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LICENCE TO KNOW
HOW in the world would you expect to KNOW!
WHO are you ? If you are equipment, then whose ? If you are constructed, then by whom ? If you are effective, then for what ? If you are to find your name and place and position and orientation and denomination of being, then where and from what source ? If you do not know, then you are literally lost. You do not know even WHAT you are, far less who!
It is worse, by a considerable margin, than useless to pretend. Leave that to little children with teddy bears and dolls' houses. It is time to be serious. Life gives you opportunity, death allows assessment on a finished product.
But WHAT has been produced ?
If you cannot know who or what you are, it is at least best to consider what you have done, produced, made with what you are, whatever that is.
Now do not misunderstand. Certainly you cannot know by consulting your thoughts about your thoughts or your interpretations of these items. These are products of what you are, but the you which is to assess the products is, unfortunately, not known. Its functions, in terms of can do and cannot, are known to some extent, but the significance, portent and value of such things, depends ALTOGETHER and what you are for. If a knife cuts, it is good; if a file files, it is good; if a skin conditions soothes and makes more elastic, good; but if a knife smooths, bad.
It depends on what you are for, how well you do, and indeed what you ought to do.
It is perfectly impossible to know this, from yourself. Self-made people are ridiculous. It is a fallacy.
IS possible, and indeed right and good and fitting, one can say, having
trodden the path and found the issuance, is this. You CAN use your mind.
You CAN see where it leads. You CAN assess the result of this, when what
is found has an INTRINSIC LIFE of its own, and when it attests to your
faculties and facilities, that if these are to work at all, then it explains
them, grants them licence to live, and indeed to know, and attests itself
not only through them, but TO them, from without.
When, therefore, you follow your evidence to the minimal necessary cause, as done in SMR, and find as in Repent or Perish Ch. 7, that this removes all the extraneous and self-contradictory features that surge into the scene without it, and when you find further, that it provides self-attestation in a book, and that this book, further yet again, is self-attesting by providing internally all sorts of tests and modes of evaluation which it then, externally, matches in what happens in the world which includes, but does not stop with you (we are not exponents of solipcism, that apotheosis of self-centredness, that affects to know just because things happen) - a world which indeed has a tendency at times for its own part, to do the stopping OF you: then you are out of the cocoon...
When further you find that this book places a person in history, and gives the date of His death, and states the circumstances of His life, and the purpose of His coming to earth, and the nature of His dealings with death and with life, and the character of His offer, and the conditions of it, all in advance by periods up to 1500 years and down to 500 years before He came; and when you discover in addition, that this book concerning this person was committed to a nation which has proved most difficult, Israel, and still does, and that the world is still rubbing its head and wondering what to do about it; and that this nation passed this book on faithfully and with considerable awe, and then for its own part rejected the person whom its book dated in advance, and delivered to the eye, before history did the same to the hand: then you are beginning to realise the world you are in is not yours.
When beyond all this, you find that this offer from this person, whose arrival took around one and one half millenia of announcement before it came, and was shrouded in ceremonial and sacrificial preliminaries over something like that period, has been offered AS a sacrifice, precisely and in the uttermost detail as for example Isaiah declared; and discover that this was merely a preliminary to His being offered as a LIFE, to those who would take Him, and this too was in that same book (Isaiah 52-55); and further find that there is something WRONG with the people of this world, as a race, who are indicted in this book, and that this is precisely the problem in not knowing, because they OUGHT to know, and are as people who have left the father's house and do not EVEN know what it is, and who He is, and even invent all kinds of fantasies about both items, if you could call them that, which of course you cannot, so let us rather say, both entities: then you begin to understand.
That is, you do, unless your orphan status, of which your knowledge deficiency is so prominent a particle, continues by the act of your alienated will to assert itself as a MUST HAVE item, and as to that, it really is an item, though of course simply a pathological one, like a spiritual virus.
further again, you discover that this offer of this person is even called
the GOSPEL, or good news, and that it was so characterised by Isaiah in
Ch. 52, and in sundry other places in the same Book of the Lord, as it
is called in Isaiah 8:20; and that it is again precisely, ignorance of
or departure from this Book that is the criterion and indication of rebellion
against the source of knowledge, who is also the source of life, being
Creator of all that is (Colossians 1, Revelation 4): then
you discover that the mundane things of many kinds find resolution.
