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CHAPTER 7

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
IS it not immoral to have unconditional love ?

This is the substance of our next question which reached us from a far country.

When the matter is examined Biblically,
we find that from a textual analysis of what is the SUBSTANCE of this in the Bible,
it would be decidedly immoral if it were otherwise.

Indeed, here is the very height and pith of morality.
To whom however does it Biblically apply ?

PART I
 

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

AND UNLOVED CONDITIONS

This is a topic of philosophy. It can also occur in religion. In Christianity, the Biblical truth from God, revealed in incarnation, expressed in demonstration and power, indited in history according to prophecy, found in life according to spirituality, known in godliness, for those who know God have within them the Christ, whose Spirit imparts, moulds, draws, exhorts and blesses: it is what it is.

It is not something generalised and glutinised with the glue of starchy ooze. In other words, where are these words found in the Bible ?  If however they are implied, it is in terms which are given, not inserted. When Paul in Romans 8:29ff., gives the beginning and the end of Christian life in the foreknowledge and predestination of God, and then proceeds to ask - "What shall separate us from the love of God," speaking to the saints in Rome at that time, his words show what they show, not some philosophy to which they must conform.

What however do they show ? They indicate that those who he has been describing, denoting and exhorting, the Christians in Rome, are of a particular character, have proceeded from a particular work of God, have been justified by faith in the blood of Christ, have within them the testimony of the Spirit of God, that they through and because of Christ are the children of God (Romans Chs. 5 and 8); and what more does he say to them, concerning this life in Christ, which follows from Christ in you (Colossians 1:27), the hope of glory ?

He says this:

  • "And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you" - Romans 8:10-11.

What sort of life will this supernatural resident presidency within the life of the saint of God,
what kind of vitality, morality, spirituality, will it provide ? -

and we note that the saints, Biblically, are those called, who have come to Christ by faith, with repentance to life  - Acts 11:18, Romans 1:1-7, Ephesians 1:1, Philippians 1:1), the One who did it and not some ecumenical transfusion (Luke 2:36, II Cor. 11), not some 'other Jesus' with some 'other Gospel' and some 'other spirit' as Paul puts it decisively!

It is necessary to read the reality of the covenant in Christ (as in Matthew 26:28) to find the definitive expression of this in the word of God. It is, after all, this which is being called to question even if it is with some philosophic phraseology. We see what the phrase 'unconditional love' seems to mean, and then see how it could relate to the Bible. Very well, let us see.

Romans 8:13-14 has this:

  • "For 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 the sons of God."

Life in liberty is life in love; and if the flesh fights against the spirit, then the spirit also fights against the flesh (Galatians 5:17). What then ? "And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" - Galatians 5:24. This is a permanent, if dynamically wrought condition - Galatians 2:20 involves the Greek perfect tense concerning being CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST, indicating a continuing condition resultant from an initial action. This is the way it is with Christ.
(Cf. Joyful Jottings 16, Section 3, Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 3, Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium Ch. 7.)

None of us is remotely like perfect, but then neither do we sit in sin, sip and sup with it; and that in fact is just ONE of the reasons for our cry for separation from what is demonstrably in rebellion against the word of God. You cannot talk with the enemy over morning tea and biscuits while he reviles your Commander or mocks His words. Thus Romans 16:17 in its requirement not to associate with but rather to AVOID false religionists who make divisions against apostolic teaching, Biblical truth, is not a suggestion. It is law. Law ? Of course, if a wife loves her husband, is it folly and horror to consider OBEYING his just requests ? And if God commands, is He unjust! Is that faith ? If other is taught, that has nothing to do with Christianity.

Here one regards, inter alia,  Luke 6:46  "Why do you call Me, Lord, Lord, and not do the things which I say?" ... ONE Lord is decidedly NOT the same as NONE!  - Ephesians 4:5 (cf. Isaiah 26:13).

But the question which we are now answering is HOW the BIBLE relates to the phrase 'unconditional love'. Clearly to find out, we do not put words into the mouth of God, but rather read and then apply them.

Is there then something immoral about being crucified with Christ ? Is it immoral to find, with Paul, that it would be unthinkable to follow the flesh and so live ? Is it in some way repugnant to some sort of morals drawn from the marvellous reservoirs of human pride and pomp, philosophy and presumption, which in fact has NO ground for ANY morals but convenience and custom, psychology and occurrences, which being mere outworkings of withins, have no status as moral: is it WRONG to find yourself crucified to the world, and the world crucified to you which is the Christian norm and perspective - Galatians 6:14-16. Let us hear it.

  • "God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy upon them, and upon the Israel of God."

Is it immoral to find your Creator dwelling in your heart by His Spirit and so directing your paths in His spiritual realities that you love His word, His way, so that we have  "faith working by love" - Galatians 5:6. Surely there are wars, for in this world there is a certain warfare, multi-dimensional, spiritual and profound (Ephesians 6 specialises on this); and this has issuance in the end which fast approaches (see Ch. 5 above).

The wars must be fought in the power of the life of Christ; and the weaponry is provided. Like the second front of 1944, it leads on to victory. But it has a march in-between. This is the march of testimony; and the King leads on, to victory as surely predicted as the incarnation. In the midst of the march, His soldiers work, BECAUSE they are His, not in order to be His. Being His, they have His power, His life, His presence, to inspire, to fire and to sustain.
 

  • It is then immoral to find morality ? Is it immoral to find that supernatural truth by which alone morality has anything more to offer than convention ? Is it wrong to find right ? Is righteousness to be condemned from human resources which merely operate in the midst of their milieu and know nothing but what appeals, is desired, seems ? Is God to be condemned because He created, or man because He follows Him!


But you say: That is fine. However, it is the misfits, the fidgets, the hypocrites, those who do not in fact, and let us add, emphatically do not, walk in this way who are the butt of the question. HOW could anything be called moral when such as Judas Iscariot walk the globe, and look at Jude, raging waves foaming out their own shame he calls some! (See News 43.)How is this moral that such miscreants should inhabit the globe, many of them calling themselves Christians!
Moral ? That! you ask...

If you would care, however, to read Acts 1:15-20, you will find the inglorious end of Judas Iscariot, and if you read further in Psalm 69, and 109, where these quotations in Acts are taken, you will find interminable exclusion from God in contempt. There ARE hypocrites. They WILL be numerous. They are amid the fabrications of fancy (cf. I Timothy 4, II Timothy 3), not the substance of the faith. II Peter 2 shows that MANY will "make merchandise of you", and that many will come from within the Church, and will bring in "damnable heresies". Is it then a comment on democracy that Hitler was elected! Or is it a failure to exercise liberty with wisdom! If this is so politically, how much more so spiritually, where the liberties which make politics possible derive.

       In fact Paul faces this very folly of hypocrisy (which does not have to include continuing self-consciousness of the evil! - as in Matthew 7:21). In Romans 6:15 and other verses, up to 8:9, we find this teaching:

       "What then ? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound ? Certainly not!


How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it ? ...
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him,
that the body of sin might be done away with,
that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
For he who has died has been freed from sin...

"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus
has made me free from the law of sin and death...

For to be carnally minded is death,
but to be spiritually minded is life and peace... So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed, the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His."


Eternal life, the life in Christ ? It is a complete gift (Romans 5:15, 3:23ff., 6:23); but like all gifts, it has a nature (cf. Romans 8:2). The nature of this gift is this, that your pardon procures peace with God, and God dwells in you by His Spirit, whose power is present, while the presence of the Saviour is health and life and strength.
 
