heritage, superiority of any kind, mere variability of human condition), NOR of the will of the flesh (basic capacities and powers of your enduement), NOR of the will of man (decisions, choices), BUT OF GOD (John 1:13).
 
 

LIBERTY, LOVE AND MEANING MEET
AS IN A CONFLUENCE OF STREAMS

What then! you declare. A fine 'solution' this is! You are responsible, but cannot choose! Hand me a sleeping tablet, for that would perhaps surpass listening to you!

But again, consider. If your fever makes you delirious, of COURSE you cannot choose the remedy. Delirium DENIES to you the rationality of reality. That is what it IS. But are you in spirit delirious if not IN Christ ? Worse. You are dead (Ephesians 2), and alienated from the life of God (Ephesians 4:17-19). Dead people are not well equipped for artistic selections, or indeed, for any TO THE POINT of their death. THIS death is to God, His ways and His vitality. You CANNOT, simply cannot be your own physician in sickness to death!

So what ? As noted many times, it is GOD's choice, for He even predestinates you to Him, or not (as in Ephesians 1:1-11, Romans 8:29ff.), and that is that. BUT He ALSO indicates that HE WOULD HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED AND TO COME TO A KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH (I Tim. 2), a fact reflected so clearly and categorically in Colossians 1:19ff., where it is the Father's disposition to reconcile ALL things, in heaven and in earth, to Himself through the blood, the sacrificial death of Christ.

There is not a problem logically, but there is sure to be one psychologically, for if you do not TRUST HIM, then HOW can you rest in this. If on the other hand, you already trust in Him, and in His word, and so in the God who has evidenced Himself and insists that He alone has done this (as is the repeatedly demonstrated case, from SMR on, on this site), then you are in Christ already.
Problem ? But its solution is simplicity itself. Listen.

YOUR trust or lack of it has no influence whatever on the powers and prowess of God. It does not DIS-ENABLE HIM, or His quality control. HIS willingness to save, plus His almighty character, means of necessity that if in the way He wants it, you are NOT saved, it is NOT because you are too bad, or too lazy spiritually, or any such thing, no, nor too frisky to catch up with! It means very simply and securely that if in love He is satisfied you are to be His, and that this does not violate that love, for GOD IS LOVE (I John 4:8), if in truth: then you will be REGENERATED and so desire Him as such. If on the other hand, it would violate His principles, so that you would be a mere formatted spiritual being, brought in harassment to Himself, and that was the only way, THIS would not be a person but a punch-card! THAT is not and cannot be salvation. It is NOT dependent in any sense on your own will; but is IS dependent on the fact that you are in HIS IMAGE, this being a FACT, and that only as such can you be saved.

You are on a boat, and it overturns. Your clothing is wrapped about the oars and rowlocks, so that there is an inextricable complication. Along comes the life-saver, the waves roaring, and your body only so strong to withstand (cf. Genesis 6:3, II Timothy 4:3-4, I Timothy 4:2). He can readily tear your limbs away, but THAT, it is not salvation. Without your heart, you are only lumps!

So here. If GOD in His foreknowledge, not of your works, but of your life as such, knows you as His, and HIS inclination IS POSITIVE, but not mere violence! - then come you will.  Your will is out of it, being too sick to see (as in I Corinthians 2:14). Indeed, as Paul puts it from the Lord in inspiration, your natural, unconverted nature CANNOT receive the things of God. In ITS OWN state, alienated from the actuality of God, this is the way it is. That is the disease. That is its nature, its problem which ONLY THE MAKER can solve. It is the same with cars and at times computers. ONLY the manufacturer can supply the need. HE ONLY has the part. With man, this is so with a vengeance, and vengeance indeed is the fate of those who WILL NOT come.

Again, will not! Yes if you do not WANT it, why complain. If you DO, then come. If you say, I want it but cannot make myself take it, then be realistic. GOD WOULD HAVE YOU SAVED, as to attitude, then ALL you have to do is call upon His name and in the desperation which has nowhere else to go, no one else to call on, as in someone drowning at sea, rely on Him. You WILL if you want Him with all your heart; and if your heart is divided, ask Him to overcome that too, and rely on Him to do that. But if you say, No! frankly I would never rely on Him, then out of your own mouth it has come. You reject the faithful Creator, and dismiss Him from your thoughts. You are NOT failing to get what you would like to have; you merely dismiss it sovereignly.

Now that, it is the interesting thing. This is something you CAN do with the will; this is a NON-paralysis situation. The distemper prevents your crocheting, or doing surgery with steady hand, but it does NOT dismiss that imperiousness of pride which asserts itself. That is yours only, and as an inheritance, it is merely matter for judgment. Yes it is judged already (John 3:18). You CAN indeed say NO!

Indeed, it is all as it were, filmed; and we ourselves have closed circuit TV's to watch, and store information in vast pools almost effortlessly, or at least increasingly with little difficulty! God's eyes behold and try the children of men, we read, and there is NOTHING hidden from His eyes (Hebrews 4:13 , Psalm 11:4-5): " ... there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."
 


