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LICENCE TO LIVE
To live is fundamental. It is so basic that to fail to do it, removes all the other matters we have discussed, in this, that if the person is absent, the thought is not present; nor are the ideals: that is, for the person. If however the person HAS BEEN PRESENT, but now is absent from this particular stage, the world, then to die is not so fatal for these considerations.
It merely increases their impact!
If you have never owned a house, then the destruction of a city is not going to cost you your housing. If however you once had a house there, and it remained up till the destruction, then the memory of it is now in your mind, but not manifest in the city!
So if you have lived, and died, and have cordially rejected the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, then though you have no house in life eternal (John 14:1-3, 3:36), you once had scope for a house where it might be found; so that the memory that you retain, of your opportunities, this remains, though the house which might have come to you, through once living in this world, is absent. It is as if it were destroyed.
Survival is so childish. It is nothing to the point. You can survive as a ghoul, by eating the flesh of other human beings, as occurred in Stalingrad, some people looking in the bloom of health, while most looked harrowed and harassed, thinned and in need. Then you die. (Cf. A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 6.)
You can break other businesses by flexing financial muscle, businesses better perhaps than your own; you lower price, bring them to ruin by this sort of 'competition' (like a race in which you start 5 metres ahead), and then without competition, raise the price. Then you die.
You may harass your wife, be unkind to your children, be surly to your neighbours, and so live in a splendour of private isolationism, a crusty curmudgeon, satisfied with snarling. Then you die.
WHAT is the use of this
little extra, that it be purchased at such a price ?
For eternity your shame is revealed, exposed like a feature film, and the least
word of the unredeemed, shouted from the housetops, is all too audible (Luke
12:2-3, Matthew 25:34ff.). Truth does not die that lie should live. Lie dies
that truth should live; and that is PART of the POWER of the bodily
resurrection of Christ. It is not an image, it is a
biological and physical reality. You can poke fingers into the wounds (cf. SMR
Ch. 6, and pp. 931ff., Joyful Jottings 25, A Spiritual Potpourri 15, 16,
Stepping Out for Christ
The wounds however of your soul, unhealed, unhallowed, the flavours of sin, the repertoire of folly, or the screed of selfishness, the mastery which was mere misery of thought enshrined in dignity which dies: these things remain for those resurrected to judgment.
In John 5:19ff., we see that indeed there is a time for resurrection; there is no hiding in the shadows of spiritual nirvanas. God is just. Justice will be done. It was this which was one of the major thrusts to the crucifixion: God had His only begotten Son, His fellow from eternity (SMR Ch. 7, Part IV), face the judgment in order that His intrinsic mercifulness might consummate salvation. Pay and then take freely (John:39-40); die and then give eternal life freely (Romans ). Thus Romans 3 has this:
(and if THE LAW - one translation - is not good enough, far less is any mere LAW - another translation, which does not even come from the mouth of God! cf. Romans 6:23, with 3:22).
Romans proceeds shortly, in vv. 24ff.:
whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood through faith,
to demonstrate His righteousness,
Wrath is propitiated by payment; justice is met by just payment, and covered by divine redemption: a perfection to cover an evil, a righteousness to dismiss an unrighteousness, an exaction to allow the forfeit of death, a death to provide life.
It is all done so that God might be JUST on the one hand, and the JUSTIFIER, or remitter of sin, of sinners, on the other.
JUSTICE and GOD are inseparable (Psalm 89:14):
"Justice and judgment are the habitation of Your throne; mercy and truth shall go before Your face. Blessed is the people who know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of your countenance."
notice however that MERCY AND TRUTH go before His face,
just as justice and judgment are the foundation of His throne, where it lives.
Thus in this Messianic Psalm 89, dwelling on the Messiah to come and
rule on this earth (cf. Psalm 72), in mercy, truth and grace, we find this
medley: mercy and justice are inseparable in this, that JUSTICE MUST BE DONE, a
thing indispensable; and MERCY is shown, a matter ebullient. When that however
is dismissed, then only judgment remains. That is precisely what the Gospel
says, in John 3:16-36!
LIVING THE LIE
There is the option to live the lie. You CAN then survive, and ignore the foundation of His throne, while setting up your own little muck heap. One says this, since what is not eternal, is muck in the end, WHEN ETERNITY IS ITS DESIGN CRITERION. You cannot reach back, but you can live forward, for ever.
It is the ETERNAL LIFE of God who is Christ (I John 1:1-4), who came, was handled, certified by man, authorised from heaven, irreplaceable in mercy, final judge.
It is the ETERNAL LIFE of God who is Christ (I John 1:1-4), who came, was handled, certified by man, authorised from heaven, irreplaceable in mercy, final judge. As for ignoring His mess, on the cross, when He was so marred that the very character of humankind was obliterated, defaced to virtual oblivion, in favour of adding your own, for His depicts what justice does to sinning man (cf. Galatians 3:1-13, Isaiah 52:13-14, I Timothy 3:16): this is a very marvel of mess. It is warranted, sought, desired mess, unretired through mercy, inhabited by ghoulish disaster, the irreparable ruin of the remorseless.
Thus we read in Hebrews 10 of that ruinous rejection of the living God, in His Gospel of mercy, which brings forth this aspect, like a Hiroshima of the soul: "there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries" - from vv. 26-27. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God," we read in Hebrews 10:31.
To be like the chaff which the winds blows away is one thing (as in Psalm 1), when this is a matter of the chosen way; but when this is aggressively asserted and recklessly achieved in the very face and place of being a child of God, and known by Him as such, you acquire a certain evil eminence.