 

BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY
AS IT APPLIES TO THE CONCEPT IN THE QUESTION

That is Biblical Christianity. It is either or ... you have Christ or you do not (I John 5:12, 3:9).

You are in the spirit or in the flesh.
You are born of God or you are not.
If you are born, then you are alive, and if alive, then you grow (II Peter 1, 5:18, II Cor. 3:18).

You are inhabited and transformed, because His is your life, and He is within it; or else you are not.

If you do not have this, then you are not His (Romans 8:9, I John 5:12). Christ is the only condition of unconditional love; but you must have Him.

If you do have Him, then the condition is fulfilled, but so is the power, the presence and the function.


What then is immoral about hypocrites ? about those who presume in the flesh and do not perform that vast laboratory activity through the grace of God, of finding the Lord, and being found by Him, walking in the strength of His salvation ? Some fall on some occasion, like Peter ? Very well, some have accidents and recover in hospital. Peter's hospital was not least as shown in John 21:15-18, but it began as in Luke 22:61, when the Lord "looked upon Peter" who went out and wept bitterly at his failure on that occasion. It was a great failure. It is a great Lord. The sin ? It was forgiven, and Peter restored in scenes of great gravity. He did not repeat, as far as is known!

Is it immoral to forgive ?

Is hospital an error ? Should those who become sick, be slaughtered ? Is THAT 'moral' ? Christianity is not of this world. It is neither slack as if those who are in the flesh are in the Spirit: for as Paul shows above in Romans 8, if you do not have His Spirit, you are none of His, and if you do, then "the body is dead because of sin" and "the Spirit is life because of righteousness"; nor is it harsh, like those who show no pity, nor proffer mercy.

Therefore it is

v           neither the totalitarian impersonalism of Communism, which slaughters by the million, even 'good Communists' without mercy,

v           nor the laxity of socialistic humanism,

but it has

v           a discipline which is immersed in love, and

v           a purity which is imparted by the Presidential presidency of Christ, who being God, has unlimited power to mould and to refine.

 

Indeed, refinement is one of the chief features of the Christian life (I Peter 1:6-7). Moreover, here we find that many TRIALS are to PURIFY. Motives and hedonistic trends are all exposed. Realities are composed.


The tests are not without end or meaning. They have results.

   God without God, is indeed a mess. That is the way of false religion. It is nominal and not phenomenal. It is verbal and not victorious. It is moral without morality, words without power.

This is the nadir from which Christian life is the zenith. It is as irrelevant as would be the chiding that there is nothing to be found but deadness and blackness in a house, all wired up, but without power. Is that the fault of electricity, if it is not switched on ? Is the power company bogus because the power is not connected ? On the contrary, the absence of power is in contrast to its presence, and it speaks! What does it speak ? Of presumption to name the company and not to be connected.

So has Paul outlined the realities of the Christ connection, when it starts in blood, continues in covenant, is consummated in Christ's indwelling presence, is harboured in pardon, found in power and wrought in love.

'UNCONDITIONAL LOVE' AND WHERE IT APPLIES ...

That, then, the question, is a phraseological fashioning. What does it mean ? Many possibilities occur, but when it is related to the Bible, it means just this: that IF you are Christ's, and SO of NECESSITY have His Spirit, and are a CHILD of God, then there is no end to the love, and nothing will ever separate you from it, any more than from the various disciplines which your various slippages may require (Hebrews 12:7-12). This chastening, child-training is what is ALWAYS found in Christians, to the point that if it is NOT found, then it is clear that the 'child' is not with a Father at all, and is a mere illegitimate (Hebrews 2:8):

"If you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons".

       Is chastening 'immoral' ? There are those who think so, and these have no relationship to the kingdom of heaven, which is strong on this topic to the point that its omission is one's life, is also an omission of the person FROM that kingdom.

       What then ? There are standards, and it is imperative that they be kept, and if they are not,
then there is given what is needed, and the means are numerous. Even Paul, at some time beginning (without knowing it, of course) to trust in himself, is brought to virtual distraction so that he be reminded of the realities and comes in renewed intensity and practicality in all things, to  rely on the Lord with a more peaceable assurance and total trust!  Yes, as in a tennis match, there are times when concentration may wander somewhat, and one needs to be coached, reminded, and if need be reminded by various heavinesses (as in I Peter 1:6).
 

  • For Paul, by his own hand, II Corinthians 1 traces out his crisis, which was like a fever, and passed from him, through the merciful intervention of the Lord, who being within him, was well able to help, heal and restore him.
  • Christianity is a religion of practicality and power, of purity and reproof, of growing and showing, and knowing the presence of the Lord. Indeed, in Jeremiah 9:23, we find (for God does not change) -
  • " 'Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
  • Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
  • But let him who glories, glory in this,
  • That he understands, and know Me,
  • That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth,
  • For in these I delight," says the Lord."


 

THE HEIGHT AND ESSENCE OF MORALITY
(excerpt adapted from Biblical Blessings Appendix III)

Thus we find that the unconditional love is what applies to those who have received the covenant, which is the condition of acceptance, freely, for the sake of Christ, indeed the covenant in His blood. Once that CONDITION (for there is NO OTHER DOOR - John 10:1-10, 14:6, Galatians 1) applies, and you are IN the FOLD (John 10:9), then you KNOW the Lord and are His sheep and follow Him and know His voice. A shepherd, then, he makes no difference to his sheep ? Not if he is skilled in hand, sound in heart and no mere nominal appointment! when GOD is your shepherd the difference is without limit. Yes, there IS A CONDITION: the CONDITION OF FREE ENTRY. IT MUST BE MET.

IF YOU ARE NOT HIS, and this is the preference (John 3:16-18): then you go where you belong, in the end of it all. Our topic however is what relates to the Bible; and what is not HIS, is not sustained in the everlasting love which HE IS, since without Him, you of course are without what HE IS! (John 3:19-36). (For reflection on the depths, heights and breadth of the love of God, as in Colossians 1:19-23 and Romans 8, Ephesians 3 and many other revelations of it: see Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium Chs. 9, 10, 11 and 12 and Index on Love of God, plus SMR Index on Love. There is nothing stifling or unreal about the love of God, neither the perquisite of aristocrats nor the domain of the powerful, the artful, the wheedlers or the dealers: it is pure, elemental, indeed in the heart of the One who made ALL elements. )

Put differently, as a child of God you have the best Father there is, divine, who became human in the person of His word (Philippians 2), therefore providing His only begotten Son, brightness of His glory and express image of His Person. Thus on receiving this, Jesus Christ,  in repentance by faith, as He is, and hence His word, for it is His, you then have as your Father, He whose dynamic and deity are alike, on their own. For God is One and we who are human are His in this sense, that He made us (Psalm 100); but when restored to His presence, we are His as spiritual children, and we find in Him, the ONLY morality there is, and what a morality it is.

Indeed, ONLY in a supernatural absolute can ANY morality be found, for then only is there

1)   the standard which is not the mere social, psychic or personal expression of what is desired, but rather a true law and a real commission for standards according to design of the Creator and

2) the capacity to know this standard, these principles, God's ways, for He is personal,  without the warping of desire, the witlessness of limitation and WITH the perspective of truth which is what it is, not filtered by the conditions of creation. Then believing His word, we find also in propositional form, what is His will, His righteousness, His desire.

But when you DO know, and HAVE found God, what then ?

In this is the love of God demonstrated. "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" - Romans 5:6. We are looking not a little,  at the sanctify of the result; but first let us consider the love itself, the moral eminence, the incomparable morality, the spirituality of eminence, the love of unutterable peaks and majesty, which would so lower itself to gain those who, depraved in delusion or deprived in self-made follies - which are the worse if Pharisaical and self-assurance even in the presence of the only righteous One.