WHAT DOES NOT FOLLOW
Things ? Items such as these:
This is all explained, though insanity would seem rather to good a name for it, if it were not.
After all, forget God, and then nations, as well as people, do not know even what they are, or whose they are, or for what purpose they are. They may decide to follow Darwinism and therefore be more efficient than some other nation, and so subdue it, and rule it, and enslave it and make profit out of it, and be indolent on the back of its labours, or something like that; and they do it, just the same, in the name of the Nazis or the Communists.
It makes no difference; it is all survival, but for what! and indeed, it is rather grandiose survival when you liberate half of Europe for 40 years, and export its machinery in no small part, and its scientists and then build things to destroy the world, and make it clear that the world really ought to be ruled by this, and that revolutions are things to let you do this, while displaying other results of total bathetic ignorance allied with self-serving, self-seeking, dominion building implements of Empire, whilst attacking empires, and ways of suppression, while 'exposing' suppression, and giving 'liberation' by slavery of some of the worst kinds of history, while putting the tongue in the cheek so hard that it would hurt if it were not by State kindness, duly anaesthetised.
This is what they could do; would do; do. They do not always do it. Sometimes the UN gives a moral lecture on how to live without God, and indicate that it is for mankind that man lives, but it fails to say why. It finds it totally unacceptable, impermissible is a great old world that they utilise, to have people think anything different, and although it is a terrible thing to get tough on people, some people REQUIRE IT, like those who want to bring their children up on some other basis (which of course would include, in terms of the only possible source of knowledge and the only actual resolution of all the problems of philosophy, and the necessary answer to logic, upon enquiry, as to the source of the world and life). They do it differently; but they still do it, for man must SURVIVE, and this is the national level approach.
Of course Romanism is not in agreement. It would rather than a man called a pope would do all this in the name of Jesus Christ, although he does claim in the New York Catechism, himself to BE God Almighty on earth, which manifestly he is not since he has neither the perfect righteousness nor the absolute power, as is quite obvious, especially when around 1871 he became ‘infallible’ and by sublime irony, was ousted from his place and had to flee, because of little things called armies. But so it goes. ONE is your Master, Christ: ALL you are brothers, is the word of God. Man has other ideas for spiritual forcers.
They have all the ideas that do not work, and all the pretensions manifestly absurd, and they act them out, and people die from Rome, or with the work of its priests as in Yugoslavia in World War II (SMR pp. 920, 951-952, in the Inquisition, or from Beijing, or the remnants of the various Communist forces and forcers here and there, which play God and work hard at it, and make themselves incalculably worse in the process, having wrecked one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world in Lake Baikal, and the Arctic, making this a nice little repository for radio-active waste because ... but let them speak for themselves. They want to run the world they did not make, and are making it messy with blood and mud. That is the result.
Nor is Islam too happy with secular worlds, or other religions, and so it does not let up on the Jews, either in the Conference at Teheran in 1991, or that of last year, in which the need to subdue these restored people is seemingly apparent. Do the Islam people lack land ? They see it for hundreds of miles. Do they lack money ? They rake it in from US and other sources for the oil. Do they lack knowledge of God ? Of course, a religion which has NOTHING testable, and which frequently and without apology, seeks to replace the Book of the Lord, by mere force, which is called sometimes holy wars, is not at all to the point. Its lack of redemption that makes a categorical disposition, leaves man seeking to meet the standards of God without the means, balancing good and evil and trying to get there, wherever it is, somehow, and its use of force in religion proves at once it has nothing to do with God, except as an enemy, for consider.
If God were prone to use force in such things, then there is no principle to prevent it; and so HE is on such a basis as that, responsible for ALL sin. Since then force is not a problem in the heart of man, and mere violence COULD be used to stultify or change it or rule it or suppress it, as with the scimitar's blade, and many there are from Rome and Mecca who have so acted: answerability lies with God, not man’s iniquity.