To be in the class of rebel against mercy, ingrate in the face of kindness, autonomous godlet before the living God is a pitiable horror, like the Porsche dropped from some height, to smash useless on the ground, a relic of witness, recognisable with difficulty, a ruin to the eyes. THAT expensive episode was evidently for advertisement; but THIS is for justice. The results are similar, except in this, that the one is the result of physical laws, and the other is the impact of spiritual laws on the tissue of life when cancer is the torture it inflicts upon itself, and disease is its manner of life, even when the hospital for such operations is nearby, the surgeon on stand-by, the beds plentiful and the grace of the nursing staff inspired by the Lord Himself.
Living the lie (II Thess. -11) is a deathly way to exist; but it does not void the FACT that one lived. Survival techniques which are not founded on justice, not immersed in mercy (Proverbs 3:3), not a matter of living but of continuing existence, are so profoundly abhorrent that their eventual dismemberment is sure (as indicated and typified in Isaiah 14:9ff., and specified in Jude 15, Mark 9). It is rather like watching the setting sun, slowly disappearing with its light, beyond the horizon, while the darkness gathers, to remain. It is to be expected, in principle, and duly happens in fact. With life, the darkness will then last longer, will linger.
This inveterate life which is a form of death, glamorised by brilliance, from our creation, is a miscreancy, an oddity, an anomaly, an excrescence, a folly, like those built by the rich in England, to commemorate their desire, their lives, their values, their importance; and quite impractical. They are there; they do not have obvious value, except most assuredly in this, that they are a lasting indication of the wildness of spirit, the eccentricity of thought or the misdirection of heart, or some such thing, of those who so indulged. THAT, it is architecture; but the architecture of the spirit of man is a more permanent affair, of greater depth and profundity, meaning and portent.
It is sad that it is often quite forgotten that God not only KNOWS as we have seen earlier in this volume, ALL that transpires; and not only FOREKNOWS who are His, and what is to be the end, since He IS alpha and omega, and all His works are known to Him from the foundation of the world (Acts 15:18, Isaiah 41,43,48, Ephesians 1:4, Romans 8:29ff, Ephesians 1:11): but He also has His judgments prepared. "ONE OF YOU," He told the disciples, "is a devil" (John 13:1118ff., 6:70); and this He announced at a relatively early stage. SO however it was written, and thus it had to be, as He declared (cf. Joyful Jottings 25).
The life of a lie is like that of a bacterium before a powerful and adequate battery of medical knowledge and preparations; except in this, that medical knowledge is limited, and that of God is not.
The lie which hurts utterly is not some depraved act, appalling as it be; it is the source and criterion of depravity, the definition and very depiction of immorality. It is the seduction of the self to the service of sin BY ignoring the mercy of God PRECISELY where it may be found (Isaiah 55, Ephesians -13, Galatians 3). The arrogance of inventing some other way, as if one were God, in which divine mercy must be shown, or it is hoped that it will be, when the way has been outlined for millenia, progressively portrayed in word, cumulatively fulfilled in deed in the immolation of Christ: this makes morality shudder, for it is a tilt at God, just as in Isaiah 14 noted above.
It is a vacuity where there is mentality, it is a devaluation of value, an ascription of divine status to human life, while debasing human life to its merely modelled parameters as if to counterpoise the pose; it is a preparation of health for the sick, by the sick, a thing both sickening and sickly.
What could possibly improve on the character of its fate, but that fearful thing, to "fall into the hands of the living God".
In Chernobyl, currently
developing fractures in the sarcophagus which covers its glassy and deadly ash,
there is man who routinely goes down to inspect and perhaps photograph the
state of the thing covered, in case the need of action becomes even more
imperative than it is, for that billion dollar, rail-brought new sarcophagus
that is in planning stage, from the West. It is to be imported, IF it comes. It
is prepared elsewhere. If it does not come, through some pride or arrogance,
some self-sufficiency or pure disregard in
So is this sin of disregard and arrogance in man, when he refuses the sarcophagus of Christ and Him crucified, to cover his dearly deserved death with that of the divine One who is wonderful. Not merely a folly, it is a furtherance of folly. Not merely a disaster, it is the highlighting of disaster. It is not mere murder: it is the flaring of the flames of murder, as your sin ignites that for others, and your 'rays' of sin, perhaps allegedly so highly moral as with the Pharisees (Matthew 23), strike at the lives of others, who may join you in your depravity.
As John inscribes it:
It is time to consider the case further.
STUDIES IN THE ANATOMY OF WRATH
God does not approve of lying.
It violates truth of which He is the source,
and languishes in imagination, a misused gift that in this, invents disaster.
That is one of the fundamentals so vast, that it is chasmal, abysmal while yet like a searing searchlight, blinding the eyes, when it is dismissed. It continues to search.
When lies are made, about God Himself for example, this is like seeking to change the points of the compass, and would result in confusion, abuse and disorder like the crunching of a vast vessel against a series of rock massifs, hidden just below the surface of the disastrous seas.
It means that the standard
is adjusted, by mere meretricious audacity; that the truth is squeezed, as if
it were some profit margin for economy. It would remake God, or else, ask for
The latter is available; the former is not.
While the ultimate lie is fatal, it is also has its path in the present and its end in confrontation with deity, as John puts it in I John 2:21-23:
"I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ ? He is antichrist, who denies the father and the Son. Whosoever denies the Son, the same does not have the Father: he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also."
