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Do far less Damage than
The account with graphic pictures of some of the most immense roaring monster of the deep surging to land with whipped fury, shows the awesome dynamic of water, and evokes to the imagination, the fury of the world flood.
This however is never to recur (Genesis -21 cf. News 1). What is to occur is far worse for those whose love is this world, its sanctity in itself, its stability for ever and the material side of things (Isaiah 51:6). Stages when built for intricate performances, are normally taken down in time. Either the people grow old, the customers grow weary of it (it is an interesting question whether Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap is STILL going, but at any rate there is a limit), or the purpose is fulfilled.
The world has had presented the divine power, intelligence, wit, wisdom (cf. Proverbs 8 and its exposition in Barbs, Arrows and Balms 27), and God has made man able to think spuriously, furiously, dubiously, contortedly or even validly when he is not hiding, just as Adam was (Genesis 3:9-10), because he is naked, either physically or mentally or logically or psychologically or socially or spiritually, and in any case the last (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 7, Christ Jesus: the Wisdom of God and the Power of God, Ch. 7). Libraries of thought and implementation techniques do not actually contrive to write themselves or to give an account of what is not there, in what is produced, give the nullities as long as you will. Man is made (cf. A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 1-9, TMR Chs. 1, 7, 8, Wake Up World! … Chs. 4-7).
That scene, scenario and platform is now growing old. Man’s sin is growing old, like stale cake (particularly unpleasant!). He is growing desiccated in spirit, culturally filled with barnacles, lacking colour the more he paints himself, for the pallour of the undercoat is the more accentuated by the false accretions.
It is time, time: writers must soon put down their pens or hands from the keyboard, and await the passing up of their examination papers, for assessment. Things are happening in the world, precisely as predicted. The truly beautiful thing is this, that the least of the performers, the most lacking in power, may be among the first in the hour of report. How can this thing be ? From him to whom much is given, from him much shall be required, said Christ (Luke ).
To be sure, you may say, we do not expect one of IQ 70 to excel in this line of affairs at least (depending on just WHAT the IQ is predetermined to find, or by muddle allowed to determine, to measure) one of 220.
However you may still ask, How can one of the least find a happy site among the very first ? Surely there would be a categorical inability even to achieve anything comparable at all ?
However, achievement, while good as far as it goes, is WITH what is given. You do not INVENT your talents. Certainly you may develop them, but what you are given is not by any means the same, whatever the development. You may develop your VW to a surprising extent, but it is not a Boeing 747, when all is done.
why many who are first shall be last, and the last first, as a basic thrust, is
this, that THIS contest is not about performance at
all, in the sense of product. It is about what you ARE. IF you are a good tree,
assuredly you will produce good fruit, but the birds may spoil the fruit for
some eating (it may still be very pleasant to see and encouraging to find), and tempests (like imprisonment for religious
What you ARE, however, is what is given, when it comes to the place of grace, and God is gracious, loving to be both just and merciful, and to accentuate excellence by His kindness (cf. Titus 2-3). Factitious fruit, meretricious productions can dazzle the ignorant, or even deceive the just; but it does NOTHING to God. MANY will cry out about their fruits and results to God (Matthew 7:21ff.), apparently (since the case is there a final one) assuredly that this really is the case, that they have done ‘well’. However He will profess: I NEVER KNEW YOU!
There has to be a kinship of spirit for you to have a father, when the relationship IS spiritual. Hence you need to be born again, not some flummery of mere emotion, or aisle parade as if this were the assurance; but a vast engulfment by God in which the depths of your sins being realised, and the wonders of His grace, you leave the one and find the other; and even that is by His grace, NOT because His love is limited, but because love does not force, and knows what even man in his sin may become too blind to see. It is GOD who saves.
ONCE the kinship occurs, by new birth which is not a phrase or an equivalent to DOING this or that, but a fact, if you will, of spiritual physiology (the oxymoron may sharpen the wit), THEN, in a humility not a disguise for inverted or even perverted pride (NOW I shall make money in heaven! Or make fame, or name … the cry of the spiritual hedonist), and in works wrought in you by God Himself, you live and are; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do (Philippians 2:13 cf. 3:20-21 for its end), you function in fidelity, ABIDING in Him from whom the fruit comes (cf. Questions and Answers 6).
But this is not occurring in multitudes in myriad confusions, in mazes of dazes, in detachments of crazes; indeed, there are even some who seem to imagine that a welter of speaking in gabble is some sort of sign, signal or certitude that you are a Christian, even WHEN the said tongues occur in a simultaneity from many which is EXPRESSLY FORBIDDEN! (I Corinthians 14:19, 22ff., 26-28 cf. A Question of Gifts and see further).
There is nothing magical about it, no show in the flesh, not even a ‘spiritual’ show. It is a matter of truth, relying on the mercy of God, glorying in the Cross of Christ (though there are some so pedantically anti-phraseological that they CONDEMN that of which Paul says this, “God forbid that I should glory but in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Galatians 6:14).
Neither exhibitions of physical nor mental drama make the point. You either trust in Christ only, altogether and without aid from what is not God, in His word without confusion or contribution, in His mercy without merit of your own in any degree, shape, form or by any formula, in His substitutionary atonement, offered to all, received by you through faith: you either believe in your heart that God has in physical actuality raised Him who came from heaven from the dead, and that He has been welcomed back to heaven until He come: or you do not (Romans 10:9, I Corinthians 15, Luke 24, John 20). If you plausibly ‘believe’ it, you either make a verbal or phraseological utterance to this effect, or practically believe it; and if you believe it in some sense, it is either because you TRUST HIM who came, who died, who rose, or because you want something out of it, like church acceptance, personal good feeling, or a contribution to your hope reserve and profess to your own confusion, as if God could be duped by ulterior aims festooning themselves out as faith.