That makes 'God' responsible for all the sin, and hence a schizophrenic sort of a fellow, whose creations are to be subdued with force, though created with liberty, and who no sooner makes them ABLE to sin than he would remove this possibility.
however you want logic, you need evidence, and harmony of all the concepts,
and here you get neither (cf. SMR pp. 986ff.).
THE LICENCE TO KNOW
But with a false god or without any at all, man goes on without really knowing who he is, or what, or what for, and he tries out this and that, and makes New Age discoveries about magnificent things that happen when EVERYBODY THINKS TOGETHER, but alas unless the thought is logical, it is all self-contradiction, for by logic you find God, and without logic, all thought is vain.
It mixes, it implodes, it explodes, and the race is racing to the unutterable finish called hell, that inferno of folly which expresses again with precision, the reality of rotting and the force of judgment on such things.
Meanwhile the book of the Lord tells you with evidence, with logical necessity, with wholehearted harmony of all items, with illimitable explicatory power of all things, what you need to know. Since it is outside yourself, it is not subject to your own limits. Since it is testable, it is beyond your thought, merely proposing and exposing tests for all to see (as in Isaiah 41, 43, 48).
Man needs a licence to know, but failing to take it, he does not know, but often acts as if he did, and so history. Just now, it is not very great, is it ? This too is in the book as we have often shown (e.g. SMR Ch. 8, Answers to Questions Ch. 5). When however he uses his licence, by taking the book of the Lord, and through this, the Lord of the Book, in the certain agreement and arrangement provided, called the Gospel, then the results of this too, occur. He is then in peace, at peace and in a situation where his love of God, who IS love, becomes a love of others, since God is loving, and this without the folly of being indiscriminate, for love and truth are allied (John 1) in the most intimate fashion, and no divorce is so much as conceivable.
Things did not make themselves; they manifestly cannot. They do not have what it takes, firstly, or show that they have it, by what happens secondly; and what IS needed, is found outside these products, by necessary reason in the arena which expounds, fulfils and proposes tests for itself, in the Book of the Lord, and in the Lord of the Book, who, to make things far easier, and to pay for the price of sin in order to be able justly to forgive it (Romans 3) came to earth AS a man. If that does not let you see, then glasses are not the problem.
YOU have shut your eyes, He charged as recorded in Matthew 13, and just such a thing as this is charged in the Old Testament days, by Isaiah, at the inspiration of the Lord of the Book (cf. Isaiah 59:21; and Isaiah 6, 42). THIS is why you are not converted, healed, saved and delivered. This was the clear intimation of Christ. Impersuasible, relentless before the indefeasible, implacable before the certain, willing to fight like some aroused snake with imperious lift, but with eyes tightly closed, the many continue, as if exalting in blindness, intoxicated with poverty of soul and smelling the 'nose' of ruin, like some flimsy wine. It is precisely as predicted*1 .
It is true of nations other than Israel, poor suffering Israel, so slow to come*2; but which other nations are faster! The world seethes with nationalities which specialise in this or that failure to know and follow God. NAME ONE CHRISTIAN NATION! You cannot. NO ONE even draws near to following the book, though some, it is true, have made in the past some valiant efforts, so that many laws reflect things of the Lord, though contemporary minds have long moved away, some with the aid of ingenious ideas like having JUDGES determine what the CURRENT SOCIAL MILIEU would make of FORMER LAWS: and so escaping even that.
That sententious seething, it was a mode, part of the ignoring God, and making man god, which is rather futile you see, for one only good reason: he is not in fact of that kind. There is in fact nothing of that kind; the only God, necessarily and actually as shown in SMR, is ONE and revealed, in the Book of the Lord and in the Lord of the Book, who thus served to mankind His identity card, and then used it. That is known as the incarnation, the ministry of the Messiah, the crucifixion of Christ, the resurrection, the Gospel, which as stated in Isaiah, would continue to circulate in the earth, till the end should come (as in Isaiah 51:6 and Ch. 66).