To confront God when truth is not even possible without Him (cf. SMR Chs. 3, 10, Repent or Perish 7, Spiritual Refreshings for the Biblical Millenium 16, That Magnificent Rock Ch. 5), is an act at once immeasurable in its folly and fey in its thought. It breaches not only one's own constitution and place, but aspires in its implications to remove the creator, and dismiss the Saviour. Such trumpetings for so small and sinful a creation as man are not merely ludicrous, irrational and absurd; they allow a retroactive analysis of the persistent unbeliever. Exhibiting his nature like the reflective image from ultra-sound, in his revelations of his 'faith' or more aptly 'disfaith', it is he himself who is revealed (172, 774, 999-1002C).
Heinous disregard of errors
made, insistence on pollution, unrealism - such is the matrix of man vying with
God, and intending some other way. However, what is the objective situation in
view for such immeasurable rebellion ? It is this.
In acting as one central in thought,
architect for a disposition of things which is not actual,
while being impotent in power to realise it,
and incapable of providing for such of its follies as sin -
since impurity cannot atone:
the rebel against God is hence committed to injustice or death for all; or else oblivion.
It is either therefore either a merciless, dissident universe, this too, by virtue of power needs, one to be given by God as if a prisoner of hate; or it is nothing!
Nothing! This second, suicidal option is not available. Just as nothing cannot create things as we have often noticed; nothing cannot embrace things, since they leave traces in what is, like the traces in
is simply not available. God does not abdicate, nor does He change who is immutable, always what
He would be, knowing all things before they are, with nothing to contribute to
Him or to defile (cf. Acme, Alpha and Omega: Jesus Christ Ch. 8). The rule, the regimen and the results are what
they are; He is, and all else is as it has been.
If it is not, it is because truth and justice, love and compassion, brotherhood in truth and peace in pardon is not desired. It is then a failure to come where these things alone are to be found, on the terms alone available. It does not, because it cannot work. It leads to what we see in a writhing world, and all variants always have done so, will do so,
What is desired then, in substitution for justice and truth, with mercy, is merciless impossibility, based on unreason, calculated for comradeship with lie. The hellish fragments of fictitious thought, deluded morals and unsound aspiration combine to seek their destiny, not in fulfilment, but in exposure.
These are merely some of the summary offences of any clearly thought through commitment to evacuation of God from the heart, and desire for another universe, compliments of God, where such heartless follies could be committed! Mercy does not dabble in such incendiary explosives, such destitution of reason, such irresponsibility or such defrauding of truth.
In view of these obfuscatory and obtrusvie subversions of reality, is it any wonder, then, that they face assessment by its source and basis, of a judicially contemptuous character! As Daniel presents it, it but exposes to light what is dissident from it, and abides in a darkness of combined impotence and impurity:
It is as if to say, here are many to arise and awake, clean, in focus; but as for the rest (those in distant form and dimmed demeanour), these to everlasting contempt (cf. J. Barton Payne, Encyclopedia of Prophecy, pp. 391-392). It is a contempt so vast as to inhabit an eternity, whatever its imbuements with its own time; it is an anguish unspeakable, an oblivion which cannot be taken, since it is and has been what it was, an everlasting destruction as in Isaiah 66:24, a shame that is borne as notably in exposure and exposition of evil, as may be worn, the cover in Christ, which hides, that of Him who makes clean.
This the shame, however, reveals, and what it shows is neither cleaned nor redeemed.
This is not misfortune, for its preference for darkness lies in the very face of the divine willingness to redeem, adequately attested (I Timothy 2, Ezekiel 33:11, Hosea 7:1, Matthew , II Peter 3:9). It is unreasonable unreality, expressed in wanton will, not without opportunity, but without desire.
God knows and it is He who elects with all this in view: and no wonder then we read in Psalm 58:9:
A living wrath is a terrible thing when the Life involved is that of the Living God. It is no mere record for some secretary, it is nothing so small. It is vital. It is vigorous. It is rigorous. As life is propounded in DNA with enormous complexities, and the brain is constructed with astonishing ingenuities, staggering attention to detail: so defilement meets wrath, when the end comes, and the means of equally detailed deliverance are dashed away in folly, as in Psalm 2:3.
It is a living wrath, the wrath of life, not merely aborted, contorted, distorted in those who flee, but with its very redemption despised, its provisions obliterated if they could be, and its ways disdained.
we are not surprised to learn from Hebrews 10 that it is a fearful thing to
fall into the hands of the living God. Better by far to lie immersed
continually in a solution especially prepared from
LICENCE TO A LIFE, THAT IS NEVER REMOVED
There is however, LICENCE TO LIVE. It is IN Christ (I John 1:1-4) who is it. It is governed through Him, available in Him, made accessible by Him. It is NOT a natural consummation of biological life; it is no continuation of such a thing. It is the very life of God, which in His inimitable way, having become in His own person, the doom of death, and its destruction (Hosea ), having as man plumbed its depths like a depth charge, He then contributes to those who are His.
He endured His OWN WRATH to deliver us from it (I John 2:2, Hebrews 5:7, Galatians 3:1-13). In this way, His intense and immense purity and beauty of holiness is vindicated: it applies, it is neither dispersed nor attenuated. There is no compromise. It hurt immensely as He, the Christ, felt sundered from the eternal cohesion of reality in the trinity; but His reward, as one who is love, is in the redemption of some. The felicity is in the purity; the purity is in the intensity; the intensity is remorseless, unimpugnable. It will pay, but never allay.
Thus does the height, so the depth, exhibit in spiritual topography, a vista and a panorama indeed, of superb and supreme continuity of concept, felicity of extent, coverage of all things, vindication of love, manifestation of mercy, without in the very least part doing what so many contrive to do, among those whom He created, whose miscreancy is found in the turmoil of the world: using violence. THAT is vile, whether used on one's own life, by sundry composures and compromises, or on that of others.