Love that would ... Lower itself ? come so low as to find out and bear the sin of those who receiving His diagnosis, accept His covenant in His own blood, the just for the unjust to bring us to God (II Peter 3:18).

In this, then, is the second profound and unique morality. Not only is it OBJECTIVE MORALITY, which is no mere product of the proud imagination of flesh; it is HEARTENING poverty of Spirit on the part of Him whose it is: in it is found commitment of life, sacrificial nobility, fearless realism, transforming power, incalculable purity that stands unbowed before the deluge of the sin of finite creatures like ourselves. It is past and greater than all morality, but not less; for it is here that morality finds its name, the outcome of design, the word of the design, and as to that, what an expedition (Colossians 1:19ff.), into flesh to pursue with purity and to pronounce with finality, absolution from absolute sin. Indeed, it does this even for relative beings receiving truth from the mouth of the First and the Last, Himself submitting to mockery in His labours of love and dedication of sacrifice,  to make life more than a sour joke or a profound delusion, for those who love the truth.
 

So the way is shown. Then those who receive Him become the children of God (John 1:1-14).

As a child of God, what then ?

The RESULT is what adoption is: you are categorically given a place you did not have and could not earn (Romans 6:23, 5:15, I Thessalonians 5:9). You are re-generated into the family of God by a seed that lives for ever and is incorruptible ( I Peter 1:23), and that "remains in you" (I John 3:9), and accordingly, you have RESERVED an inheritance "incorruptible and undefiled, and that does not fade away" (I Peter 1:4), so that you NOW HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.
 

  • To believe less is to deny the scriptural, to decry the Christian status. It is a matter for the dubious, is doubtful and dithery, when the word of God is "yea and amen" (II Cor.1) in Christ Jesus; and it is remiss, in that God is generous and gracious and true.

THIS is what God teaches through His word. Unbelief can believe what it will; this is what is written. This is what is verified, for indeed One did come back to tell us. And what He told and did before He left, merely confirms the word continually confirmed, unexceptionally confirmed, confirmed within and confirmed without, and this without exception.
 

  • Once given place, you OPERATE as a child of God (cf. Isaiah 61:3, I John Chs. 1, 3, 5, Romans 6). You do not try to accomplish what God has already given. That is to insult God and to ignore His offer; it is to cast your doubt and not your faith to the point, whether you understand at all, or not; since you do not simply accept what God has given.

 

FAITH is what you use constantly, since it is a first birthday present, present at birth, and what does faith do, precisely this: it accepts what is given, both in state and status, both in statute and divine sovereignty, both in power and in peace. This is what is in the household of faith: FAITH! It is a lively thing, and lives from the One on whom it relies, the objective One who speaks and acts for those who wait for Him (Isaiah 64:4-5).

THEN, let us come to the CONTRAST:

you do not need to assert or gain your importance (by grabbing or adding to your saved status, or toppling others to gain theirs), or so to obtain what you did not get, since God and God alone is the giver (James 1:17, Romans 11:33, Matthew 6:31-32, 7:7-12, Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 2:11-14, 3:4-7). Indeed this is in line with just what James says (4:1-3, 1:17): What is the underlying genesis of fightings and wars? Ask and get from God; and if you ask for your lusts, then you do not receive, lacking faith. WAR has a basis in people not getting what they should from where they should, and then trying to force it.

WHAT DO YOU DO?*1   Being a child of God, you ACT like it, WORK like it, LOOK like it, FEEL like it. In particular, you don't look to "Nature" or "historical process" or to "moral works" or "biological motions, commotions or magic" as your base. History is going not to inept, deceitful Communism, by some historical magic that is not seen, just as biology is not going by some magic process, or society. Not by juggernauts of steel, stealing the show, but by the strength and salvation of the Lord, exceedingly costly to HIM, comes the Kingdom of God.

It is not manipulable

by self-serving "good" morals as payment in part or whole (I Peter 1:18-19),

or shameless "bad" ones,

but presidentially institutionalised by the sacramental sovereignty of God, and in and through Jesus Christ who is Lord, and who said,

  • "My kingdom is not of this world, otherwise my servants would fight."

It is won by God, comes from God, is ordered by God, Christ Himself, the sinless Saviour whose goings are from eternity, personally its head, in whom is neither sin nor greed, but whose is integrity and love in a wonder of understanding matching the heart of the Creator (cf. Micah 5:1-3, Psalm 72, and Ezekiel 34, with Isaiah 40:10, 11:1-10 where God Himself prophesied He would come as the Good Shepherd, which he did - John 10). It is applied by His Spirit and superintended by Himself (Romans 8:1-11).

The wilful failure to act on what He said, leading on to His professional murder, need not now be shared by ANYONE, for EVERYONE is called upon to repent and receive Him, believing in Him and operating by faith according to His word, neither adding nor subtracting. The murder is past; to retrace it spiritually is unwise (cf. Hebrews 10:29, John 3:18-19, 7:17).

It is time to follow the ONLY WAY that works, with the ONLY PERSON ON EARTH (who came and returns) who SAVES in the ONLY GOSPEL ever given, the everlasting Gospel, which has the power of God, in the love of God which never fails (Romans 8:28ff.). Then He TEACHES*2 (Matthew 28:19-20) with the same zeal as that with which He saves; for in HIM, in Christ, a human person is brought back to God, to the ONE WHO HE IS, the I AM who always has been will be, to HIS WORD therefore, which is not just this episode or that, but as Paul tells Timothy:

  • "ALL scripture is given by God and is profitable for instruction in righteousness..." (II Timothy 3:16), and again we read concerning the very ways of the Kingdom of Heaven from the very lips of the Lord:
  • "Do not think I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For assuredly I tell you, till heaven and earth pass away, one joy or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, that unless your righteousness exceeds that righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."
  • It is to be done in NEWNESS of understanding, but not left undone (Romans 3:31, 7:6), its impact no less, its consummation much more. The law is not to be violated by misuse, as in Galatians 5:4, as if it ushered into the courts of heaven; nor by failing to honour what is unfuliflled, the vast moral establishment of beauty and holiness, as if God were verbose!


 

It is really a matter of noisy carnal charabancs, trailing inglorious clouds of clamour and confusion, amidst strife and disorder awaiting judgment that is just; or of the grace, power and love of God, ministered not by the children of sinful man, but by the incarnated Saviour and everlasting Son of God, the brightness of His glory and the express image of His Person.
 

  • Nor is it some Christ to be revised,
  • like an auto update,

    • as if the incarnation were a bubble
    • and not the zenith of wonder and the marvel of self-humbling on the part of eternal majesty,
    • the very definitive expression of God (Hebrews 1, John 8:58, I Timothy 3:16),
    • presented in truth and reality by inspiration and revelation (I Cor. 2:9-13, II Peter 1:16-19):
    • so that new christs (as negatively predicted by Christ Himself)
    • could act as if to swamp the ship of Christ and sink it by their sheer vile and alien weight.


It is Christ whose word is written, and from these things by all means some may take, or to these they may add: but with due penalties to match, as if the blasphemy of God-ectomy, excision from His word were a small thing (Revelation 22:18ff.); but the word remains, the ingrafted word (James 1), and the more we LOVE, the more we FOLLOW it.