It is interesting that end, in Isaiah 66, for in the last verses it is seen to be hell, but not hell alone: this is merely a presented object for those who know God to consider.
It is better avoided, not least since it is merely the destination of the LIE, the pretence that man made himself, or nature or some other manifestly absurd inadequacy (A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 1-9) did so: something which neither SHOWS the powers needed, nor USES them. The end of the lie is conflict with the fact; and when this lie concerns God, it is conflict to the uttermost point with God, and since God is the source, sustainer and arbiter of life, what would you expect!
It is better to follow the truth, the book of the Lord and to know the Lord of the book. It is ONLY THEN that you can know yourself, what you are, and then later, who you are, and of course, WHY you are and what you have to do, and since God is love, and understands all these things to perfection, this in a fitting sublimity. That, it is in Him who has made all things and needs nothing, and in whom is NOTHING GIVEN since there is none to give it, and has all that He would be at all times: and it is then you find not only the ANSWER.
You then find the magnificence which so many religions and nations and individuals and groups like to seek for, or find appealing, or pretend they have in part or in whole, and die, and their corpses do not adorn the earth, nor their findings. You find God, however, in this way, according to His word; and then the criteria for all things, the meaning, the methods, the procedures, the principles lie exposed to sight.
Yes in this way, you find the MEANING of life, and of your own life, and its purposes, and its wisdom, and the wisdom of the One who made it, and repent in sackcloth and ashes, or in any other way depicting reality and its impact and your own inadequacy, insufficiency and error of NOT KNOWING HIM OR THESE THINGS SOONER, which is only one of the items in the bag of sin.
Turning to Him in faith, you then find that this is not only a noetic thing, nor a brilliance of mind, nor an explanation. It is life also. It has the thrust of life, the use of the sports car which you are, the road to take, the destinations on the way, with still enormous scope for errors of mind, spirit and body, which should rather be avoided; and there is room for abundant and even exuberant artistry, as for all the growth and deepenings, like a harbour constantly able to take larger vessels; and indeed, you are more than all this. You find in the book and in your heart (Romans 8:16 9 is the verbal statement, but it has spiritual dynamic to match) that you are a child of God.
Hence therefore all the illusion, so like Macbeth's haunting dagger, offering wht is not there, but merely pointing to it; and at what did his dagger point!
To be sure, these '’illusions' were no allusions as to your STATUS QUO, before finding God, or rather being found BY Him, for HE always knows who is His, what He is doing, a just relief to those afflicted by the follies of the flesh, in self or others, regimes or nations or philosophies or false religions, and turning mercifully to Him.
Then you WERE indeed not a child of God, though you were a derivation, a creation and were made with this status quo of child of God in view. If you divorce from it, you are not quite and entirely meaningless, though very near to it in some ways. You are then a prodigy qua creation, and a botch qua usage. You are a thing of fantastic value in the schema and design, but of unutterable confusion in the doings and concepts. 'Mess' is not too far to go, in seeking nomenclature, for what IS a mess, but this: a considerable combination of things which were of various purposes or uses, but now are neither present in their integrity as pieces, nor in their harmony as a whole. THAT, it is man without God.
Of course you could get money from other worldlings if you were a mess, since they often like messes, and being such, find themselves at home with other ones, and so can pay you more and entice and encourage you. Further, even messes can be of some value, for there may be components left. You can still think, even if you do not know what you are, or who you are, or specifically for what you were designed. In spiritual things, the mess aspect is not necessarily obvious, since the colour of the emotions, the state of the heart and the quality of your spirit are not actually objects on display... except to God.
The Book of the Lord calls such a state one of alienation from God, for those whose constitution is cursed, one of ignorance of life, in Ephesians 2 and 4. It is not pleasant. The world of worldlings is not pleasant and its PRINCE whom Christ so called, is not at all pleasant, and indeed in John 14:30 we find that he has NO PART IN CHRIST WHATSOEVER. The divorce thus between non-Christian man and God is total. Even rubbish dumps can have controls (Luke 16:23ff.)
licence ? Licence to know who you are, what you are, whose you are, from
whom you came, why you are here, your destiny, your place, this is provided
by the Lord according to His word.