Nor is it only physical, nor in vile indoctrination alone. How many bury themselves in infelicitous pretences and pretensions, allowing ideals to die and morals to be melded with desire, till the result is like a stricken fortress, or a dead lake, which died into a crevice in the ground! Death is not only with the sword, but with the psyche, the soul, the spirit; and its machinations are many, to allow folly or to enforce it.
Eternal life is voluntary. It is not that we can create it; or make the opportunity for it; or even seize that opportunity; for without God we can do nothing.
God is not an island to be invaded: He is a Spirit who knows all, and made spirits and construes them never amiss, knows their dealings and is not susceptible to any surprise. It is however the case that in Him we find it, and by Him and through Him; so that what is found is in essence voluntary, though the means to it, through sin, are distanced from our minds, and removed from our grasp. It is only as God acts, that we can respond; and it is only when He has acted that we may see and so understand.
As Christ declared, "That which is
born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit... " and earlier He stated this: "Unless one is
born again, he cannot see the
However God in electing is doing what man cannot, but what He can, foreknowing His own not in their pure pursuits, but in essential regards; for it is not nothing which is before Him, but something, the soul of man.
It is not merit which enthuses Him, for there is none (Romans 3:23ff., Ephesians 2:1-10). It is conferred.
It is not performance.
In salvation, this is HIS!
It is not impressiveness; for the impress of sin is ruin, and the light which is darkness cannot enthrall.
Transcending all things, He knows His own, neither forcing them, nor congratulating them, for there is no congratulation for what occasioned the cross, the sin which was nailed to it, in the sense that the prescriptions of judgment were transferred from the believer to the Redeemer. He misses none (John , , Jeremiah 5:1, Jeremiah , Ephesians 1:4, ).
Judas in fact represents in PRINCIPLE the fact that great nearness, invitation, opportunity is the lot of a category of persons who reject with a fierce intensity, a calamitous assurance and an incisive desire, perhaps stirred by this or that (John 12:5ff.), the very presence of God as He missions in salvatory exercises! It is like not taking a flight when you are at the aerodrome, are invited and ply and project shots at the pilot. Caiaphas as in John 11, represents a category of professional religionists for whom the form is more important than the function, the spiritual function relative to divinity. These in fact, in spirit as far as may be, in body when opportunity arises like a whirl-wind when their ... interests are involved, would murder God Himself, were He but to take a form rendering this possible. When He did, they did it to the form provided, rather like someone with a questionnaire filling in a form. In their case, the pen was like a stiletto.
They did not desire this answer.
What they sought was His
removal. Though the Lord was near, and they did not seek Him (Isaiah 55 tells
But you say, I DO NOT WANT IT! So be it, why grumble or weep ? If NON-GOD is your heart's desire, then endure your abominable liaison with lust (see Ch. 6 above), and your flirtation with fantasy, as we saw above in the incapacity of what wills, to endow anything with life that endures, not merely in practice, but in principle (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 2). Yet I WOULD have it, you may pursue, it is just that I am afraid of not being my own boss; it is bad enough being employed.
Will you then judge God, though but fallen man; and let fear abort your longings because you do not trust the One without whom neither mind nor sanity could exist (Repent or Perish Ch. 7, SMR Ch. 3) ? Is cowardice to distinguish you even from soldiers who routinely risk physical death daily, and who go where they may not know! Is this some excuse ?
But, you may say, it is not at all a question of excuse. I am afraid, and that is all.
Then take courage, as when you eat your lunch, and do not unduly fear that arsenic is in it. After all, it may be; but in God is no evil, nor can there be as we have seen above, and often before.
But He may require of me what I have no desire to do, you reply.
How terrible! Which employee has never had this experience and still worked and lived. Life did not go away because you had to meet some obligation.
But this, you may pursue the point, it is not a thing to be endured: it is a new self, a new life, a new environment of terms completely and I fear it.
As to the last, NOT COMPLETELY. You are already a creation; and your entire apparatus and capacity is ALREADY dependent wholly and solely on God. Little stimuli of this and that drug do not alter the fact that man is like a mosquito on the water, in weight of knowledge, when his spirit is concerned. If God then is your current abode, except for your rebellion, why not omit the latter and endorse the former. There is no excuse. His goodness is demonstrable and we have demonstrated it (for example, in SMR Ch. 1, 10, Barbs, Arrows and Balms Chs. 6 and 7).
Yet I may tire of His goodness, I may want to make my own universes!
Is this the case ? If you want to build a house, and are not insane, you presumably will consider whether you have the means ? You will not INSIST on building it without bricks or means for materials ?
No, yet with God, it is so absolute, so all embracing. I am afraid of being swamped.
Indeed ? one may reply.
Is it so bad to be swamped by the concerns and desires of your Creator, as a sports car, to be driven, as a cow to be milked, or as a man to have the inestimable privilege of knowing God, and as His friend, being redeemed, to find the marvels of the mind which made your own, the manners of the One who gave knowledge (of our kind) its very existence, and in His companionship, that utterness of mystery unveiled, which brings a peace past all comprehension to the soul! (cf. Philippians 4:6).
Not really! comes the response. I guess it is just sin speaking.
Repentance and life thus are conference allies; and faith and repentance are bosom companions; and love and redemption, the one to show it and the other to know it, are imperturbable comrades. One sees then the coherence, the ensemble, the harmonious totality like the vast landscape coming before the astonished eyes as the aeroplane launches itself into the skies, from the accustomed littleness of the earth.
How long then is eternity for those who live ? What durations are implicit in what never ends ?