Whose opinion is that ? It is the word of CHRIST (John 14:21-23). In so doing, the violent violations of truth which many present as if it had something to do with Christianity are swept aside, and the offence to many reduced to that which it should be: the offence

       1) of the Cross of Christ (which nothing can REMOVE, but which requires the removal of sin's guilt in salvation - Galatians 6:14, I Cor. 1), and

       2) the offence of the written word of God, which being His, cannot be moved, so that at it many will indeed stumble (I Peter 2:7-8).

It is in the very mercies of God that any are rescued from dissolute conduct towards the word of the living God, by faith in Him, as He is revealed to be, which is ever availing. If they will not receive even this in all its purity, then it is because light is not preferred but rather the darkness of the religion of God without God, a mere contraption and caravanserai of dust and confusion.
 
 

END-NOTES for PART ONE

A VISIT TO THE FRANTIC MILLENIUM AND THE PEACE OF TRUTH Ch. 11


(adapted excerpt)

*1 Here we see some of the evils which can accrue, when that is called 'Christian' which is really some new covenant in some new god with some new effrontery, which neither knows, finds nor deals in those radical categories of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8-12), nor in that radical cure which makes the radical morality of that true God whose is the power, to appear.


It is then, in such departures that, sunk in sin and seemingly sanctified, you have the whole liberal relaxation which is divorced from reality, and does not see the light. When you walk in darkness, it is not the torch you want, as to form, but the function, as to light.

This comes only with the One who is the Light of the World; and merely using the phrase is not the same as finding the Person, and therefore, being His, indwelt by Him, and loving His word, acting as children of God. That is really the essence of this question currently before us.
 

The personal application of this whole theme of arrogance and glory, truth and vanity, is seen in Jeremiah 13:15ff., where king and queen are admonished to HUMBLE THEMSELVES, and give the glory to God (it is ludicrous but lethal also to give the glory to oneself, one's - in the end - puny powers, one inherited genes or country or group, when God is the power and the resource, without whom the whole cosmos cannot even continue, and from whom its resources and various deputed powers arrived - Hebrews 11:1-3, 1:1-3 SMR Chs. 1-3,10). IF THEY REFUSED, the king and queen to whom the prophet Jeremiah spoke and appealed in spiritual exhortation, then the result is forecast is arresting. The divine love, as expressed through the prophet's heart,  is as clear as His power (Jeremiah 13:17):
 

"But if you will not hear it,
My soul will weep bitterly
And run down with tears,
Because the LORD's flock has been taken captive."

That divinely beautiful plaint comes so startlingly in Jeremiah 27:

"Woe to you, O Jerusalem! will you not be made clean ? when shall it once be ?"
 

THE MEASURE OF THE MAELSTROM AND
THE MARVEL OF THE PEACE OF TRUTH

The turmoil, the maelstrom, the turbulence of eminence sought personally or nationally or internationally, how puny it is, when the peace of truth is always, while it is 'day' and the gospel era continues for its time, at hand and available. A few hundred thousand killed here, a few millions there, with some ideological dominion imparted, some subtlety of deception exalted, some devisings of dishonour and mere trickery and trumpery advanced, and what do you have ? You have a disregard of man by man which is awful to contemplate, vast and anti-inspiring like the obverse of a waterfall, a glimpse into hell after considering the amplitudes of the heavens, a snake-pit after regarding the purity of the distinctives of an orchid.

What is accomplished ? Only this: weariness and pain, and the added distinctive of having once more illustrated the passing parade of feeble powers which, like babes in cradles, do not regard the very power which holds them up. And this ? Is it noble or wise, or astute ? No, quite the contrary, it is a fecklessness of spirit which is as ruthless of suffering as it is avid for its own final judgment according ... to truth (Romans 2:1ff.).

In view of the word of God (as in Ezekiel 21:26-27), it is the revision of an 'experiment' as by some tired old lecturer after many decades, year by year before his class. It always ends one way. It has to do so. That is the way the situation is constructed. In the case of man however, the personal creation of his spirit makes the continuity in proud folly and vainglorious uplifting, an age-old avenue to disaster, like tanks year by year, rolling down side of a cliff, as if they could not realise, no not by instruments, nor by the sight of their drivers, the sure doom they faced with such uplifted composure and unyielding opacity. Yes, and do not many nations and persons GLORY in the sheer extravagance of their ignorant delusion, preserving their incapacities at all costs, like art-forms, stored in some bank vault.

Nevertheless, there are many who, seeing the corruption of the flesh and sensing the glory of God, seek Him where He may be found, one Author, one Saviour, one Lord, one Creator and maker of all, in the One whom He sent from His eternal side, invested with commission "a Saviour which is Christ the Lord". To heal, to love, this was His task: to cherish, to understand, to pardon, to speak truth. He came to seek and to save that which was lost, to bring restoration to God, and receiving our own indictments, as many as believed in Him, to relay His own grace and victory by His Spirit, because of His vicarious death.

In the very face of this, one Baptist Minister, we read, does not consider his sins enough to justify the death of the Lord!  What does the word say to this underestimation of the human declivity before God:

  • "Yet you say, 'Because I am innocent,
  • Surely His anger shall turn from me.' The divine response:
  • "Behold I will plead My cause against you,
  • Because you say, 'I have not sinned' " - from Jeremiah 2:35.

It is alas when a person does not realise that it was strictly NECESSARY for Christ to die, that he or she is lodged in the delusive heights, which carry the divine injunction to bring them down. Paul who declares us, like other Gentiles, to have been

  • "dead in trespasses" (Ephesians 2), and
  • "having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them because of the blindness of their heart", states categorically in Romans 5 the nature of the case that is in fact present:
  • "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" (vv.8-10).

Likewise in Colossians 2:13-15, he indicates the nature of sinners.

  • "And you, being dead in your trespasses... He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven your trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was  against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross" , and again in Ephesians 2:12ff.,
  • "at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world, but now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ"; while in Colossians 1:22, we read,
  • "In the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight". Indeed, the very reconcilation of all things, in heaven or on earth, we read there, is premised on HIS HAVING MADE PEACE THROUGH THE BLOOD OF THE CROSS!
  • It is therefore apparent that what does not recognise the warrant for our arrest in our pursuits
  • of selfhood,
  • of our ideas of God or
  • of our plans and parameters, however lofty they may appear to us or indeed to others, and however many of them,
  • is in acute rebellion from reality, from the word of God, and from the way of life;

and if we think that without Christ's blood (and without blood there is NO remission of sin - Hebrews 9:11-15,22-28)
 

  • we DO have access to our Father,
  • we DO have innocence in His eyes, or even that
  • we DO NOT LACK basic integrity so that we are of His essential standard, able to meet those everlasting eyes not downcast, that enquiring assessment not damaged, that investigation of all motives, conscious and merely latent, but operative for all that,
  • then we merely add to our guilt, by our vainglorious self-affirmation.


 

If there be any people having  hope of attaining to basic representation WITHOUT CHRIST according to His own diagnosis and remedy, His own blood by which we draw near to His Father;

if there be any,

with hope of arriving and departing with conscience acquitted, unattainted at those aweful assizes, those true and veritable judgments which lack NOTHING in intensity and understanding, or with merely a wise plea or two from what (for the robustly self-assured case concerned) is an unsacrificed Saviour: then these are conspiring with hope against hope, and their case is hopelessly confused, in active repudiation of the word of God.


Where by the word of God, are such people placing themselves ? Misled and masquerading with a truth that is not their own, a covenant that is their own and not divinely given, they can only fall. As to His covenant:  HIS is in blood, and without blood there IS no covenant now at all - Matthew 26:28. He IS the divine covenant and this IS what He has declared (Isaiah 42:6, 49:6).