Let us look then at the situation in salvation.
 
 

RESPONSIBILITY IS A BEAUTIFUL THING,
PLACED WHERE IT BELONGS

But now, we look at the emplacement of the persons in Christ. You are saved, and you have called on the name of the Lord. From what, precisely, are you saved ?
 

There is much more, but as to liberty, our topic, our current field, there is this. This liberty in itself is meaningless (cf. Predestination and Freewill Part I), and that is why so many philosophers have so very much to say about this sort of thing, when they try to view it, as if it were not a matter of coherence under the head. ALL your heart, gifts, talents, perceptions, spirit must be related as so many components, and as one unity indeed when HE integrates them (as in Psalm 86:11), to Himself, who, having created them for just that, then co-operates with the now saved being, as the bees with the flowers, as the flowers with their vast bouquets on the rustic hills. There is liberty of design then, and as you WANT Him, there is TOTAL liberty in these things.

But there is still more. IF and WHEN this is the case, then, rather like driving in a lawful fashion on the roads of the country, you have access to individuality, not as an idol to be sought, but as a resultant of LIVING where you should. It comes by LOSING what you might grasp, and LIVING as friend of God, who being infinitely greater than is any one of us, confers such perception, conception, comprehension, meaning and wonder in His own presence, that our little lives without Him seem all but ludicrous. With Him, their meaning and reality appears, as the wind goes through the hair on a bike, when the hill is beautiful, the scenery better and the clouds drift in their grandeurs, by the coastal terrain. It is then MORE of liberty to be with the One who is Lord, since He has CREATED us to be free, and "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (II Cor. 3:17-18). Part of that liberty is to be moulded to be more like Him.

This is not that truly terrible moulding by culture and so forth, which is the lot of the lost, and the depravity of the dead, spiritually. It is a modelling, as by an expert and loving sculptor, to make the image better and better. To be a friend of God, means to be a person with individuality, who does not cling to it, and for that reason, is able without such foolish and selfish pre-occupations, to know it and find it all the more. Thus, "He who desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake, and the gospel's, shall keep it!" makes immediate sense to the ear that listens, in the realities of life (Mark 8:35).

Liberty! it is a wonderful thing. However, taken apart without its station and status, apart from the Lord, it is like a dam that is burst, and its great turbulence and affirmation is noise and destruction in the end.

In our theme, let us apply this: pall of smoke and diamond of joy... The turbulence like smoke, the meaninglessness (not that it is really meaningless, just so disjointed, like every arm and leg out of its socket, that it is an abortion of what it should be and a mockery of its design), is in the lust, desire, selfish ambition, ambition for self, you name it, that flecks the land with its disintegrative bits. This is the smoke of selves without their Maker, and religionists who in confusion and profusion, ignore the design which is His alone, including the salvation monumentally necessary for its restoration (as in Ephesians 4:24) and monolithically available in Christ (John 14:6, Ephesians 1:10, Galatians 1).

HE is the Rock (Psalm 62:1-3, Psalm 18:31, Deuteronomy 32), there is not any other; HIS is the salvation, there is no more. Whatever IS GOD, is the rock; and what is sinful is NOT GOD.
God is one; and as we are integrable by His redeeming power (a sort of super-surgery, which binds instead of cutting), so He, never apart, has but one sort of restoration, to one image, His own, by one means, one method, one Person, His Son whom He sent for the purpose. Such an atrocity and blasphemy is it to suggest other means, that this is to denigrate the cross, cast aspersions on the glory, derogate the love, infiltrate the mercy and in the words of the Bible, tread under foot the blood of Christ and crucify Him afresh for themselves. It is not commendable; and not recommended. (Hebrews 1:6, 10:29). "It is," says Hebrews 10:31 accordingly, "a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." It is FAR worse when it is mere wilfulness against reason, reality and a love that has no match, demonstrated, consummated, which leads to this.

The pall of smoke is here.

The diamond ? You see, when that design is restored, and that format is acquired, and those surfaces are duly in place, though they may seem at first sight to be so RESTRICTIVE, yet it is PRECISELY then that the glints, the gleams, the flashes, the sparkle, the luminosities of loveliness appear, and do so stably, and in such a style that a sense of wonder can be evoked. But then again, it is the MODELLER who makes it so, and without him, the diamond is so much less; and without the light, it is in all TOTALLY in vain. Christ, the Creator who came, the Redeemer who paid, the One who made and can remake, He is the light of the world, though it may in the main prefer, yes and does, the darkness that envelops (John 1), for the light shines, but the darkness glowers, lowers without power, but in evil surmise. In Him, to the uttermost divergence from all of this, the diamonds He crafts are filled with light (Luke 11:34-36).
 


"The lamp of the body is the eye. When your eye is sound, your whole body is lighted up;
but when your eye is bad, your body is dark. Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. If, however, your whole body is full of light, and has no part dark, it will be lighted all of it, as when the lamp with its bright shining gives you light."


(Weymouth has some useful aspects in his translation here.)