In the new heavens and the new earth (Isaiah 65, II Peter 3), there is no room for sin, no scope for immersion in the painful processes of disciplinary patience, for sorrow and grief flee away (Rev. 21:4, cf. Isaiah 35:10). The putative will be replaced by the prominent, the hidden by the manifest, the perplexing by the pellucid, the trying by the tried (cf. Hebrews 12:23), so that the scarifying searching of the spirit becomes no more an anguish, like a cloud upon the joy, yet even at that, a good one, like the cleaning of a root canal in the teeth.
Now there is everlasting joy, so that the Lamb is the Light, and hence lumens are not a matter of economic proficiency and efficiency; for behind all the symbolism is the fact. There is then a directness of communion that no more hides the invisible in its spiritual domains, so that time is no more a horizon but a help; while goodness is not to be discerned behind the training schedules but in the manifest face of God. "They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads" - Revelation 22:5.
When the declining processes of this earth, and the limited resources of this universe, the scourged misplacements of man and the divine judgments of the Lord are no longer tied to the spirit, and the gravities of gracelessness are not even permitted to enter the theme or the threshold (Rev. 21:7-8), then the eternity is found in the creation, which in spirit filled with the love of God, both for Him and because of Him. Smouldering (Rev. 14:11) in its distant decline is replaced by shining, and radiance overwhelms the darkness, which once could not even comprehend the Lord, when He came (John 1:1-3).
Now pilgrimage becomes tutelage, and the beautiful shows its glory, not in mere aesthetic artistry, but in the reality of which artistry is the depictive offspring. Here, life is intimate, comradely and pure, holy, righteous and good, a thing of nobility and perspective, in which the praise of God, so far from being ceremonial, is cordial; for then we who are His see Him face to face.
The second law of thermodynamics is replaced by the first law of love absolutely, and the tedious trials of this departing earth (though admittedly not without a strongly interlaced drama!) become merely a scene at the gate of the city, the city of God, which once entered by faith, now is a matter of sight. Vitality here has her exuberance and truth in its lordly luminosity, is undimmed*1 by the wits of man or the work of Satan. The cure replaces the curse as the dawn the night, and the Morning Star arises in the heart, like the sun at its zenith (II Peter 1:19, Revelation 2:28). ).
Here, the infinitude of divine wisdom, which provided the pinnacle of creation, and the gift of eternal life, is the constant stimulus, the love of God like the crystal cooling waters and the creativity of God the ever fascinating wonder, that He is prepared to share this with us, who would not provide our own creations, works and thoughts, as substitutes for the thoughts of His will, the mind of Christ and the pathway of truth.
It is better so, in eternity; for there all is voluntary, virtuous and glorifying God; and He, BEING glorious is praised in truth, which has at all times, been the medium, as the love the relish, and peace the atmosphere in which the eternal life given by God, is lived. Its immeasurable depth, like the illimitable heights of the divine lovingkindness, is like the harmonious correlation of all His truth, the experimental verification of what in the other thematic whole, is the didactic verification; while the testimony of the ages, is the chronological continuity of the whole, here thundering with massive revelation for times to come, there with dynamic dealings of Christ or the earlier prophets in times past, and then again, suddenly becoming much quietened, as the small, still voice speaks to the heart of His children, the paternal words of which papacy is mere mockery, and sacramentalism mere symbolism, of which sacerdotalism is the cartoon, alas grim and grave, and existentialism the contrived, synthetic echo.
The inglorious godlessness becomes the glorious holiness, the heights loom like the mountains, the refreshings like an ever-available river, and the very jewels of this earth, the precious stones, as we see in the end of Revelation, are but forms of light and beauty, expressive in material creation of exquisite understanding and fervent fellowship, where the fire is warmth and not destruction, and the fellowship is no more marred by malice, misunderstanding and shallowness, but the grown form, freed from all evil, of what began in His people, on earth (cf. Revelation 21).
Life eternal is knowing God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, His definitive expression (Hebrews 1); and God being infinite, personal and the Maker of man in His image, the openings of access to His care and consideration are like the atmosphere and the stars, and the purity is like the tops of mountains, yet with air abundant. Here yearning has its culmination, here desire its fulfilment and all being accorded the intensity of spirit correlative to the immensity of His beauty, His servants now no more are clouded with the lowering skies of earth, but appear indeed as living flames.
Better even than such marvels as these, their bodies are resurrected (II Cor. 5, I Cor. 15, I John 3), just as was His; so that the spirituality is no substitute for particularity, nor is the godliness a word for inhumanity, for all are remembered and the white stone symbolises the individual identity, the name written on it, the love of God for each, and He is recipient of that same love from all (Rev. 2:17). The stone denotes strength, the whiteness freedom from sin and the name, the place in the building where Christ is Minister.
Thus do all the concepts cohere, and all the logical necessities are pointers to the uncovered revelation which makes of the Gospel, the highway to glory, of the Cross, the low-way to life, and of the resurrection the index to individualised eternity, where goodness dwells. There the summit to which so many aspired, is like the ground under one's feet, for one walks upon a reality on which faith insisted, which was entailed by reason in its demonstration that God's revelation was true, and which love embraced, now receiving the end of its quest, the fulfilment of its desire and the ultimacy of its sway; for the darkness of delusion is here but a memory, uncherished, uncluttering and replaced by a present so precious, that there is no more room for it than for the evils which have gone to their place (Revelation 21:4).
There is, after all, a place for everything, and everything is in its place. Time has given its applause to the manifold lessons; but here, there is no more time to wait, for it is time for eternity which with life and truth, love and goodness is in its own manifest setting, free of trial but not of action, of pomposity and presumption, but not of devotees.