It is SIMPLE and all the wit and wile of man makes it seem complex, by resistance to reality.
Thus the tired old world is almost becoming dyspeptic as it had to do (Luke ) since the signals pre-announced are in place for the next step (Answers to Questions Ch. 5, Luke – just go on … one), and the grind of the rind is replacing the flow of the juice. At the same time, it is not only psychological and moral (cf. News 51), but physical.
Did you SEE those waves in the
By early report, the place in view, the island rather
inaccessible to aid, it seemed, not least because of an economic problem in the
This reminds us of what we have several times had occasion to note (SMR pp. 240, 675, 680, 714-715; intro xxxii; The Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet … Ch. 6 ), that one of the signals of the end (ONLY relevant when in the fabric of the other signals, but as in the reference above, this is shown to be the case), it is oceanic:
sea and the waves roaring” … (Luke ).
Ø One will note that this is in the verse one BEFORE the two to which reference is made above.
It moves, this threat, far from the endangered Pacific Islands – (and here, we know one ex-Filipino whose own island has been subjected to remarkable incursions from the oceans, houses ruined, dangers and perils blooming like evil flowers in the island ‘paradise’), a topic pressed again and a gain in environmental world meetings with pressure on the US in particular, to be kinder in its emissions so that others may retain the very ground, uncovered with water, under their feet!
It moves even to
There is a major move of waters, and with the Greenhouse Effect traced by so long by so many with such accumulating results, both academically and physically! (cf. SMR pp. 680, 711), there is coming something which is dramatic indeed.
What is part of that drama ? It is this: that while the FLOOD is GUARANTEED not to be repeated, yet the turbulent seas RAGING (in a thumb-nail sketch of the days in view) MUST be of vast significance and wholly incapable of being missed, to figure in such a verbally precise scenario, as that of Christ, relative to His impending return! It is so, now. We do not know when, and we DO know it will come as a surprise (I Thess. 5); but we are INSTRUCTED concerning awareness of the period of history, and this tallies now as shown in Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Ch. 8. This is simply a fact. We are advised to be prepared.
TWO things are now needed.
repent of sin and find the Saviour without delay or
prevarication; remember that operations put off or put down, are not executed.
when you have done this, and so have become a trophy of grace for which CHRIST
has the prize (let God be God, at last), LIFT UP YOUR HEARTS. It is PRIZED BY
Him since it is won by Him (Philippians 2, Isaiah 53:10-11) in that cascade of
benevolence, that surge of power, that wonder of patience, that caress of
kindness that brought Him here, and took Him from us, while the Gospel invites
us freely to receive Him, till He come.
v Not for you the fear, the apprehension, the vague angst, the tightening of arteries, the constriction of heart, the sense of impending judgment, the worry about the future, the concern about the unforeseeable.
There is not so much unforeseeable when you KNOW that the world is coming to judgment, that the Christ has all along been arduous, even passionate in seeking the lost and has long since DONE ALL, that His words are coming to pass like the hundreds of cars of a long freight train, parading past you as you wait patiently at the level crossing, counting the carriages to marvel at the size of it all, that God is love, that His mercy is forever on those who fear Him, that the fear of the Lord is clean, and that mere craven fear is cast out by love.
He has TOLD us, and DONE what was required in the most public of fashions. His execution is long noted in history and was long foretold before history could clamp down on it, and seize it in its gory maw (Joyful Jottings 22-25). Yours, the due impact of justice, is long covered if you are His, since He knew you, in that case, before time began (Ephesians 1:4) and in understanding, it is He the Lamb “who was slain before the foundation of the world”, a perfect and sufficient cover (Galatians 3), though of course the enaction of this priceless reality was crucial to integrity and the display of what always God had in mind, yes and to the balance of accounts between justice and mercy. What is real is not sated by sops, but by actuality.
There is such a comfort in the KNOWLEDGE that God cares, that He has done His uttermost without violating the integrity of what He has made, that it all depends on Him (Romans 8:29ff.), and that … quite frankly, HE is DEPENDABLE (Philippians 1:6, I Thessalonians 5:9-10,24).
On the other hand, there is great ground for dismay if, not merely a sinner before God Almighty, but one recalcitrant before all appeal, hard beyond all approach, resistant from every placation of your position, armed against all amelioration, roaring in recklessness and boasting your own judgment before that of God, your own virtue, sufficiency or desire above the merit of the Lord, you approach the roaring of reality itself, without remission, without hope and without ground. You see, it is there and then that your finale is to be seen, not in recognition of your place, and placement by divine recognition, but in a dastardly disregard of the provision of God Himself, to make you whole. This, inveterate, does not mean that you are worse, for who has any claim but in mercy; but it does mean that you are not by circumstance, not by education, not by culture, not by omission, but by preference (John 3:19), consigned to a darkness which is your most apt and certain environment, the very reflection of your heart.
However, even here there is one comfort: for since it all depends on God and God is love, your own end is not from some clench of psychological teeth; it is in the hands of Him who knows you better than you know yourself, and whose mercy stops at nothing, but the destruction of integrity in the forcing of truth into the bier of brigandage, as if to conscript and not to receive in grace, with grace what is His own. In this final theft, a person extracts his own soul for his own purpose, like brigand stooping even to steal himself. If damage is done to his or her own person, is it any the less for that!