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AUGUST 19, 1999



On the ABC News on this date, there came an interesting supplement to the topic of News 74. It was simply this. It is now found that the use of anti-biotics on ANIMALS is causing a decrease, a dangerous challenge, to the effectiveness of this piece of medical warfare, for humans. Not merely has the danger long been present - my specialist uncle warning of it in the fifties - for undue HUMAN use of this medicine; now it is stressed that its use on pigs and other animals can bring it into the foodstuffs we eat in such a way that these drugs have diminished impact on us. Indeed, more and worse may be to follow than mere diminution.

There is no easy way out. It is not a mere matter of intelligence versus brute force. We are not made by brute force but with exceedingly cute and deft wisdom (cf. Proverbs 8:12).

In the end, it is not a counter to calamity but a necessity of repentance which faces us.

It is the same with old-age "cures" and the telomeres, with money to weak nations, hopeful 'cures' by 'inducing' democracy. It is not so simple. Sin sits smiling in the cockpit of too many human aeroplanes, national, professional and individual,  for any safe flying. Moreover, the Air Commander has His own disciplines. When your Creator is the Judge, it is quite useless to seek spiritual, physical, medical or other shenanigans to avoid the point. This of course does not imply that medical works of mercy are either inept or unnecessary. It is good to seek to serve and to enable what is good. However it most certainly does mean this: that defiance can no more succeed with science (merely a category of knowledge) than with will, or machines, or dive-bombers or political dreams. The CAUSE of the ultimate disease of man is in the heart. It is there that it must be resolved.


In fact, it would be well to look a little more closely to precisely what the apostle Paul says in Romans 8:20-23.

Romans 8 does not leave us without indication of the nature of what the "HOPE" is! It is not as if the discipline is spelt out unlovingly, and the hope is arbitarily ignored. The opposite is nearer to it; but the nature of our situation is faithfully recorded. That is usual in cure, is it not: you make the patient aware of the situation and the option, of the gravity and the grace which may be found, this way or that: operation or not, drugs or not, the underlying condition and the commanding criteria.

In some cases: OPERATION OR DEATH.

This is such a case.

"For we are saved in this HOPE" (Romans 8:24 - capitals added). Saved from what ?

If however you do make the course, then the whole river is before you, as if unlimited.

Such is the way of His grace. The means is not a mere means; it is personal, sacred and special, involving the death of the disciplinarian's Son, His only Son; for He is loving and although to the rebel, love may at times be felt as the final insult, rebellion is never apt when it is against the realities of our sins and failings, our fantasies and our self-assertions, whether individual, racial or national, scholarly or ignorant. This love is as patronising as agony, as uncaring as anguish, as artificial as death, as bogus as perfection, as weak as all-power over death and disease, as sudden as a millenium pre-announced. In short, it is all that could ever be hoped in mode and substance.

It is more than could ever have been imagined. God is not a solitary. He is not alone. He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit: He is Expresser, Expressed and the Spirit about. He is Speaker and Word and the Communication medium. One can seek, however imperfectly, to give some of the elements in this not-compartmentalised perfection, the trinity. It is very simple in outline: as to Being, God is ONE, and as to Persons, He is three. Our social elements are not without foundation, any more than our rational ones. Our reconciliations are not without relationship to our need with Him! Our communications with each other must be seen on the foundation of His communication with us! (Cf. A Spiritual Potpourri 12  - and 16, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 14, Biblical Blessings 13; see also SMR Ch.7, Section 4).

What then does Romans say ? In Ch.5 we have this:

So then it is a system in some ways; it is a situation, and no comedy. One has presented us this pass to bondage, and ONE to blessing; one to compulsions, and ONE to liberty; one to death, ONE to life; one to death for ever and ONE to eternal life; one to hindrance, ONE to help, one to disease and ONE to a pilgrimage, one to the contortions of system, ONE to the importunities of grace, one to the seemingly meaningless, ONE to the meaning, one to dearth, ONE to abundance, one to pollution, ONE to purity, one through reckless ingratitude, ONE through unfaltering obedience. Such is the message of Romans 5, such the reality.

Then why ? It was because the love of God for this world, with all its brawls and squalls and insolences and insolvencies of heart, mind and spirit, was SUCH THAT, as the mathematicians say, HE GAVE.
Now what did He give ? His fortune, power or name ? No HIS SON. Which one, the higher or lower ? There is ONLY ONE, for God and His word are in eternal mutual embrace of love and co-operation.

HE GAVE THE ONLY ONE. He presented Him in incarnation, expressed Him in lowly magnificence of person, mighty performance and marvellous kindness, with attention unremitting to duty, and once He was killed by envy, yet so as to be a sufficient because perfect sacrifice for the sin which requires death as its penalty. Then He raised Him in power. The curse ? Read it in context. CHRIST BECAME ACCURSED THAT WE MIGHT BE FREE (cf. Galatians 3:1-13). Instead of lounging in pretentious neutrality, squandering time in infelicitous pretence, it is necessary to repent and seek the Lord and being thankful for this magnificent provision, adopt, accept and receive it - being yet more thankful indeed, that it is in fact HIM, a person - and so be saved from this uncomical situational drama upon the earth (Luke 13:1-3, John 1:1-14). Being saved, then serve. Serving then love; and loving, be a child of God.

This love is uncoloured by the climate of culture as sovereign, being the love of God. It is what we are here for. Indeed, it is unfortunate to be so musing on the situation, that one forgets the sovereign, so ostracising the penalty as to forget its path to remission; so dwelling on the hopes as to forget the HOPE; for in Him there is no death, and curse is forgotten. That is the sort of thing ONLY HE could take; and He took it. It is time to take Him.

Christians ? then rejoice, for nothing shall separate us from this love of God in Christ Jesus, neither past things nor present, neither future nor impending, neither disastrous nor enticing, neither higher powers nor lower, neither fallen sin nor contriving seducer: our sufficiency is in HIM (Romans 8:31ff., II Corinthians 3:5), and it is HIM that we have acceptance before God (Ephesians 1:6,11).