HIS is that famous NEW covenant predicted by Jeremiah in 31:31, and seen often enough in the old Testament. It has arrived. Sad indeed those who depart without it! It is the ONLY provision. It was costly enough and the medicine for one and for all is JUST ONE: Christ crucified, yes rather risen, and as to the crucifixion, He died a ransom for many, reconciling BECAUSE He has made peace through His blood on the cross (Colossians 1:19-22). It is precisely THUS and thus only that the reconciliation is to occur, we there read. HOW did He do it according to the apostle ? through His flesh, by death.

       Lacking an acceptance which no sinner can command,

       for the divine covenant is presented and paid for at the divine instance, and of this ALL MUST partake, nothing excepted, to be IN CHRIST (II Cor. 5:19ff., Ephesians 2:13), for it is not merely the actions but the spirit which is involved:

       such devotees of their own dignity, downgrade God to merely carnal proportions, and the infinite to our lowly stature. Therefore, being exalted, they fall. Why ? Because while the downgrading of God may be implied, it cannot be impelled. What pushes God down, finds only its own ruin. For His part, He remains precisely where He is, diagnosing at His pleasure and prescribing at His wisdom. It is He, the just judge of all, who looks on all, without Christ, they are as the children of wrath. This fact the apostle Paul makes precisely apparent (Colossians 2:3).

       What is unwilling to measure up to the wrath in Christ, may do so without Him with results all too apparent in Matthew 22:11ff..

THIS ? It is the very essence of the tall tree, which too high, was brought too low, for everything that exalts itself will be humbled; whereas in His hands, the crooked will be made straight. NO sinner will be refused who comes in faith to Him; but many there be who, noting their good works and excellent attainments will be told by the King whose express covenant they have despised, being above it, that He never knew them. This in fact He has declared for all to ponder (Matthew 7:21-23). Indeed, He even declares the principles: you EITHER build on HIS words, or you build on sand, not only vulnerable to destruction, but asking for it (Matthew 7:26ff.).

To reject the diagnosis of God is to reject God in His wisdom, and to remove yourself from His redeeming power, rendering you uncovered in the tempest, alone in the maelstrom, a lighthouse manufacturing its own light, and not following the light of the world. BECAUSE, said Christ, you say you see, therefore your blindness remains (John 9:41).

Then ? there is only the darkness of eternal night, obscured, official residence for the obscurantist, the fractious, the eminently minded; for it is not attainment but self-attained righteousness which is rejected, a blot and insult on the face of the dazzling beauty of holiness, where sin even in thought, even in temperament, in its abasement of the wonder of God, is like a grain of potassium cyanide in one's cup of tea.

The thought is unpleasant and ANY sort of hygiene would exclude it; and those who reject the exclusion, are excluded, for ALL is excluded which enters into His divine and eternal precincts; and ONLY in Christ is the cover, as in Him the purity which surpassing and perfect, is acceptable in that heaven where blemish is not found, and all blemish is wholly other, divorce and disaster, as far from Him as the East from the West. Thus did the prophet Isaiah commence his own ministry by realisation of the glory of the One for whom he was sent, and thus was he abased (Isaiah 6); and thus is the need of realism before the everlasting light. Realism and repentance, remission and restoration is the program, and no part is omitted (Luke 13:13, Galatians 3:1-13, John 6:51ff.). His is the curse, or it is ours; but it is THERE!

As to Christ, then,

  • you know Him as He presents Himself in His covenant,
  • or you know only a mirage.

He "did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Matthew 9:13).

The number of the former is rated without Christ, by divine standards, as ZERO (Romans 3:9-18)! The answer of the pervasive and unexcepted human need, according to the divinely inspired apostle is the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:21-22), who fulfils the law which applied to all and required sacrifices for all in the Old Covenant. This is that which in the New Covenant (Matthew 5:17-19), Christ fulfils AS the sacrifice (Hebrews 7:22-27), and the redemption (Hebrews 9:12).

As Colossians 1:19ff. makes clear, the blood is His death, the symbol and symptom of it, the visible expression and total provision of life given up entirely in judgment, to bring us to God. It is this peace through the blood of the Cross which is the universal rule of God regarding all things to achieve reconciliation. Here is His pleasure - here is the core, the cross, the death bearing guilt, by which alone satisfaction and reconciliation may be found. Indeed it is in view of this that Christ is the Head of the body, the Church (Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 1:22-23, 2:21-22).

No other Gospel (Galatians 1:6-9, 3:1-13) is sufferable in the truth of God, who knows what lies in the heart of man (John 2:24),nor does any other than what has come from the one true God, whose word became flesh, have the power of creation to deal with the situation of sin (Romans 1:16, I Corinthians 1:20-25, Galatians 1). Those who reject His diagnosis need another God, and since there is but one, they are forced to rebellion, by whatever name.

But as to the word of God, this: the just for the unjust, He brings us ( I Peter 3:18, 2:24). In this way,  did He pour out His soul unto death (Isaiah 53:12). THAT is the free offer (Isaiah 55:1ff.), and there is none other (Galatians 1:6-10, Romans 5:1-12). Accordingly, John 6:50ff. likewise makes the reception of His blood sacrifice irresistibly necessary, undenudably declared and irretrievably required.

Thus Christ did not die for sinners in order that some might rise above, and find that death was too much for their exalted cases, or offer His New Covenant in His blood that it might be made into some sort of bloodless, moral rearmament, or else you and I together salvation, in which the flesh exalts itself. Rest assured, God ONLY will be exalted in that day! (Isaiah 2:12-17). It is ONLY by grace; it is ALTOGETHER by grace, it is a gift BY grace (Romans 5:15, Ephesians 2:1-12, and cf. Benevolent Brightness or Brothy Bane 79, where the latter text is expounded in detail).
 

  • In this gift is the power of God, for God has power and God lives within those who receiving Him as He is, on CONDITION OF HIS TERMS, namely the Gospel of grace, ARE His, and whom therefore He shepherds (as in Ezekiel 34, John 10; John 3:18). You do not make the gate; you can enter by initiative in no other way (John 10:1ff.); but you have to enter it! There is the condition to the love which does not fail, does not flicker, does not end. You BECOME HIS, and then HE is yours; and as to that, He loves His children and cares for them (I Peter 5:7).


Indeed, further, what is the appointed medium, what are its authorised means ? Now "in Christ Jesus, you who were afar off, have been brought near by the blood of Christ" - Ephesians 2:12. And who were so estranged from the saving knowledge of the true, only and living God as to be in this state, requiring this remedy ? "we all" ... "were by nature children of wrath, just as the others" (Ephesians 2:3). You do not dip in grace; you plunge. You do not contribute your precious forces to prevail; He has prevailed. You do not soak up a little moisture; you suffer an inundation of grace by which you are wholly reconstituted (John 3, II Cor. 5:19-21), or else, neither has Christ died for you nor have you, in reciprocity as He bears your sinfulness, died with Him (Colossians 3:3, Galatians 2:20). In this grace is frustrated, but God is not frustrated. Unbelief is a consignment.

Your new life is not a bargaining chip for heaven but a heavenly contribution for fruit. No wonder Paul declares, "God forbid that I should except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" ... and adds, "by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." The truth is severe. The cost to Christ was severe. The disease is severe. The remedy cannot be adapted, must be adopted. The change is categorical and the nature of salvation is precisely mirrored in the nature of humility (Ephesians 2:8-10). FOR... we are (ourselves) HIS workmanship.

It is only when in His hands that we realise to the full that the sensitivity and compassion that is the truth, has a beauty which gains lustre from light.
 