· The licence for these things, for eternal life, is where it has long been, in the verified, certified, authorised, accredited, acclaimed Christ (Acts 2:36ff., 17:30ff., John 5:19ff., 6:40),
· whom nothing could humble, but Himself, for He humbled Himself;
· whom nothing could bruise but willingness, for divine power was readily at hand, and He even co-operated in His capture, once the people arrived as He predicted, in their betrayal and His own disciples were able to escape (John 18:7-11);
· whom none could subdue with word (Luke 11:56-57, Matthew 22:45*2),
· whom no natural event, physical, physiological or meteorological could arrest,
· but who ruled them all,
· while as Ruler He submitted to the crucifixion which was His trade-mark,
with the resurrection of His body, His final contempt of mere process,
and His princely contribution to immortality (John , , -54, 6:62-63).
Yet LICENCE ? It is indeed this.
Yet it is as far more than this as love is than duty, as inspiration is than
hack-work, as the ocean is than a puddle, as are the stars than tinsel. It is licence in law, since all is paid as ransom to justice, that mercy might expand without crimp, and kindness
operate without limit (II Cor. 5:17ff.). Yet again,
it is beyond this also, as the ocean liner is beyond the toy sail boat. For
while both sail, the far waters are yet deeper. There is a warm and hearty
invitation, a desire that is linked to the creator's tenderness of heart, a
father's call, the Saviour's cry, the testimony of delight
(Hosea 14), the dynamic of power, the coolness of being clean, the delight in
being received, His ardent desire for these things, and the drawing from Him
who calls, saying,
"Rejoice, O young man, in your youth,
And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth,
Walk in the ways of your heart,
And in the sight of your eyes,
But know that for all these
God will bring you into judgment.
Therefore remove sorrow from your heart,
And put away evil from your flesh,
For childhood and youth are vanity."
As to these last two, such they are, as objects of blind adulation and autonomy, for in themselves, they are mere mirage, lacking establishment, eroded of meaning, unequipped for life.
With that realism, we come to this love:
" 'As I live,' says the
Lord GOD, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked
turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of
is it to
What He declared in
heart, He did in history, on the Cross. That is the invitation inconceivable to
selfishness, incandescent for love, its horror the condemnation of evil, itself
the witness for sin, the testimony of mercy, the height of compassion in the
depth of severance, which it removed by being severed, as He says, "I am He who was
dead, and am alive for evermore" (Revelation 1:18). This, it is the eternal life of God,
eternal in love, remorseless in pity (Hosea , Luke , Hebrews 5:7), unimpugnable
in purity, consistent in word and deed, in love and in life.
LIABILITIES INSTEAD OF
LEAD TO MORTALITY WITHOUT MORTGAGE :
BUT LIFE ETERNAL IS OF GOD: ENDURES FOREVER
Dimming, as in a light, where clouds slight, and when the failing energies of day shroud as in a mist, the objects of reference, is no way to find what challenges.
Dimness can come through confusion, as when contrary motives are not purified, so that the exquisite delight of our most wise physical construction, the intensive marvel of our disquisitive intellects and the properly holy soaring of our supplied spirits are in the grip of littleness, life like a strangulated hernia, hurting because displaced.
It can come through profusion, as when events multiply, because the formula of the Lord's devising is abandoned, or followed merely in deadened mind, dispirited soul and a life which sits on entropy, not in heavenly places, equipped with vision and vigour from its source. Moreover dimness can come in tiredness, because the vitality of truth is being distanced through the merely microbic puniness of seeking continuance, rather than insisting on reality.
The world has currently a dimness of anguish in many of its places, and where this is not in actual pain of body, of stomach, of pathological particles destroying the immune system, or pathetic lusts destroying relationship with reality in the interests of a runaway spirit, it is found in dissatisfied surveys of a scene which mocks in its factual development, the very concept inherent progress, and scorns with derision the now amputated follies of self-manufacturing spirits in their dumb follies of performance.
It is increasingly as in Isaiah 8, where the departure from the law of the Lord was merely the signal of the departure from the Lord of the law, where the Lord scathingly exposed their ignoble diseases of the spirit, saying,
"Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing:
"Speak the word, but it will not stand"
to the enemies of His people. This is a direct contrast of the situation where He is hallowed, for in Isaiah 44:25-26, we find this of Him who rules:
performance of His word, it is always the same. It happened with
virgin, the daughter of
Has despised you, laughed you to scorn;
The daughter of Jerusalem
Has shaken her head behind your back!
" 'Whom have you reproached and blasphemed ?
Against whom have you raised your voice,
And lifted up your eyes on high ?
Against the Holy One of
way that he came,
By the same shall he return,
And he shall not come into this city,'
Says the LORD.
'For I will defend this city, to save it,
For My own sake, and for My servant David's sake.' "
has come to the gates of
Naturalism, it comes in social garb, and societies shudder, while Russia dives into the deep, and its ways become available for the pawn-brokers, while it rattles its bombs, sells its weapons and pollutes the environment of politics and space alike, ocean depth and lofty height indifferently, like a spoiled child who does not value his father's house. China marauds like an angry bull, harassing the holy, even venting its fury on multitudes of Falun Gong people, who affirm their concern is that there is a spiritual side to man, and mere materialism is not more than a dope for the soul, which has works and ways of its own.
In fact, it is always wrong to slight the invisible, for it is an invisible desire that decides to slight it, with opted motivations and or rationalisations; and the thing is a mere mischief of irrationality, a scenario of the debased who forget themselves in their haste to live, to survive (cf. SMR pp. 422Eff., Ch. 3, News 122, That Magnificent Rock Ch. 6).