FALSE NULLITIES AND OTHER FRAUDS OF ADOPTION
It does not exist elsewhere. Driving your life without a licence is spiritually illegal. It is not neutral. Affecting to know without God, or from one whom you make up, is likewise worse than illegal; it is gross impudence. The Biblical term 'jealousy' which appears a sort of mix of concern at gross unfaithfulness with enormous ZEAL (for that is where all human zeal comes from, this intense and prodigious power and purity of God, which with Him, being not misplaced, is stupendously and amazingly delightful, like a waterfall beyond all in a sunset of marvel and under skies of wonder, by a place of peace, resting nearby, all together): this indicates something of the hatred of God at a person’s wilful displacement from Him, WHEN to this have added, foolish inventions for false worship.
Thus in Isaiah 25:15-16, we find this:
Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the Lord,Their counsel! In this, they invent what they please. Fancy a made thing saying to its Maker, or of Him, "He did not make me!" That is so impudently absurd, pertinaciously self-propelled, like a self-propelled gun denying its manufacture because, behold, it moves! This, it is precisely what so many worshippers of naturalism, nature worshippers, do when they embrace that asp, organic evolution, to their poisoned bosoms. One does not, need not say 'poisonous' for that is a judgment; but poisoned, this is the judgment of the word of God, and as we have frequently shown (as in SMR Ch. 2) of reason.
And their works are in the dark;
They say, “Who sees us?” and, “Who knows us?”
16 Surely you have things turned around!
Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay;
For shall the thing made say of him who made it,
“He did not make me”?
Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it,
“He has no understanding”?
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.
It is a "turning of things around" indeed! It incites, produces IDENTITY CRISES, or what is worse, SELF-EXALTATION, as if one had simply to embrace some philosophy or rule for it to become operative, and this were not idolatry. It is the march of death, in which all are volunteers, most are deceived, and some stridently blatant. In this last case, since they cannot bear the truth, they deny it, defy it and wound themselves as they seek to attack whatever may be there to attack in their witless agnosticism, which is merely veiled idolatry of a god who is not there.
In the preceding verses in Isaiah 29, God specialises in the deceitful worship, rather than as above, the devious delinquencies. Here He says this:
the Lord said:
Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
And honor Me with their lips,
But have removed their hearts far from Me,
And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,
14 Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work
Among this people,
A marvelous work and a wonder;
For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.”
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.
This latter part, Isaiah 29:14, is cited by Paul, and indeed in 28:16 we have already seen in Isaiah the substance of the action intended and divinely planned. God would make someone a FOUNDATION: in whom to believe, gives rest (cf. Isaiah 11:10, where that resting place is glorious).
is course the same one as in Isaiah 32:1-4, in 4:6, in 11:1-10, in 9:1-7,
in 40:10, in 42:1-6, in 49:1-6, in 52-53, in 54-55, in 61 and so on, the
Messiah, whose qualities are those of the Lord, which are indispensable,
and undistributable, being His own uniquely (as in Isaiah 40:15ff., 48,
51:12-16); and these of course include sinlessness (as in Isaiah 53:9),
the Messiah being the human replacement of the spotless lamb of sacrifice,
in which no blemish could be (cf. I Peter 2:22ff.). Let us not be confused
in this: divine character may indeed be formed in this and that manner,
within man, including the love of the same things, increasing power to
work and walk and live that way, and an enabling to these ends: but with
God, it is illimitable by nature, irresistible in power, impregnable to
all impurity, untempered by limitation, original and underived.