*2

A VISIT TO THE WORD OF GOD

(cf. Biblical Blessings Ch. 3, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17)
 

It may help some if we expand this element.
 

  • Not only does God as a wise Father
  • discipline as needed,
  • regenerate before discipline so that the heart is on side, and ready,
  • the word of truth already inscribed on it, though smudging is readily attended to as required (Hebrews 8:10);
  • but He HAS SPOKEN and His word is truth.

 

  • In love it is DONE; in being done, it brings blessing,
  • in the blessing is strength,
  • with the strength is grace,
  • and by grace we are saved from first to last.


As to the operation of grace, it has many dimensions. It means this: that it is ALL lovingkindness, with no credited contribution (Ephesians 2:5-8). It also means that there is a continual glow of love and loveliness from God, His word delighted in, His perspective constantly used in our guidance, clarified and certified, inculcated and worked into the very interstices of the redeemed spirit (Psalm 119, John 14:21-23). Thus there is a lively work of TEACHING as well as PERSONAL DEALING on the part of the Lord. His is a great school. His children are well cared for.

Again, church is not an option (Hebrews 10:26) as so many seem to think. It is prescribed BY His word and in obedience, there is PREACHED and TAUGHT the word of God. It is clear to His people, but ministered by servants for specialised edification (I John 2:27, I Peter 4:11, Titus 1:9). So many were fooled by radio evangelists, or TV, to forget the sanctity of the body of Christ, the local church to which they 'went',  that they allowed themselves to be surrounded by frankly sleazy unspirituality, and undisciplined heresy (cf. Jude, in News 43); so bringing dishonour on Him who SPEAKS, saying,  "A heretic on the second admonition reject" - Titus 3:10. This provision of the word of God is to be KEPT.

Now some of these radio evangelists have dishonoured themselves, the Lord and His word, even reaching in one case to virtually formal alliance with the pungent acidulosities of Roman doctrine, its three idols and its human tradition allied with its violation of Romans 3:23 and its cursing of the gospel as noted in SMR pp. 977-978,1045, 1053ff., 1061ff., 1086-1088A in the context of 1032-1088H, 520ff., and 531ff., with A Question of Gifts VI, esp. pp. 69ff., and The Kingdom of Heaven, Ch. 7, p. 110.

It is indeed so much of the slippery slopes of unspiritual, ungodly over-writing of His word (as in Romans 16:17) whether in a disobedient church or individual, which leads to much of the appalling deviationism which many find insulting to the doctrines of grace. When however there is BOTH the PREACHING of the Gospel, as in the Great Commission, and the TEACHING, and when the word is followed, how great is the beauty, how lovely are His tabernacles, how sweet the communion (Psalm 84, Ephesians 2:19-22, 1:22-23).

It is then in the paths of obedience, that the full parody of attacking the unconditional love of God, or better, the covenantal mercies which are inviolable, and this more than any family ties, becomes obvious in its comic superficiality.

So we return to II Timothy 3:16: "ALL Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for instruction in righteousness." He is not saying you never can tell where it is; he is saying you know full well where it is and it is ALL profitable. Otherwise it would be incognito, erratic, unstable, unsure, and unprofitable. You cannot keep what you do not know; far less what cannot be known. So Isaiah 8:20 makes it a criterion quick and alive; and likewise the author of Hebrews 4:12).

The Old Testament is the word of God; the New Testament is the word of God: it is ALL scripture. The forms and procedures of the sacramental law and symbolic observances are past; the moral integrity of all Scripture remains. Not a jot or tittle will be left unhonoured (Matthew 5:17-19). To follow it  and to teach so, is greatness in the kingdom of heaven, we there read. (Cf. SMR Appendix D.)

Did Christ say it would all, or even AT ALL,  be short-circuited! Absolutely ON THE CONTRARY, in the most ringing possible terms as shown in Appendix D. THIS is the rule for the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN: teach and do it, and this far surpasses all the exemptions of presumption. God is HONOURABLE and wants HONOURABLE people, men of integrity, women of compassion, people of that love which KEEPS HIS WORD (John 14:21-23). Salvation is free; life is equipped with wisdom: and this His word of truth, one follows in love.

Accordingly, as surely as the OUTCOME is guaranteed, in glory (Romans 8:29ff.), so surely is the INCOME exhorted and taught:

the incoming of the Spirit in His bringing near of Christ on the basis of the blood of the everlasting covenant (I Corinthians 12:13, II Cor. 3:18ff., Ephesians 2:5-7, 17-18),
and of the word in its power for growth (I Peter 1:22-23, James 1:21).

It is NOT: If you keep My word you will be saved; it is rather, IF you are saved you will keep My word. It is not perfection or meritorious performance for salvation which is required; it is the heart in the hands of the holy God, who can bathe the bruises, bring to flame the smoking flax, and speak to the children of His life, purchased through His death (Isaiah 53:6-11, 42:3-4). The word is witness to the way when the way is Christ; and when Christ dwells in the heart: this, the whole commended word of God is far nearer than the stethoscope of the doctor on his house calls; for the doctor merely brings it, but Christ has SPOKEN it, ratified it, honoured it, and requires it  to be honoured!

As surely as the LAW's ceremonial and symbolic parts are FULFILLED (the only way this, the word of God is consummated and no more binding - Matthew 5:17-19, Romans 6:4, 7:6), so its moral grandeur remains, its wisdom undefiled. But does Paul make VOID the law ? On the contrary: "Certainly not. We establish the law!" (Romans 3:31).

How long does it take to avoid the double pitfall: the folly of trying to SECURE your salvation as a PRODUCT of your own person (in whole or in part) and so violate Galatians 6:14, Romans 3:23ff. Ephesians 2:1-10; on the one hand, and the rebellious insurgence of proceeding to JUNK the word of God where it is NOT fulfilled, but morally invincible, the thoughts of His heart, and so failing to obey therefore II Timothy 3:16. Some there are who would short-circuit the word of God as if He really grew up somewhat by the time of the New Testament, or as if man were evolving from some sort of prodigy of imagination into a being who could be spoken to, having been at first a sort of parody of the image of God, to whom God could not ... really speak! So does culture compress truth in the unwary.

GOD IS GOD and when He speaks to mankind, whether in the bud of the Old Covenant or in the bloom of the New Covenant, it is the HONOUR of the Speaker which is paramount. Where there is preparatory imagery and symbolism, investings with discipline and didactic ceremonies, in the Old Testament, so be it: that is a laying down of foundational truth. It does not however become foundational error!

Where it is fulfilled in Christ, the symbols merging into the spiritual brilliance, the ceremonies into the substantive reality, the sacrifices running in awe before the true sacrifice as in Hebrews 8-10, that is wonderful! What however is not at all wonderful, is this: to KICK IT OUT, as if it were all to go, as in some crash sale for new season's goods, as if it were mere fashion. Cheap bargains, in discarded items of the word of God, genuinely unfulfilled, but just thrown out, ALL TO GO! Get a bargain basement life without the word of God! So goes the folly.

Such is NOT the purport of the word of God. NOTHING goes: it is ALL fulfilled or operative; and as Paul shows in Romans 4, it was NEVER in Old or New Testament, a matter of EARNING your way in. It was ALWAYS by faith, even with Abraham. Indeed, the promise was not, says Paul, to HIM ONLY, but ALSO to us (Romans 4:23-24), so that the very thing, salvation by sacrifice received by faith in the God who speaks and in the word of Him who has spoken, is received by one, by all. With Abraham this came to be symbolically signalised (as in Genesis 22).

This ? It was the way. It is the way. It is consummated, not discarded. The wisdom of God is vindicated, not quashed. When it is held in honour, so is the purity of the everlasting God upheld, so is His family spared much of folly, and of shame; and so are those who are ready to be outraged by laxities innumerable, spared at least that part of their own rebellion. They then more clearly may see the love and the life and the truth of the Lord in concert, not in shattered remnant sales of mere glitz and glamour, sleaze or stammer. In this way, in the love of God, we are able to help even the erring, and bring aid to the departing, if by any means, some being convicted, may repent of their sins and seek the Lord.
 
 

PART II

Facets of the Jewel of Grace

So much might be seen in the world of grace, in the power of God, in the glory of His name, in the provision of His purchase of sinners freely, in the covenant His kindness, in the pity of His paternity that who would finish the writing or the reading! Yet it seems fitting that one add some aspects of this jewel in the connection of "unconditional love" or more Biblically, inseparable love, for that better reflects the tenor of Romans 8:31ff., and if we said,

  • inseparable covenant love, it would still better do so, and if the
  • inseparable covenant mercy and everlasting lovingkindness we might do yet better. If however it were the
  • unspeakable power of His name, inseparable covenant mercy,


everlasting lovingkindness,
unerodable magnificence of His mercy and
unyielding sustaining of His own,

we might approach nearer to this light which blazes warmer than the sun.

You see it clearly in those many "lovingkindess" references in the Old Testament, in that glorious weeping of Christ over Jerusalem (Luke 19:42ff.), in that tender restoration of Peter (John 21), in that flaming rebuke to the spoilers who despised the refreshing with which the weary were to be refreshed and demoted it in their 'theological systems' of self-help, national glory or self-righteousness (as in Isaiah 28:12). Let us hear this last phase, for it speaks of the tenor and quality of the Lord's sustaining holiness, even through the hole made in its breach by dis-faith, on the part of formalists:

  • "To whom He said,
  • 'This is the rest with which
  • You may cause he weary to rest,"
  • And, 'This is the refreshing';
  • Yet they would not hear."

You  see it again in this:

 

"In all their affliction He was afflicted,
And the angel of His presence saved them" - Isaiah 63:9.


Not in moral follies as sovereign, but in sovereign love as gracious, the Lord keeps what is committed to Him by faith (II Timothy 1:12), through His covenantal mercies. Thus in Jeremiah 7, one reads this:
"Behold you trust in lying words that cannot profit."

Now notice this, such words CANNOT profit. They are vain. They are a formalistic substitute for functional power coming through faith that trusts in, relies on and knows the Lord. But let us proceed with the quotation:
 

"Behold you trust in lying words that cannot profit.
Will you steal and murder, commit adultery, swear falsely,
burn incense to Baal and walk after other gods whom you do not know,
and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, 'We are delivered to do all these abominations' ?
Has this house which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes ? Behold I, even I have seen it,' says the LORD."


The results were the dismantling, yes the destruction of the Temple, and when the same thing was multiplied to the very face of the Lord when He came in person, stone was not left on stone. The dismantling of truth, as in the crucifixion, and as in the innumerable substantive crucifixions which are used in the abuse of His name and privileges, mercy and grace, have led to many a destruction in the past, as in Judas, and to many a grief, as in Demas, who left Paul in his afflictions, having preferred this present world (II Timothy 4:10).

Religion is a good lurk for many, and many appal the Almighty as here we see on record; but this is not the way. Those are lying words which say, Let us do evil that good may come, that grace may abound, that we may fulfil ourselves! (cf. Romans 6). Is not their prototype here summarily executed with words, soon to be followed in the life of liberty in Israel in those days, when it went into exile, an allegorical departure, and a giant discipline!

Did not Christ pillory the pretensions of the Pharisees (Matthew 24) and extinguish the false hopes of the scribes in Luke 11:53, summarily citing them for

1) failing to go into the kingdom themselves and
2) hindering those who would!

There is no room for pretence or pretension, carnality or conceptual Christianity minus spiritual reality. To be born again is not to be given one more name tag of hypocrisy.

It is not a charm. It is a fact. When it is a fact, then "that which is born of the flesh is flesh", and "that which is born of the spirit is spirit" - as in John 3:6. Nothing in the kingdom of heaven is mere appearance. It is factual, functional and spiritual. That is precisely what we saw in Part I above, concerning Paul's declaration in Romans 8. Those who are in the flesh CANNOT please God (Romans 8:8), but, declares the apostle to the Christians, covered by covenant, sustained by grace, children of an Almighty Father, of the ONLY ONE who is: "You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His" - Romans 8:9.

So then this is the message. There IS a rest with which the weary find rest (cf. Matthew 11:28-30), and a refreshing which refreshes heart and mind, soul and moral strength, gives dynamic to doing and vitality to being, and it is not some psychic kick, some carnal supposition, but the presence in peace of the God who speaks, who does wonders, who alone does wonders, and who, amid all His wonders, begets children by covenantal mercy, in terms of blood shed to cover the cost, to meet the justice of the situation, so that He might be JUST and the JUSTIFIER of the one who believes in Jesus (Romans 3:24-26), and having justified, be He who glorifies (Romans 8:17,29-30).

Covenant! It is not a mere word. It is a work as well. Listen:

  • "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
  • whom God has set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith,
  • to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God has passed over the sins that were previously committed,
  • to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."
  •  

JUSTICE

This DEMANDS that the soul, paid for, be kept. God has given full price in JUST PAYMENT for the PURCHASE of the repentant soul that comes by covenantal blood. It would be IMMORAL for the payment to be denied, and for that which is fully purchased, to be excised.
 
 

MERCY

Such is the mercy of God, that having sent His Son to die for sin, He does not junk the joy of the redeemed, but having committed Himself in heart, He keeps in history. He is not immoral, with emotions that run one way, and power which fails another.
 
 

NAME

The name of God is righteous. He is not IMMORAL to set His name on children who become illegitimate after all, following legitimate birth in HIS NAME. He does not abrogate the regeneration, or dismiss the reality that they, being begotten by His word and Spirit (I Peter 1:23, John 3:6, Titus 3:5), are His, in name, by production, by restoration, by purchase. They are FAMILY. He runs the family as the Head of the House.
 
 

ADOPTION

Having adopted children by fiat (for the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, says the apostle, is He who "has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" - II Cor. 4:6), He does not suffer them to be spiritually divorced, sequestrated, segregated by some other power! For which power is that ? and to what is the capacity to seize and rapture from the hand of God, to be attributed! (Cf. Isaiah 43:13.) Having sealed His own, having regenerated them into functional reality as His, redeemed them into formal relationship as His, having called them His own so that He suffers none to grasp them, having denied perishing (John 10:27-28), He is as eternal, committed to them as children of the everlasting God. Sealed and commanded (Ephesians 1:13), they arise to bless Him;  in His capacitiy as making "promise", they have indeed "obtained an inheritance" (Ephesians 1:11).
 

  • His word is truth, the ultimate morality; His truth declares Him to be love (I John 4:7ff.), the ultimate character of holiness which does not seek its own, can bear all things and never fails. His justice, the expression of morality, is costly and total.
  • Sin will fail. Rebellion will fail. But the love of God does not fail. It does not violate. It does not force (cf. SMR pp. 1186Aff., 65ff., 1088Dff.. It is HIS love and HE shows it, and has shown, receiving force so that He might force the forceful to relinquish what their force desired, having no ground, nor any excuse, even to vile violence of the accuser of the brethren, who never at peace, will rant and rave even at the elect of God, until hell claims him in his eternal end.