Europe arises to greatness in its parliament, its currency and its learning, but its vision is aborted in profuseness and diffuseness, always unclear as to the main things, starting with commerce, ending as all directionless things tend to do, in accumulating directions that 'enter by the back door'. Where your treasure is, their your heart is.
Materialism may think that spiritual things do not matter, but matter itself is arising in contempt of wilful blindness, which starts with mind to dismiss matter, and as if this was no matter, continues with spirit to annul spirit, while affirming what it cannot know: since knowledge is not the domain of what merely happens, but of what surveys it in truth. There is no such thing as absolute knowledge, it affirms, while exhibiting it in its own affirmation.
What lasts is not subject to dissolution because God is back of it. It is not an illusion, it is not some mere aesthetic, grasped from the air and forced on man, not some anaesthetic that waves logic wildly away, and invests the towering harmonies which make thought and life on earth possible, in our threefold construction (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 7), with disharmonies of practice and violence of division. The division which matters is the distancing from the Maker of the harmonious construction which the mould of man exhibits, departure from the creator who gives the actual earth and life, as a donation, Himself supplying the dynamic. It is this which the many use, as if its purpose were to destroy what He has created, to deploy in rebellion from Him, spoiling as far as may be, what He made for conformity with His gracious purposes, His undying energies and His everlasting purposes.
The seductions of strife has made nothing but unhappiness, its grossness of desire a mere cancer of spirit, its greed a mere dismissal of justice and truth. Its self-centredness, for nation or individual, company or family, as it seeks what does not belong, or grabs for the communion of power from material things or social connivances, is mere irrationality. What it is not, it seeks to disguise by what it has.
The world is disappointed with its thrust for lust, but there is no other possible outcome. The income of this outcome is the exposure on an ever grander scale, of the littleness of life which seeks its own glory, and is ignorant of the glory inherent in its own construction, from the hand of the One who IS glorious, and whose peace is never going to be found in arrogating that glory for what is intrinsically a thrust of lust into the dark.
When to this outrage of rage, this drama of dereliction, this riot of irrationality, there is added the divine rebuke, you find what you get: grief, folly, agony, complacency as it passes to its own censures, false dreams which never work, in politics, in biology, in academia, in society, and as their ether wears off, false works abut into the disturbed scene, and witless confusion grows like brambles (cf. Biblical Blessings Ch. 7, News 87, 74, 122, The Biblical Workman Ch. 7).
" 'I sent among you a plague after the manner of Egypt;
Your young men I killed with a sword,
Along with your captive horses;
I made the stench of your camps come up into your nostrils;
Yet you have not returned to Me,'
Says the Lord.
" 'I overthrew some of you,
As God overthrew
and Sodom , Gomorrah
And you were like a firebrand lucked from the burning;
Yet you have not returned to Me,'
Says the Lord.
'Therefore thus will I do to you, O Israel;
Because I will do this to you,
Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!' "
Here the love of the lie, the lying
down in the stench of unspirituality, and the going
in godlessness find their come-uppance. The violence finds in its
earless end, violence for its fodder; the immorality finds its own plagues as a
memo and memento; the ironic find the divine irony yet
stronger*3, the cynical find the unjaundiced exposure of spiritual jaundice painful, the sceptical find the rewards of scepticism in their solaceless barrenness, their eternal complexities and perplexities, and their self-denial, present only in logic where they affirm what they cannot know, and know nothing about what enables even their denial. So do they who hide from affirmation, become a very prodigy of self-affirmation, met in turn by divine denial.
He who forms mountains
And creates the wind,
Who declares to man what His thought is,
And makes the morning darkness,
Who treads the high places of the earth -
The LORD God of hosts is His name."
"Hear the word, you cows of
'Behold the days shall come upon you
When He will take you away with fishhooks,
And your posterity with fishhooks.
You will go out through broken walls....",
and having disdained their foolish religiosities, their misuse of inventiveness in making gods without the felicity of existence, with the minds the One who IS in existence donated at the first, in 4:4-5, God makes this announcement. It is HE who declares His mind. It is not to be sought in the mountains or the gods of invention, but in the word which He has spoken. There is simply no one else, none other with the power, the testimony or the truth. What He says stands, and in its passage He gives further indication of what that is, whose it is and how He acts.
Thus rebellion produces rebuke, rebuke increases
confusion, lust is crushed, and arising demented, seeks further as now through
Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi
Amin, Mao, the authors of China's blood baths, of
Africa's various ruins, now through the clouds of daft visions without basis
but hope, without testimony but in contradiction, through pious thoughts about
pitifully weak prescriptions, divorced from reality, shorn of reason, they articulate
folly and force ruin.
Thus, with both nature and its Maker responding, man becomes like a waif in a wilderness, writing cheques in delusion. But it is his own desolation.
While strife alloys with harmony, the harmony of our construction, while evil lives with good, as if it were just another colour of racial character, while prescription comes without basis, from some realm of description, and morals of pagan character arise like hydrogen sulphide from a swamp, prohibiting here, inhibiting there, always making for the mask and the pretence of some kind of unity without a basis, without resolution, without reason, just to continue, just for the race to survive: what has happened ?
Man is not infinite, and his sin aspires nevertheless to such proportions; but the waters ebb, the tide goes out, the erosions afflict and the follies ruin, the spirit fails and the heart folds in the midst of the mire. What he is not made for, man cannot always endure; and profligacy has its end in the woes of wastage, spoliation and decline.