'MARVELLOUS' AND 'STRANGE WORK' OF GOD
TO REMOVE ESTRANGEMENT OR OUST RUBBISH
This "marvellous work and a wonder" of which the prophet speaks is then the Messiah in His various duties. Thus His tenderness in treating the needy (Isaiah 29, 35), His power to discern and never be duped (Isaiah 11), His deliverance of "captives" from the containment of sin (Isaiah 61, the part He read at Nazareth as in Luke 4), His offering of Himself a sacrifice, so that for those healed (v. 5) He would bear the sin (v. 6), and then much later, His rule (9:7, 54, 63:1-6, 59:20-21, 55, 11 with 65, cf. Psalm 73): all these things are involved. It is the TOTAL REMEDIAL OPERATION OF THE LORD. There is no other Saviour but He (Isaiah 43:10-11), and as to the Saviour, this is none other than the Messiah (53:1-6,10-11), who even made intercession for sinners as He died, that He might break death and others live forever, with Him (Isaiah 26:19).
Hence this marvellous work has both aspects, as Christ Himself put it in Luke 24, the sufferings and the glory to follow. In the coming in flesh, He exposed the appalling ignorance of those, who not knowing God, knew neither their own identity nor His, and so fouled their deeds and words alike, all with the utmost self-assurance (for which they received their judgment starting phase only, as exposed in Matthew 23). These were they who waited to seduce Him from truth, to trick Him into weakness, to expose His words or deeds or both, and they assailed Him with the vehemence which sin has (Luke 12:52-54); though it does not always find it necessary to reveal this, either to the victim, the sinner, or to the world, the spectator (and hence so much talk of 'image' rather than reality, in the modern trend!).
In Isaiah 29 we see something of this labour of exposure, as in the flesh for Christ; but in the same context of "His work, His awesome work" (in 28:21), you have the Lord in His judicial action, when "He shall bring to pass His unusual act" or 'strange act'. In this case, it is as in Zechariah 14 and in Micah 7 and in Habakkuk 3, an action of judgment in which He comes to manifest the corruption of man, impose righteousness and vindicate the same on THIS EARTH, a while, before it goes (as in Isaiah 11, 51:6, 66).
Of course there is a very different aspect in both the phases of His work, the suffering and the glory. It is a very strange disease which fouls, mars and ruins mankind, as now is becoming all too obvious, as fewer and fewer countries can even contrive to 'look good' on the surface, let alone in any depth, when Africa is nearer and nearer a ruin, in hunger and Aids, when more of Asia limps in the same; and much of what is not quite gone, is falsely ruled by tyrants, and what is not so ruled, wars, or both apply simultaneously, as if wreckage on earth is determined to make hell look merely a 'natural end', with spiritual dimensions exhibited clearly, with no ... dust to cover.
Indeed, in that day, the earth will have given up its dead (as Isaiah 26:19, Daniel 12 and Matthew 24 indicate), and that will expose a lot more, will it not! There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and the only blotter is the blood of Christ (cf. Ephesians 1-2).
Strange act ? Yes in its tenderness, its self-forgetfulness, its vicarious love, its sympathy, its empathy to end all empathy, to BECOME first man, then BUTT of religious satire, then BEARER of the evils He had to overcome, then VICTIM as sacrifice, then OBJECT of ridicule WHILE He did it, the very restraint which did not use mere power, being pilloried by those who could not understand LOVE. Yes, very strange in the most delightful way. But it is strange again, as in Isaiah 28, when having done all (Isaiah 5 - what more could He have done for His vineyard, as He expostulates), He judges and puts all this confused rhetoric and evilly infused deeds of folly into their classes, compartments, all the purposes into their actual files.
Then He settles the earth, no longer even appearing as a wobbling thing, or rather much worse; then He puts it on its course, all too true, too clear, uncovered, exposed, and brought to the undying attestation of the eternal light, which is God Himself, in His sheer illuminative intensity. Nothing can hide. Only in Christ is one hidden (Colossians 3:3); and this, it is by love, through mercy wrought in action in history. That, love, to repeat what is so needed in a world of repetition, is what God is. You have to have rubbish piles when there is rubbish; it is HOW you proceed to deliver the aspiring rubbish which is not to be so, that matters!
But as to that ? Look at Isaiah 28:
"They err in vision, they stumble in judgment.There is the licence for knowledge, and it is VOIDED by REJECTION.