 

But as to the love of God who so surrendered His only begotten Son in order to redeem and deliver in pity, of this the world has never seen the like, or found any comparison. He whose is infinity in finiteness conquered the evils of the fallen that the glories of the transcendent God should replace the trivialities and the tedium of sin's sovereignty! Human morality compared to this is like smog compared to mountain air. The comparison is not only inept; it is egregious, unwholesome, a mere fantasy in words.


He does not 'await events', but constructs, reconstructs, those who make them. They so begotten are His, and in Him they live, to Him they answer, from Him is their fruit found (Hosea 13:8).

He does not immorally violate these bonds, this word, this covenant, this faith; nor in impotence does He bow to some 'necessity', but in power He provides, in purity He corrects and in eternity He knows (Ephesians 1:4).
 
 

POWER and PURITY, PERFORMANCE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS

His name is inalienably associated with His will and the rigours of His righteousness. In Him is NO INIQUITY (Deuteronomy 32:4, Habakkuk 1:12-13). Hence we who are His are

  • "kept by the POWER OF GOD through faith" (I Peter 1:5),

and the END of such keeping is this:

  • "an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you" - I Peter 1:4.

And how is it so, that His power so acts ? It is because it is He, for the Christian, who

  • "according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (I Peter 1:3).


Thus, of the Christian John says this in I John 3:9: "He who is begotten of God does not practise sin, for His seed remains in him." There is the meeting of the ways: faithfulness, power, reproduction, and what IS reproduction ?

       It is a production which is based on a model. And what is the model ? It is here not less but far more than a model. It is God who places the substance of His heart into the lives of His own, who in other words, makes them to be formed in His likeness anew, and this time, having BOUGHT THEM FREELY, He KEEPS THEM SURELY.

       To do less would not MERELY be IMMORAL, it would be unfaithful, treacherous, puny and mean that His very name had neither purity nor power, His dynamic neither reality nor permanence, that even His children were spurious, like wild oats, and His promises, though based on justice, a wrangle and a tangle of untruth. He would essay what He could not do, and commit Himself to what he perjured. IMMORAL ! That is the least of what it would then be. It would be an unholy holocaust of the divine name.

But now is God not mocked, nor does He lightly suffer mockers (Hosea 8:7, Galatians 6:7). Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind is what Jerusalem found of old TWICE, and the second time for nearly two millenia, according to the word of God, until the time came when He deemed it fitting (as in Ezekiel 36-37 - cf. SMR Appendix A) to begin to restore the nation.

For some there is something else likewise reserved: and for whom more clearly than these, who inhabit Christendom as if they were lice, who drink milk that is tainted, and provide milk which is poisoned, whose name is fraud and whose contribution falsity, who corrupt the brethren with their vices and false visions and puny words (cf. Jeremiah 23), which do not accord with the word of Almighty God, who pillory the truth and crucify afresh the Lord (cf. Hebrews 6:6), tasters who spit out and do now swalow. What of these ? Morality ? Listen to justice and judgment when mercy is despised and lovingkindness is turned into a side-show, not in reality, but in word and in the lives of mockers, who, not content with avoiding the truth, would twist it and turn it  as if it were to receive a new crown of thorns, two millenia too late. What does Jude say ?

This:

"Likewise these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority and speak evil of dignitaries... But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. Woe to them!...They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame, wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever" - (from Jude 8-13 cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms  24, Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 9, SMR Ch. 9 pp. 857-877 and Ch. 8 pp. 657ff., 683ff.; see on Jude, News 43).

Moral ? If judgment is desired, it is readily available.

If however it is lovingkindness which is desired, it is designed for man to be received by a means which is REGENERATIVE, restoring the soul (as in Ephesians 4:22-24, Colossians 3:10). In the Ephesians reference, we see that there is a NEW MAN "which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness". This is the image, bought back, restored, conferred, and made generatively to be implanted. It is now the image of an adopted son or daughter of God by spiritual deed, covenant and power (Ephesians 1:5, Romans 8:15-16). Does He then repudiate the adoption ? Does He deem the cover inadequate which is infinite ? Does His power fail, or His word terminate in the dust ? Is this the 'morality' which is moral!

In the Colossians reference, we see that this image of God in the Christian is also BEING RENEWED, and IS ALREADY PUT ON. This is like car maintenance with manufacturer's warranty. Whatever it takes, it gets... That IS morality: to be faithful and just and merciful, and longsuffering, and corrective, and to make all things new and not to be brittle but beautiful and dutiful and gracious, while maintaining the vitality in the dynamic of reality, which is first of all conferred. It is what it says. It does what it is. It is kept by the power of the contractor. It is bought by His mercy, paid for by His labour and His blood, and accredited by His moral rigour, with what it is, HIS OWN.

There are two ways. One is to speak evil of what is not before one, blindly assuming what one neither knows nor rightly articulates, like a younger brother scoffing at 'love'. The other is to know God and to find that what He says is what He does, and what He says is merciful, but does not lend itself to mockery. The very mountains of morality are as foothills compared with this.
 

  • As the Psalmist says: "Your righteousness if like the great mountains,


Your judgments are a great deep," (Psalm 36:6) and again,

  • "Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,"

  • And "His greatness is unsearchable" - Psalm 145:3.

  • "His understanding is infinite," says Psalm 147:5, and again, of Him that He is

  • "dwelling in light to which no man can approach" I Timothy 6:16.


It is only when He is led forth and declared by His eternal word, His only begotten Son, that His person is by one's side in human form; and only when He speaks by His Spirit and word, that He declares Himself (John 1:18, Hebrews 1:1-3). To despise the truth is not moral; nor is it to tread under foot the blood of the everlasting covenant (Hebrews 10:29).

When it comes to contesting with God, and being 'moral' at His expense who has done, does and will do so much, whose word is His bond, whose binding is in mercy and whose power is the source of the minds which speak; when it comes to condemning God because of hypocrites, and defiling the waters of truth because of impurities in the flow of understanding, then it is not only immoral, it is fare for judgment.

Who then will indict God ? Whose word can show flaw or fault in His provisions ? Would He be more MORAL than to PAY for what He has bought; more JUST than to COVER THE COST in the blood of His Son; more FAITHFUL than to keep what is committed by explicit covenant, that it should not perish (John 10:27-28), having come in repentance and faith; more PURE IN NAME than to do whatever He says and to offer free redemption, and restoration back to His side; more PERFECT in reliability than to keep by the power of God to salvation ready to be revealed, reserved in heaven; more ACTIVE than to go and prepare a place, that where the Lord is, the Redeemer, there may likewise be the redeemed whom He has bought and taught and in whom He has wrought!
 

  • Human 'morality' is a mere word compared with this, and its only basis in truth and rationality, is the specifications of the Maker; and as to Him, in fidelity and truth, justice and mercy, HE has no equal, or near equal; and no one else CAN have morals but HE, for of what do they


consist ?

The quirks of desire, the constructions based on thought of what is due to each; and without GOD, what IS due, but wrath ? and without His word, what is known, but the dim images of foiled, spoiled relationships with the Maker first, and hence with what is made; for He being not even understood, His works are likewise not valued aright. The end of falsetto morality is to lack the light which is the basis and foundation of truth: to prefer the darkness of rejecting the word of God, is to find the morality of shame, founded on one's own name, or the inventions of one's own heart, or that of one's own society, without ground or possibility of righteousness, erected in air, directed by wind, the psychology of foible, the pretensions of impotence.

The end however of what begins aright, in the Lord, is the Lord. HE is the shield and the exceedingly great reward; and as to His house, this: " 'The LORD knows who are His', and 'Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart form iniquity' " - II Timothy 2:19.