Man is intent on immoral conduct, on godless excursions, and is selling his national, his international, his social and his individual soul with such a profusion of commerce, that the paper alone rises as if to heaven, to secure its divine indictment. The actual inditement of God becomes the occasion of rebuke, the index for indictment. The glamour recedes, and stark necessity comes as on the poor, for where sight is absent and truth lies fallen in the street, justice recedes for convenience as when Christ was killed for the expedient peace of the nation which then was crushed and exiled a little later, in an irony of ironies: here, in such unwinsome ways, except there be repentance in its time, there is no eternity but of judgment.
Life does not last like that. Its origin is pure, its way is impure; its source is strong, its wilfulness is weakening; it basis builds, its balefulness crushes, its beginning enables, its endings disenoble, for it misses its mark and imagines that endless dissipation of spiritual, moral, social, economic and intellectual resources is its way, though the whole of reality stringently exposes it, and the divine comment is as crucial for its redress as it is ignored in the mess.
Eternal life is one of the pattern maker for man, in his body, in his mind, in his spirit, and God alone meeting the criteria and the entailments of life (as in SMR Chs. 1-3, Repent or Perish Ch. 7, Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium Chs. 13-16, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 1-7), it is found where it belongs, in Him who has it.
It is not inventable. Callow superficiality and social cohesion will
not make a god who is eternal; for he starts with his creation of man, a mere
idol. Yet this, as in
Meanwhile, as logic demands God, and God demands purity, it is time to find in the sacrifice of Christ the place of pardon, the pulpit of truth, in His word the announcement of reality, in Christ's life the paragon that is NOT convenience, but eternity in fleshly format. These things work, have worked and will work, even while God brings to rebellion its rod, and to His word, its outcome. Distortions of His truth, abuses of His very name which abound, merely aggravate with deceit and deception, the distortions which produced the sin which desires such escapes. Predicted, they proliferate, and in their errors, more vanity pours human life into the fitting grave (Matthew 24:24, II Peter 2, II Timothy 3, II Thessalonians 2, I Timothy 4).
It is in the procurement of peace by Christ's work alone, that rest is found (Ephesians 2:1-10, -14, -14). This rest is eternal by nature, for it lives not in the godless marshes of oozing philosophies, never any one of them, rationally able to assert truth but all doing it nevertheless, all failing to reach the absolute who reaches man, and all absolutely telling us their tale as if they had; and it continues not in the snoozing snores of sonority but in the unshrouded certainties of the revealed God, whom reason requires, revelation attests, history verifies, where love is energised, wisdom is an endless stream and the facile energies of convenience never displace the undying light of truth.
He gave it at the first, conserves it at the last, when pilgrimage done, the things that are spiritual - first as they always have been and must be, for in them are the very springs of action, the thrusts of desire and the evaluations which precede dominion - are as prominent as dominant. Here aesthetics has its base, not in mere imagination, but in the beauty of holiness, and the grovelling dissidences of pretence, being consigned to exclusion as things that cannot endure, depart leaving a peace which was always there, but needed to be found by reaching its source and criterion. It is He, Christ who confers it differentially, but never differently, in the knowledge of the glory which sin has sought to remove, substituting its idle dreams.
These collapsing, man is met now with two ways: truth or lie, puniness or peace, rebellion or reality, eternity where it belongs, or in disjunction, a relic of unreason, an item of undress, so that in the end, it is faith or folly.
Placing confidence where it belongs is the missing item in the puzzle which man makes of the simplicities of life, made simple by the Sovereign who is gracious. Finding in Him for whom such confidence is the only attested reality, since no one else has the record or the resource, the attestation of reason or the indications of experience, the verifications of life or the factuality of performance, from time immemorial to time at any time: what is it like ? It is like buying a beach property in hope, and finding its scenery beyond imagination, its waters pure and abundant, its meadows a caress of quietness.
Reality always surpasses imagination, when it is God, for God is the author of imagination, and its proper place being in and by Him, its intensity becomes the very recipient of His immensity and its rest is found in His unresting relish, in being who He is, donating of His quietness and living in His peace (cf. Zephaniah 3:14-17).
"Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you:
And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.
For the LORD is a God of justice;
Blessed are all those who wait for Him" - in Isaiah 30:15ff.,
increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."
In this chapter our concern has been with the nature of eternal life, and naturally we have come through the necessities of reason to the perceptions of faith, alone verified, and the word of God, always activated, and so we see this again, present now for His flock in spirit, then in substance, when He comes, and that coming is NEAR:
The message never changes, the offer is still valid, the Christ is always willing (John 6:37), while our Age lasts (Matthew 25:1-10); and in Him is justified lament turned into the joys of being justified, by faith (Romans 5:1, Titus 3:4-7), sanctified by His Spirit, and of receiving an inheritance (Ephesians 1:11) as in an orphanage to which the severed may come, which turns out, gloriously, all along to have been one's Father's house.
This is one of the greatest glories of the God who made one, that with oneself, He made also such an outcome. Creation was but the prelude to salvation, and this to sanctification, and all to inheritance in His presence, who made the present the gift of life at the first. To the end, endless, His is eternal life; from the beginning, gracious, He made provision before He paid, which His payment secured, for justice and mercy to kiss, and kindness to endure in His presence forever (Psalm 85, John 14:1-3).
Then, when one is
found by God, there is found the processive
verification which faith precedes, and facts succeed: "Now to Him
who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or
think, according to the power that works in us: to Him be glory in the church
by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen" - Ephesians 3:20.
Truth irresistible and with answers supplied: it is one
adequate testimony of Christ, whose power is such that by His Spirit He is able
to aid even His disciples when they are brought into question (Luke 21:14-15
cf. Acts 7).