For all tables are full of vomit and filth;
No place is clean.
Whom will He teach knowledge ?
And whom will He make to understand the message ?
Those just weaned from milk ?
Those just drawn from the breasts ? ...
For with stammering lips and another tongue
He will speak to this people,
To whom He said, "This is the rest with which
You may cause the weary to rest,'
And 'This is the refreshing,'
Yet they would not hear."
This is the way of sin, the way of the world, and the reason for all the confusions of philosophies, the appalling presumptions of naturalistic, or illusionist governments, conflicting with their own people and with other governments, all the unnatural conduct springing like a diver, from a springboard of unnatural assumptions about nature, into the polluted and shallow pool, so that injured man is denaturised and folly becomes his very name.
Knowledge ? You need a licence for it. You get it from the Manufacturer, but 'manu' - hands, so rather the Creator. You find Him in Christ. You need to repent and come to Him as He is, and then accept His pardon and gain His peace. Then you set about knowing who you are, what He wants of you, where you are placed and why.
Knowledge it is a wonderful thing; but wholly meaningless and useless, in the end (oh yes! you can see that a spanner will turn a nut, but in the end, what are you who turns it!) unless you are found by the One who bound your particles into design, liberated your brain into instrumentality for a spirit, endued the spirit with meaning and method, but left it unattached because of the sin of the race, until it found its place. That, it is Himself, as expressed when He CAME to earth expressly to show His face, give us, each one, his/her place, and make open the door to that.
Licensed, knowledge is placed where it is, in Him whose it is, and as derivatives, products of His good pleasure, we then find that there is something very special without which our sin would be meaningless and unable to be found: we are in the first place in His image, and that, for the One who is a Spirit, means compatible for communication, apt for friendship and able to be empowered to walk with Him. You recall Enoch in Genesis ? He walked with God, and was no more on the earth; for God took him. This is the singular case which gives the key to the bulk purchase, all the redeemed.
They too walk with and work for God; and in a little He will take them (as in Answers to Questions Ch. 5) : this, like the creation and the redemption, is simply part of the plan. It cleans things up. This old world is not the beginning, nor is it the end; though it both was begun and will end. It is God, alpha and omega, who is this, and more, being beyond and before all time, our time His invention (Romans 8:38-39, John 17:3). It is necessary to be at peace with Him, in the quietness as it were, of His study, with His book, to understand. That peace is past understanding (Philippians 3); it is natural. authentic, actual, not a state, stage or inducement; for it flows like the streams from the hills covered in verdure fresh from the rain, into the lake of reality.
this you then sit, and row, and see the reflections all about you, and
have the spiritual water under you; but you have a task, to row. It is
then that His work as Counsellor (Isaiah 9:6) is so vital; and this makes
the whole so exciting in this, that for a mere man to KNOW GOD is the elixir
that philosophy always drops, the wonder that the world in its spectaculars
always misses, the love that marriage betokens and friendships look to,
the height of man's destiny, the omission of which makes insanity look
sane by comparison.
*1 II Timothy 3, well rendered in the New American Standard Version, stalks the contemporary scene, in prediction, long before it arrived in history:
"But realize that in the last days difficult times will come.
"For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God..."
Much of this is NOW more or less taken for granted in many quarters, and even used as a guide, in the various self-philosophies which sell themselves.
Israel is a veritable type for many other nations. Been there, done that is the case in much for her, as now for many others. It is a PRINCIPLE, which however much it is coming to its evil fruition now, is applicable at other times; and indeed, in the history of Israel, it had its own culminations in the killing of its king.
As to the principles applicable to all, but here in particular to those who controvert the principles of Christ while having some religion: these too being now in such disregard, evidence and attest the force of the word of God in its analysis, as in I Timothy 6, again from the NASV:
Speaking of various divinely given principles, Paul continues:
"If any one advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness..."
We have here the nature of the case about to be described. Arising from one principle, it comes into the arena of SUCH principles, namely those of the word of God.
What then is true of such a person, who so seek controvert ? This:
" ... he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment."